Is your ATV where you last left it? Are you sure? Sadly, there are low-life scum out there looking for an opportunity to steal your brand-new shiny ATV.
Now that you've been out to the garage to check on your ATV, we hope we have your attention. We thought we would talk to nine-time Grand National Cross Country Champion Mike Penland and ask for his advice on how to minimize the risk of having your ATV stolen.
Mike, what are some of the things an ATV owner should do to protect his or her pride and joy?
"First the bad news," Mike says. "Right off the bat there is one thing you need to know: If they want your ATV or trailer bad enough, they are probably going to get it! But most thefts are thefts of opportunity, so you need to make it as difficult as possible to steal your ATV."
Tip No. 1: Out of sight, out of mind.
"When at home," Mike says, "don't park your ATV where everyone can see it. A garage or shed is a great place to keep your ATV out of sight and protect it from the weather. Keep your garage door down. Don't advertise the opportunity. Better yet, keep your ATV covered even while it is in the garage. Then, when you leave the garage door up you won't be inviting crooks to come back when you're gone.
"If you don't have a garage or shed and must leave your pride and joy outside, hide it in the backyard behind something. Don't leave it in the front yard like I've seen some people do. For outside storage, be sure to put a tarp over your ATV and secure the tarp so it doesn't blow off.
Tip No. 2: Make the thief's task as difficult as possible.
What else should you do?
"Be sure to chain or cable your ATV to something solid: a tree, a pole or even another ATV. Even when it's stored in your garage, chain it up!
I have friends who have installed anchors in their concrete garage floor to chain their ATV. Again, just make it as difficult for the thief as possible, and he'll move on to an easier target.
"Many of us take trips and go to events where we have to leave ATVs in the back of our pickups. When that's the case, pick a parking spot with as much light as possible, then back up to something solid—a wall, pole or another vehicle you know won't move before you do. Chain your ATV to your pickup and drape any excess chain over the ATV. If they do try to move anything, the noise of six feet of heavy log chain falling on your truck bed just might be all you need to scare away crooks. And don't forget to cover your ATV."
Tip No. 3: Make noise!
"Crooks don't like noise," Mike says, "and the smallest noise will sometimes scare them off. If you travel with your ATV in your pickup, a good car alarm with motion sensors can be a great investment. Just don't forget to arm the alarm!"
Tip No. 4: Use good trail(er) sense
"Enclosed trailers are great for keeping your ATVs and necessary riding goodies in one place and ready to head for the trails. But the only thing worse than having your ATV stolen is having your ATV, your gear and your trailer all stolen at the same time!
"To protect your trailer and its contents, start with a good tongue lock. Then loop a chain or cable lock through the wheels and axle for extra security. Chaining your trailer to something solid is just as important. Finally, some people are installing a battery-powered car alarm in their trailer.
"If you do everything right but still have your ATV or trailer stolen, report it promptly and keep your Vehicle Identification Number handy for the police and insurance reports.