Odometers are handy tools for tracking mileage, but you haven’t yet spotted yours on your ATV. You’re curious how many miles you’ve ridden it, but you can’t find the information anywhere. Do ATVs have odometers?
Some ATV models include odometers, but not all. If yours doesn’t, then it may have an instrument cluster with an engine hour meter. The engine hour meter features the odometer as well as a trip meter and service hour interval reader. You can also outfit your ATV with a third-party odometer.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about ATV odometers, from where on your vehicle they’re located to what you do if your ATV doesn’t have one. You won’t want to miss it, so keep reading!
Do All ATVs Have Odometers? Where Do You Find It?
An odometer, sometimes referred to as an odograph, determines how far a vehicle has traveled. Most odometers are electric, others are mechanical, and others still are both.
When you sit on your ATV and look at the dash, you might be surprised by the inconspicuous absence of the odometer. After all, your car or truck has the odometer right on the dashboard, but not your ATV.
Indeed, not every ATV has an odometer. Perhaps your ATV is used, and the odometer was once there but fell off at one point. Maybe the manufacturer never added it, which is likelier if your ATV is older.
If your ATV does include an odometer, then it will likely be somewhere on the dashboard. It’s not always a separate component like in a car or truck, and that’s by design. The ATV manufacturer saves space that way.
For example, if you own a Polaris Scrambler, Sportsman, ACE, or RANGER, then your odometer information is included in the digital gauge on the Polaris website.
The digital gauge displays a lot of information, from your gear indicator to your fuel gauge, clock, service indicator, ambient temperature, engine temperature, speed, voltage, engine hours, service hours, and RPM.
You can toggle between that and some of the other settings above as needed.
Obviously, you won’t be able to ride your ATV and do this at the same time the way that you can drive a car and briefly look at the dash to see the miles you’ve accumulated.
Still, it’s better than nothing!
What Is the Instrument Cluster? What Does It Tell You About Your ATV’s Mileage?
If your ATV doesn’t have an odometer as part of the digital gauge such as the Polaris models mentioned above, then the data could very well be contained in the instrument cluster.
An instrument cluster is a feature in some Polaris ATVs, including the Turbo, Turbo S, and XP 1000 vehicles. The appearance of the cluster varies between these Polaris ATV models, just so you know.
Most Polaris instrument clusters have a tachometer and a toggle button. A tachometer measures an engine’s working speed. It’s not exactly the information you’re looking for, of course, but it’s good to know, nonetheless.
Also included in most Polaris instrument clusters is the engine hour meter. This is what you need to find the number of miles ridden in your ATV. You should be able to toggle to the engine hour meter using the mode button.
Besides the odometer, you can use the engine hour meter to gauge your trip meter and service hour interval, the latter of which is programmable.
5 Reasons Why Your ATV Needs an Odometer
We know what you’re probably thinking. Is an ATV odometer really that integral? If you’ve gone as long as you have without one, then surely you can continue to forego the odometer, right?
It’s not recommended, no. Here are five reasons why an odometer for your ATV is integral.
Allows You to Track Your ATV Journey
Many car and truck owners wait to hit certain mileage markers, then they celebrate.
It’s a momentous occasion because their vehicle has been with them through thick and thin. It’s gotten them to and from work as well as fun places and maybe even a couple of interstate road trips too.
You too should be able to track your ATV journey, and you can’t do that without an odometer.
If yours doesn’t have one, it’s worth shopping for a third-party product so you can begin tracking how far you’re taking your ATV each time you spin it in the dirt or ride through sandy dunes.
Determines When Your ATV Needs Routine Service
By far, the most important reason to prioritize having an odometer for your ATV is to know when your vehicle needs service.
If you page through your owner’s manual, you’ll see a recommended series of maintenance tasks your ATV should undergo as well as when. For instance, most ATVs need an oil change every 1,000 miles or 100 driving hours.
Sure, you could manually count your driving hours, but let’s be honest. Who has the time or patience for that? If you don’t ride your ATV every single day, you can easily lose track of the driving hours.
You also can’t track 1,000 miles without an odometer.
It’s more than changing your ATV’s oil, although that’s a pretty critical maintenance task.
You’ll also have to take your vehicle in for service through the dealer three times within the first 1,500 miles if your ATV is new.
How will you get that important timing correct without an odometer? You’d have no choice but to rely on guesswork, and that might not end well.
Without the right service in the correct intervals, your ATV’s performance could suffer, and its lifespan might not be as long as it could be if it was being regularly maintained.
Benefits You When Shopping for a Used ATV
Not everyone decides to buy an ATV new. After all, the average cost of an ATV is between $5,000 and $15,000, so they’re not exactly cheap.
When shopping for a used ATV, you must know how many miles the vehicle has accumulated over the years. Just as you wouldn’t buy a used car or truck that has thousands upon thousands of miles on the odometer, you don’t want to buy an ATV in that state either.
That ATV has most certainly seen better days. It might work okay for the first few weeks you have it, then it begins to frequently break down due to all the wear and tear it’s accumulated.
You can sink a lot of money into an ATV in that state. The money you spend could have bought you a brand-spanking-new ATV, sometimes even twice over.
All you’re doing is pouring money into a black hole, and that’s an awful realization to come to.
Helps You Get a Good Resale Value for Your ATV
Perhaps you’re in a situation where instead of buying a used ATV, you want to put your vehicle on the market. You’ve gotten some good years out of it, but it’s time to let someone else enjoy the ATV.
If you can’t divulge the mileage, that’s going to give some potential buyers pause.
We just talked about the link between operationality and mileage. A buyer is going to want an ATV with some miles, but not so many that the vehicle is nearing its last days.
If you’ve tracked the mileage of your ATV all this time and it’s not too high, you could ask for a little more money for your used ATV and potentially get it!
Tells You When It’s Time to Retire Your ATV
Just as you rely on ATV mileage to determine when you need to get your vehicle serviced, the odometer can also tell you when it’s time to put your ATV out to pasture.
An ATV can last anywhere between 10 and 20 years. Sometimes it’s more time than that and sometimes it’s less. The mileage is the bigger determining factor than the number of years.
What Is Considered High Miles for an ATV?
Keeping that in mind, when has your ATV accumulated enough hours that it’s time to begin shopping for another one?
Once your odometer hits 10,000 miles, your ATV is only going to fall into further and further disarray the longer you drive it.
By discontinuing the use of that ATV now, you can save yourself the frustration of parts failure and the financial drain of repeated trips to the mechanic.
ATVs do not always have odometers. If you don’t see an odometer on the dash, check the digital gauge. The mileage information may be hidden there, especially if you have a Polaris ATV.
Some ATV models use an instrument cluster with an engine hour meter. Here, you can read your mileage on the odometer.
Remember, an odometer tells you more than how far you’ve gone. It also indicates when you need to get your ATV serviced as well as when it’s time to retire your vehicle for good.
If your ATV doesn’t have an odometer, don’t go without it!