Making your ATV wider can have some benefits like improved handling and a more stable ride through corners. It’s no wonder this is a popular enhancement for professional and recreational riders. But there are a couple different routes you can take to widening your quad.
To make your ATV wider, you can either get some wheel spacers, flip the wheels around, or you can upgrade your axles and A-Arms with wider aftermarket parts. All options will give you a wider stance, but each come with their own pros and cons.
A very common approach is to put wheel spacers on just the front, or all the way around front and rear. Some people prefer longer A-Arms in the front and wheel spacers in the back, or leave the back as-is. And lastly, the most solid way to widen your quad, is to put longer A-Arms in the front and a longer axle in the rear.
There are easy ways to widen your ATVs stance, and spend less than 100 bucks doing so, which I’ll talk more about later. But first, you should know the pros and cons of widening your ATV, then you’ll have a better idea of which route you want to take.
Widening An ATV Pros And Cons
There are some great advantages to widening your quad from handling improvements to safer riding. But the main reason many riders widen their ATV is for the stability improvements when cornering.
A wider quad will be able to take corners at higher speeds without the risk of tipping or lifting up one side on you. This is also a safety improvement, less chance of tipping means for a safer ride.
But what about the downside? Well for one, some of the widening methods put extra strain on your parts and require maintenance or repairs more often. For example, the wheel spacers method.
Adding a set of wheel spacers to your ATV is a quick and easy way to widen the quad. But it puts extra pressure on wheel on the outside edge of the spindle. This causes what some people refer to as bump steer. Hitting any little bump will pull your steering in ways you weren’t expecting.
Another problem is the added strain to your suspension system when using wheel spacers. You are basically extending the wheels out but keeping the suspension system in place, causing it to take on more of a load than it was originally designed for.
I don’t think any of these are reasons to stop you from getting wheel spacers if you’re just looking for a cheap and quick way to widen your quad. But if you ride pretty rough and want a more reliable option, go with aftermarket parts like widening A-Arms and axles.
Another thing to consider, is where you ride. Some trails have width restrictions on ATVs. Mostly trails with bridges or gates will have these restrictions, but you can get a fine if you’re riding a quad wider than the width restriction on a trail.
Should The ATV Be Wider In The Front Or The Rear?
The front of the ATV should always be a little wider than the rear. This of course is personal preference and not all ATVs come stock with a wider front. The front and rear should be pretty close in width either way. But if I had to choose, I would suggest a slightly wider front end.
In fact, a lot of people only widen the front of the quad and they leave the rear as it is, stock. If you only widen the rear, or make the rear wider than the front, the ATV will tip more easily and the handling won’t be ideal.
The reason is that when you’re riding, you’re not paying all that much attention to the rear of the quad. Your eyes are facing forward, in the direction you’re heading. If your rear end is wider than the front. You’ll have to worry about the back end hitting things you wouldn’t expect.
Lets say you make a close pass to a tree, another rider, or any obstacle. You think you’re in the clear because your front tires squeeze by. But if the rear of the quad is wider, your back tires might hit the obstacle and cause you injury, or worse, broken parts.
Flipping The Wheels Around
This may seem hacky, but is actually a pretty common mod. What you do is flip the wheel around on the hub to give you a few extra inches of width. It’s completely do-able, people do it all the time and it works.
Most wheels will have a deeper inside of the rim than the outside. The wheel will bolt back on to the hub the same way with the same lug nuts. It will just be flipped so the shallow side of the rim is facing in towards the ATV.
I don’t really like this method because of where the tires stem is after you flip them. You could always drill a new hole in the rim and put a new tire stem in. But even then, on the front, you could wind up having valve stem clearance problems with the front brakes. I just avoid this method myself, but it can be a quick and cheap way to widen your quad a little bit without having to spend any money.
If you do go this route, keep in mind your tire tread. Some tires have the tread shaped to move in a certain direction. If that’s the case for you, you can try swapping the sides of the quad your tires are on when you flip them. That way the tread is still facing the right direction.
Adding Wheel Spacers
This is another popular option to take because of how easy and cheap it is to do. For the most part people will add these onto the rear when they widen the front with longer A-Arms, but some people even put these on all four wheels of their machine.
It’s a pretty quick and easy install too. You simply take your wheel off, mount the wheel spacers on the hub where the wheel was, and then mount the wheel onto the wheel spacers. Simple as that, and you’re good to go. Most wheel spacer kits will come with instructions to do the install, and most of the time it’s a pretty straight forward process.
If you ride your quad pretty hard or take turns and jumps at higher speeds, I do not recommend using wheel spacers. You’re better off with longer A-Arms in the front and a longer axle in the back. A lot of people have had good luck with wheel spacers, but I’ve heard the horror stories of a wheel spacer cracking, breaking off, and causing a crash.
If you do mostly light trail riding or don’t like beating on your machine, you’ll probably be fine though. Wheel spacers can be found for around 50 bucks online now a days for a really decent quality set. Check out this set of Freedom Country ATV Wheel Spacers on Amazon to start your search.
This is my preferred method for widening your ATV in the front end. Nothing beats solid parts that you can rely on that you’ve installed on your machine yourself. I usually go for a +2 inch extension on the A-Arms, but it’s really up to you how wide you want your quad.
You can find extended A-Arms for almost any ATV online for between 300 and 450 bucks. Try this ATV Extended A-Arms Search in Amazon. I have had good luck with the Team Alba Racing A-Arms before. Just make sure you get the right ones for your year, make, and model.
To swap the A-Arms out check out my Step By Step Guide To Removing And Installing A-Arms On An ATV article for a guide on how to do the swap. Most good sets of extended A-Arms will come with instruction, and may have special steps for any special spacers or washers included in the kit.
This is my preferred method for widening the back end of an ATV. It’s a lot harder to do, and will cost a little more than just throwing on some wheel spacers. But when you’re done, you’ll have a solid machine that you don’t have to be careful riding.
You can find extended axles for most ATVs online for a couple hundred bucks a pop. Putting the total for both sides above 400 dollars in most cases. Check out this ATV Extended Axle Search in Amazon to give you an idea of what you’re looking at.
Some of the axles you buy will come with instructions, but a lot of them don’t. So I wrote this How To Change Out An ATV Axle article to give you the step by step procedure if you need it. It will probably take a few hours to change out the axles on both sides of the quad.