mud rider

7 Essential ATV Mods for Mud Riding

Of all the things you could be doing with your spare time, i’m sure rolling around in the mud is not one that you’d find enjoyable, but flying through a pool of mud on your ATV is definitely a different story. To help you do it the right way and get the most fun out of it, there are some ATV mods for mud riding you’ll want to consider. This is especially true if you’re going to get serious about it, and to be honest, what could be more fun than coming out the other end with your ATV, clothes and goggles drenched in mud!

Mud riding has become so much of a scene that ATV manufacturers are now designing and building stock quads specifically for mud riding. The question is, what if you already own a perfectly powerful and healthy ATV that you want to modify for use with mud riding? Can that be done and what do you need? The good news is that it can absolutely be done, here are some ideas on how you can modify your ATV for mud riding so you can take on this new hobby and not get left behind in the mud!

After Market Exhaust

Aftermarket exhaust kits sever a few functions when they are added to an ATV. From an aesthetic standpoint, they make your quad look meaty and strong, the sound escaping the exhaust rumbles and gives off a force that can knock you off of your feet, but the main advantage comes from the extra power and torque that is produced from your new exhaust system. I don’t mean to imply that the upgraded exhaust system will give you an extra 20 horsepower (because it probably won’t), but even if you get an extra 5 horses from it, just that can mean the difference between getting over a barrier or not.


If you were to observe the amazing wildlife in the waters of the Australian Great Barrier Reef, do you think you’d be able to last a long time underwater while holding your breath?

Maybe, but likely not.

Do you think it would help if you could breath underwater? What if you used a snorkel, do you think you could last longer underwater?  I’m pretty sure you would.

The same concept holds true for your ATV. If it’s completely submerged in mud for long periods of time it will eventually drown, likely in the deepest areas of mud you’re trying to cross. The same snorkels that help you stay underwater in the Great Barrier Reef are, in principle, the same snorkels that will keep your ATV alive when crossing muddy waters.

The snorkels allow continuous air to reach the major components of your ATV, such as the air box, intake and exhaust portals, the clutch housing, and even the electrical housing of your ATV. Whatever you do, don’t find out that you need snorkels the hard way because getting water and mud out of housing components can be extremely costly. Instead, you can purchase a snorkel kit for just a couple hundred dollars and installation is relatively quick.

Lift Kit

Crossing muddy waters is hard and only experience can tell you when to throttle and when to back off, but you also have to worry about the irregular levels of the river floor including the dips and large stones. Since it’s extremely difficult to see through the muddy, murky water, getting a lift kit to increase the frame’s ground clearance can help tremendously. Not only does it provide extra visibility, but it gives you the ability to tread over larger stones while carrying larger, more mud-riding conducive tires that help navigate the water. A lift kit can be a real asset when you’ve installed one and without it, can cause some serious road blocks! A lift kit is definitely an essential ATV mod for mud riding.

Skid Plates

Aggressive mud riding can cause some serious damage to your quad, and if you’re vision is severely obstructed by the amount of mud coming at you during an excursion, it can completely come as a surprise the moment your ATV just isn’t responding like it should be. Protecting the undercarriage of your ATV with skid plates should always be a priority and the small investment upfront can save you lots of time, money and aggravation on the back end.

Skid plates are usually made of an extremely durable aluminum and provide thorough protection of the frame and engine and installation can be relatively simple as most of them come with mounting kits. In my opinion, the investment is worth it.

Performance Clutch Kits

These are one of those items where you won’t be using it all the time, but having it when you need it can make all the difference. Performance clutch kits boast better performance than stock clutch kits because they can provide an output that is intended for a specific purpose. The stock clutch kits that come equipped with your quad attempt to handle simple terrain scenarios, but if you’re serious about mud riding, you’ll want to invest in a clutch that is suitable for mud riding. These kits will provide improved throttle response as well as keep your belt working longer by allowing the clutch to work better and reduce slippage. Keep in mind that there are clutch kits for riding in all sorts of environments, so make sure to choose the one that’s right for you.

Radiator Relocation Kits

Mud riding can be a surefire way to kill your radiator and cause some serious overheating of your engine. The truth is, if you cover any radiator with mud, it’s going to cause a clog – for sure.

But it’s preventable.

A radiator relocation kit simply relocates the position of your radiator to another spot on your ATV, usually the front rack, and still maintains the engine as cool as the manufacturer suggests it should be. Not only that, but the shroud that goes around the radiator provides an extra layer of protection (usually made of a plated steel) and makes it easier to clean off. If there is one way to kill the spirit of mud riding, its having an overheated ATV due to a radiator mud clog. The good thing is you can greatly reduce the chances of this happening with a good relocation kit.

Mud Tires

The number one ATV mod for mud riding is absolutely buying (and mounting) the right tires. Mud tires are designed in a class of their own and are extremely recognizable. They have extremely deep tread and wider spaced tread bars, that when rotated quickly, act like shovels to keep the vehicle afloat and advancing forward. These tires are extremely useful underwater, though it sacrifices a soft, smooth ride under “normal” riding conditions.

At first glance, mud tires look like they have long daggers sticking out of them, but once you understand the design, they make complete sense. They’re usually constructed of an extremely durable 8-ply rubber that can withstand and prevent punctures from sharp objects. These tires also typically come equipped with a rim guard for added wheel protection. If there is any one thing that will make an immediate impact on your mud riding excursion, mud tires are definitely up there!