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An ATV skid plate is a component used on an all-terrain vehicle, or ATV, to prevent damage to the undercarriage of the vehicle. This metal plate can vary in design based on the specific model of ATV for which it is intended, but the general purpose of the ATV skid plate remains the same: it provides a protective layer between easily damaged components and the rocks, roots, or other obstructions that can impact those components and cause damage. Skid plates are usually made from steel for durability, though some may be made from aluminum in an attempt to save weight.
A simple design for an ATV skid plate will bolt to the frame of the ATV and will run from the front of the vehicle to the rear, covering some of the components underneath the vehicle that are most susceptible to impact damage. To cut down on cost, the ATV skid plate may be smaller, thinner, or otherwise less protective than a more expensive model that will cover the entire undercarriage. Some skid plates are designed to extend toward suspension elements such as shocks, though simpler designs will not protect such components and will instead be designed to focus more on components that are centrally located underneath the vehicle.
Some designs feature plating that extends upward in the front of the vehicle to protect the nose and bottom part of the front fairing, which is usually made of plastic or other composite material. This is an effective design for any ATV rider who will ride frequently through rough brush; trees, shrubs, and other plant life can impact the front of the vehicle, damaging fairings or other components, so the ATV skid plate that extends upward in the front of the vehicle will help minimize the damage incurred by such impacts.
Since the skid plate will cover most of the components underneath the vehicle, it will need to be removed when repairs need to be done. Some ATV skid plate models are designed for specific ATVs, and the plate may feature openings through which a person conducting a repair can access key components that are serviced regularly. The skid plate may, for example, feature an access hole through which the person doing the repair can access a drain plug for the motor oil, thereby eliminating the need to remove the entire skid plate just to change the oil on the ATV.