Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! MAX All-terrain vehicles are very easy to drive:
The controls in a MAX ATV consist simply of a key ignition, two steering levers, a throttle trigger on the right hand steering lever, and a forward/neutral/reverse shift lever. There is also an auxiliary pedal-operated emergency braking system.
Climb aboard, make sure the brake is locked, start the engine, and then shift into forward gear. You are now ready for take-off! All you do then is squeeze the throttle trigger to go! The more gas you give it, the faster you go. There is no shifting gears; the automatic CVT transmission does all the work for you. Then to steer right, pull the right lever. To steer left, pull the left lever. To stop, pull both levers back. MAX ATVs are completely hand-controlled (the foot brake is mainly for parking).
Those are the basics of driving a MAX All-Terrain Vehicle – nothing to it! (Please read your operator’s manual though!)
Easy: Just make sure you have installed the two drain plugs in the rear of the vehicle, and drive right into the water and operate the vehicle just like you would on land! (We recommend wearing a life jacket, and please read your operator’s manual for safety precautions).
As you may know, one feature that makes all MAX ATVs different from all other off-road vehicles is that they are amphibious. MAX ATVs float and can swim at speeds up to 6 m.p.h. (depending on tire option) in calm water, so you have the ability to cross creeks, ponds, and small lakes. You will have no worries about looking for a bridge to cross creeks or small rivers, and if a pond or small lake gets in your way, drive right in and cross it! You can even fish right out of your MAX ATV.
What makes them float? The lower body is shaped like a boat or a tub, and the axles go through the side of the body in sealed bearings to keep water out, providing buoyancy. Also, the air in the six fat tires adds buoyancy and stability to the vehicle when floating. The only preparation is to make sure you install the two drain plugs in the rear of the vehicle!
What propels MAX ATVs in water? The rotation of the tires provides paddling action. Depending on your tire option, top speed is 3 to 6 M.P.H. in calm water. You steer in water just like you would on land; pull the left lever to go left, pull the right one to go right.
This question is one of the most common that we have received over the 40 years we have been building MAX ATVs. As most people notice, the tires on MAX ATVs are mounted in reverse fashion compared to that of a tractor tire, and they think we have made a mistake since the traditional way of mounting tractor tires provides better traction.
Well, what’s good for a tractor is not necessarily good for an amphibious all-terrain vehicle! MAX ATVs swim faster with the tires mounted backwards; the nature of the tread design creates more thrust with the tires mounted this way. It also means you can steer the vehicle better in water.
But there’s a less well-known additional benefit to mounting the tires “backwards”. It is true you get somewhat better traction in mud or snow with the tire mounted like on a tractor. On a MAX ATV though, this is not as important as on a tractor because a MAX achieves great mobility through low ground pressure, so the tires do not need to “bite” into the ground as much for tractive effort. However, when you do drive a MAX ATV into soft mud or snow, the tread will “bite in”, so if you find yourself getting stuck, you will actually have greater traction in reverse, and you can generally back yourself out of trouble! If the tires were mounted the “tractor” way, you might be stuck with little chance of backing out, since you used your best traction to dig yourself into the mud!
We have a small number of MAX ATV dealers located around the U.S., many of which are well qualified to perform service work on MAX ATVs. Chances are, however, that you will not be close to one of these dealers, so how are most MAX ATVs serviced?
Well, most MAX owners don’t need to rely on a official MAX dealer for service because:
1) The engine, made by Briggs & Stratton, is warranted for two years and serviced by an authorized small engine shop, thousands of which can be found across the country. You can even go to the engine manufacturer website to locate your nearest dealer.
2) MAX ATVs are simple and relatively easy to work on by design, so owners can be self-reliant on keeping them going. With our manuals and very basic tools (socket wrenches, end wrenches, etc.) most MAX owners have no trouble doing almost all maintenance and repairs. Not only do they save a good buck doing the work themselves, but also they take pride in knowing the job was done right!
3) Parts can be ordered directly from us, (the MAX ATV factory) and UPS gets them to you quickly! In many cases, our customers can get parts faster than they could from larger ATV/motorcycle brands who make you order parts through local dealers.
4) If you cannot perform some repairs, almost always a reputable, authorized small engine shop is willing to perform the service, as no special training is needed. We supply our manuals and service bulletins on request (we can even email them immediately to your mechanic!). Again you can find such servicing dealers by going to the engine manufacturer website to locate your nearest dealer.
So the answer is a resounding no, MAX ATVs are not difficult to service!
A common and valid concern that most potential MAX ATV owners have is parts availability.
Although we have dealers in the U.S., chances are that you may not be close to one of these dealers to buy or order parts.
So unlike the big ATV/motorcycle manufacturers, we allow all our customers to order parts directly from us, the MAX ATV factory, on our toll-free telephone line 1-800-255-2511. We are normally open 8:30am to 5:00pm, EST, but if you call during a time we are closed, you can leave a message and one of our parts representatives will call you the next day.
Remember that we build MAX all-terrain vehicles at our one-and-only factory, so we almost always have any given part in stock. We even stock most parts for MAX ATVs over 20 years old!
All you need is your vehicle model and serial number, and you simply describe the parts you need to a live representative (no computerized voice-activated robots here!). You do not need to know part numbers or the exact name of the part, we can figure out what you need from this information.
Normally we ship by UPS or by the U.S. postal Service, and you would usually have your parts in 1 to 4 days. If you need the parts right away, you can order overnight shipping! (Extra charges apply of course).
Additionally, since we use common industrial/commercial engines from Briggs & Stratton, you can get common engine items like air and oil filters from your local authorized small engine shop. There are literally thousands of authorized Briggs & Stratton small engine shops across the country, and they are easy to find in your phone book or by going to the dealer locator on their websites.
A huge difference between MAX ATVs and any other brand of off-road vehicle is that MAX ATVs are extremely mobile and maneuverable due to their skid-steering and full-time six-wheel drive. At the heart of all MAX ATVs is the T-20 Skid-Steer Transmission, designed by Borg-Warner specifically for six-wheel ATVs.
The importance of full-time, non-differential six-wheel drive in off-road situations cannot be overstated. Since MAX ATVs use the T-20 skid-steer unit, which is a dual planetary-gear steering transmission rather than an open differential, key benefits include:
1) Full-time drive to all wheels regardless of the available traction on each wheel. All wheels drive whether any or all of them are on mud, snow, or ice. With differential steering, the power flows to the wheels that want to slip. With a MAX ATV, the power always flows to the wheels that get traction, whether it is one, two, three, four, five, or all six wheels! You are much more likely to keep moving through challenging terrain on a MAX ATV.
2) No uncontrolled transfer of power from the right to left-hand wheels resulting in “self-steering” of the vehicle. In other words, you could be automatically steered into a ditch or somewhere you did not intend to go with differential steering!
3) No torque loss when steering. Differential steering results in a 50% torque loss when steering, requiring a low gear range to compensate on high traction surfaces. Let’s say you are driving at 5mph in a differential-steered vehicle, and you want to make a sharp right-hand turn. When you steer, the speed to the left-hand drive wheels suddenly goes up to 10mph, and the laws of physics says that if you double your speed, you cut your torque in half. On the other hand, MAX ATVs apply 100% of available torque to the wheels whether you are steering or going straight, and there is no need for a high/low range or the inconvenience of having to shift into low range on high traction surfaces.
4) Low shock loading of the drive train. Since differential steering doubles the speed to the drive train whenever steering is occurring (as explained above), the result is not only jerky turns, but extra shock and stress to the chains, sprockets, axles, etc. Make any kind of turn on any surface with a MAX ATV however, and your drive wheels go the same speed during the turn as they were when going straight. The result is smooth turns under full power and torque, with no excessive stress to the drivetrain.
The T-20 Skid-Steer transmission is exclusive to MAX ATVs, and provides them with unparalleled traction, mobility, and maneuverability. When you drive a MAX ATV, you will experience the difference that non-differential drive can make!
We get this question so often we thought we should address it for everyone’s benefit.
When you order your MAX ATV, it ships fully assembled on a tractor-trailer by a freight carrier to any address you would like. The MAX will be tied to a pallet wrapped in plastic and/or cardboard.
The simple conditions are:
- A tractor trailer has to be able to get there (no dirt roads, dead ends, etc)
- You can have it delivered right to your home, provided you are able to roll it down two 2” x 12” boards, 10 to 12 feet long. Or if you have a tractor or loader with forks, great!
- Alternatively, if you know of a business location with a loading dock or a forklift, and they permit you to have your MAX shipped there, we can send it there.
Once you have your MAX ATV on the ground, all you do is attach the ground cable to the battery and put gas in it. The battery is charged and there is oil in the engine and transmission. You are ready to fire it up and go!
Any accessories like a roll bar, winch package, track package, etc., are installed by our technicians (free installation is included in the purchase of the accessory!). We may have to unbolt roll bars and lay them flat depending on the freight carrier, and items like convertible tops and windshields will be installed (all the hardware and holes are in place) but then dismounted for protection during shipping. You then just easily re-mount these items with little effort.
Of course, if you like, you can pickup your MAX ATV at our factory in Bradenton, Florida. We will give you a quick tour and some pointers on operating and maintaining the vehicle.
This question may sound a little funny at first, but it is a very common question we get and actually, it is a valid question.
All MAX ATVs float safely with a 500-pound load (read your MAX owner’s manual!), and it typically takes about one foot of water before they begin to float. So theoretically, the depth of the water should not matter, but that does not mean you should take it way out into Lake Superior! MAX ATVs swim anywhere from 3 to 6 mph, so you won’t be able to run against a 10 mph headwind or fight any strong currents.
In addition, although MAX ATVs are quite stable in water (when heeding our load limits) you don’t want to be so far out in a lake that you get knocked around by the wakes of large boats (or an iron-ore freighter!).
MAX ATVs are great for operating in creeks, slow-moving rivers, ponds, swamps, small lakes, and even close to the shore in larger lakes (check your local laws). You’ll be able to fish, use it as a mobile duck blind, or just go exploring, amphibious-style!
Some people may feel that since MAX ATVs are amphibious, there are primarily useful in swampy terrain or where there are a lot of lakes. On the contrary, the design elements of MAX ATVs make them excel in just about any terrain or environment, whether you have water or not. From the frozen tundra of Alaska to the endless desert southwest United States, a MAX ATV will get you there and back.
MAX 6-wheel drive ATVs have outstanding off-road capabilities due to their low ground pressure and true six-wheel drive. So sand, rocks, dry lakebeds, mud, snow (use tracks for deep snow), and ice present little trouble to a MAX ATV.
Beyond their amazing mobility though, the amphibious design of MAX ATVs imparts many benefits even when the vehicle is not needed for traversing bodies of water.
For instance, owners fearlessly drive MAX ATVs into environments that are typically very harsh on machinery. We encourage them to do so! We are confident in the robust and durable design features of MAX ATVs. The black lower body on all MAX ATVs is shaped like the hull of a boat. It keeps water out and of course that’s what makes it float. But an added benefit of this design is that your entire drivetrain – engine, chains, sprockets, bearings, disc brakes – are nestled within the dry protective interior of that body. If water cannot get in, certainly mud, sand, sticks, and leaves cannot get in from below either. Therefore all moving parts are protected from gritty, harsh environments, minimizing wear and maintenance.
Also, passengers are nestled within that protective body of the vehicle, staying cleaner and drier than they would on a four-wheel ATV. Imagine going through tall, wet grass on a four-wheeler – you would be soaked! Not so in a MAX. And think of driving through thorn bushes or alligator grass – you are protected in a MAX ATV.
And even though you may not have many bodies of water where you live, remember all off-road vehicles are called on to go through some shallow water from time to time. And it is usually brackish, muddy, and nasty. Conventional four-wheelers (ATVs) are vulnerable to submerging moving parts such as bearings, bushings, chains, disc brakes, as well as expensive CV shafts that might have torn rubber boots. With a MAX ATV however, both you and your drivetrain stay clean, dry, and happy. And remember, when you go into that brackish, muddy water, you can’t see how deep it is! With an amphibious MAX ATV, you can drive right in with no worries.
MAX ATVs are designed to have superior mobility through low ground pressure, true six-wheel drive, and of course, their amphibious capability. All of these attributes work together to allow MAX ATVs to drive through or over just about anything in their path. When the going is rough and the terrain is uneven (swamp, ruts, rocks, or logs) any type of ATV or UTV will have to slow down, and a MAX ATV moves just as fast as or faster than other types of off-road vehicles. For instance, the ability of a MAX ATV to climb over a fallen tree or log is amazing, whereas most other types of vehicles will get hung-up between their front and rear wheels.
When the going is easier, say on a well-traveled trail or logging road, MAX ATVs will go from 20 to 30 mph, depending on the model (the higher the horsepower and the larger the tires, the faster they go). This is certainly fast enough to cover open ground quickly and have some fun, while still staying within a relatively safe speed range. A speed of 20 to 30 miles per hour is also faster than many of the popular utility vehicles on the market. Don’t forget rollover protection with seat belts is offered on all MAX ATVs for an added measure of safety.
In the water, all MAX ATVs will go about 2.5 to 3 mph with 21 inch or 22 inch tires. The larger MAX IV and Buffalo truck models can be fitted with 26 inch tires, and can go up to 6 or 7 mph with this tire option!
We can sum up the answer to this question by stressing the “Big Three Advantages” of a MAX All-Terrain Vehicle over other off-road vehicles:
Advantage 1) Amphibious
MAX ATVs can easily float with up to a 500 pound load (passengers and cargo), with a water speed of 2-6 mph (depending on tire size). You will be able to cross-creeks, slow-moving rivers, and ponds without having to locate a bridge – what other vehicle can do that? You will also be able to go into swamps with no worry, because if the water becomes too deep, you will simply float across that section until the tires again touch ground.
Advantage 2) Multi-passenger
MAX ATVs were the original multi-passenger ATVs – the lively MAX II carries one or two passengers, and if you like to drive by yourself on occasion, the MAX II design is not an awkward, “extended version” vehicle like some competitor’s models. And if you have a family, a work crew, or some hunting buddies, the slightly larger MAX IV model transports up to four passengers comfortably.
Advantage 3) Six-wheel drive with skid steering
With six fat tires, MAX ATVs give you very low ground pressure (less than 2 pounds per square inch, fully loaded!) allowing you to go where other vehicles get bogged down. And all six wheels drive whether any or all of them are on mud, snow, or ice – there is no slippage as with a differential-equipped vehicle, and you keep moving. Add to this the fact that MAX ATVs have skid steering, and you have a nearly zero-turn radius, making the MAX ATV extremely maneuverable in thick woods, etc.
These three big advantages, along with many other beneficial features, are why customers have been buying and enjoying MAX ATVs for more than 50 years!