How to Tell the Size of an ATV Engine

How to Tell the Size of an ATV Engine

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The engine size of an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) is measured in cubic centimeters (cc). The cc measures the volume of fuel mixed with air that moves through the engine system (displacement) during one rotation of an engine cycle, which is each piston moving from top to bottom. For example, in a 50cc ATV engine (a size generally recommended for youth riders), 50 cubic centimeters of fuel mixture can combust during one rotation and propel the ATV with a certain amount of force. Higher displacement engines will burn more fuel but will also have more power and the ability to carry more weight at faster speeds. Determining the size of an ATV engine is generally a simple task that requires only a brief visual exam of the vehicle and engine.

Items you will need

  • Rag (if the engine cylinder is dirty)

Check the ATV for any superficial labels or markings that may indicate the engine cc. If the ATV was recently purchased or on the market, the manufacturer or seller may have displayed the engine size for prospective purchasers. Different models may have the engine size stamped or otherwise displayed on the frame or body of the vehicles.

the chromeplated engine. image by Yuri Bizgaimer from

Locate the ATV's engine cylinder. An owner's manual for the correct make and model can also assist you in this task. However, the engine cylinder is a fairly recognizable part of the engine and often has the name of the maker cast into the metal. Although an entire engine can be treated with a coating (chromed), the cylinder typically has either a cast iron or plasma spray pressed into or added to the aluminum cylinder.

Read and interpret the number on the engine cylinder. If the ATV is especially dirty, you may need a rag to wipe the surface of the cylinder. Be prepared for the number not to reflect a "clean" or rounded number. For example, many ATV engine sizes are written technically on an engine cylinder as a number like "348cc." This engine size would commonly be referred to as 350cc.

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