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Operating the Aurora XTV

Their amphibious abilities and skid steering make operating an Argo different from any other off-road vehicle on the market, and with new features like APS steering, the Aurora XTVs are in a class by themselves. What do you need to know to operate these vehicles safely?

What You Need to Know if You’re An Experienced Argo User

If you’re used to operating an Argo, it won’t take long to get accustomed to this new model. There are a few differences you need to take note of:

– Instead of a twist throttle, the Aurora has a throttle lever on the right grip.
– APS steering automatically centers the handlebars, so you don’t need to worry about the steering brakes rubbing unless you tilt the bars on accident.
– The transmission levers are on the dash next to the handlebars. They operate the same way as other Argos.
– Seating capacity is the same on land and water.
– Check the “Using the Gauge Cluster” section below for instructions on using the new gauges.

Understanding Skid Steering

The handlebars look just like the ones on an ATV, but instead of moving a steering rack, they operate a pair of brakes connected to the drivetrain. Turning the handlebar brakes the inner wheels, causing the vehicle to pivot. The rear of the vehicle will swing outward, so be sure to leave some space to avoid hitting obstacles.

When you reverse, you need to steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go, not the opposite direction as you would when driving a vehicle with a steering rack.

The Aurora’s APS system automatically returns the bars to the center, releasing the brakes. Be sure to keep the bars straight, as tilting them slightly can engage one of the steering brakes, causing it to overheat.


The Admiral transmission has two shift levers mounted on the dash. Moving the left lever up puts the transmission in forward, and moving it down puts it in reverse. If the lever is centered, the transmission is in neutral. Moving the right shifter up puts the transmission in high gear, and moving it down puts it in low gear.

Before shifting either lever, make sure the vehicle is stopped, and the engine is idling. If the engine speed is too high, the automatic clutch will engage while shifting and grind the gears.

In most cases, the transmission should be kept in high gear. Low gear helps the Aurora climb steep hills, decreases the turning radius for tight maneuvers and limits vehicle speed when backing up. However, it also increases drivetrain stress and wear on the vehicle.

Carrying Passengers and Cargo

The maximum payload limit for your Argo is printed on a tag on the left side of the vehicle. If you’ve added accessories, their weight needs to be subtracted from these totals. Keep in mind that the payload is lower when in the water.

Weight distribution is critical when climbing steep inclines and crossing water. You may need to shift a few things around when in the water to keep the vehicle level, and you should always tie down cargo to keep it from sliding around. Take it slow when the vehicle is near its payload capacity, as it will tip more easily on steep hills.

Operating on Land and Water

When on land, seatbelts should be worn at all times. If you have a ROPS installed, the vehicle’s center of gravity will be higher, making it more likely that it will tip.

When operating in water that’s deep enough for the Aurora to float, the operator and passengers should take off their seat belts so they can make a quick escape if the vehicle capsizes. If you’re operating in shallow water, be prepared to remove your seat belt if the vehicle tips over. Enter and exit the water on gradual slopes, like beaches and boat ramps.

Using the Gauge Cluster

The cluster has buttons on the lower left and lower right, next to the tachometer. Pressing the right button will cycle between the two trip meters, the hours of operation and the maximum recorded engine RPM and top speed.

To adjust the gauge, do the following:

1. Hold down the left and right buttons on the gauge cluster for three seconds. The display will flash.
2. Press the right button to change the display brightness, then press the left button to go to the next mode.
3. Press the right button to switch between miles and kilometers, then press the left button again for the final mode.
4. Press or hold down the right button to change the time. Press the left button to exit the settings menu.

Need Help With Your Argo ATV?

Whether you want to buy a new Aurora, add some accessories, or get your current XTV serviced, you can do it all at Shank’s Argo. We’re not just a major dealer: we have over 35 years of experience selling and servicing outdoor equipment. Visit our showroom at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.

Need to schedule a test drive? You can do so right here:

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