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General ATV Maintenance

General ATV Maintenance

As a proud all-terrain vehicle owner, you probably understand that taking care of the vehicle will ensure a long life of enjoyment. While there are certainly more specialized aspects of care for this rugged vehicle type, knowing the basics is always the first step in ensuring longevity. Let’s take a look at the most important of the general ATV maintenance tasks and tips to help your ride stay in peak condition.

  • Take care of the battery: One of the most important elements of general ATV maintenance is to properly care for the battery. The battery is the power that makes your vehicle run so if you neglect it, you won’t be out riding at all. A battery keeps itself charged up as long as you regularly ride the vehicle, but if you are storing the vehicle for a season, this is where maintenance comes into play. If you leave the battery in the ATV for a few weeks or even a few months of the year without riding it, it will drain the battery. It’s important to remove the battery and store it somewhere safe out of direct sunlight and away from moisture if you won’t be riding your ATV for a stretch of time. You should connect the battery to a battery gauge if possible to give it a trickle of charge to keep it strong for the coming riding season.

    You also want to maintain the battery terminals on your ATV. If they are caked on with residue and crud, it will eventually take a toll on the life of your battery. Most people use either a mix of water and baking soda or the tried and true can of Coke option, but the key is to just get those cables clean. It can lead to corrosion on the cables and terminals if you never attend to this aspect of ATV maintenance.

  • Maintain fluid levels: Another of the general ATV maintenance tasks is to maintain proper fluid levels in your ride. You should know where your fluid indicators are and how to check them properly. The fluid levels you will need to monitor are oil, coolant, and differential fluid levels. If these fluids become depleted or even too low, it can negatively impact the overall life of the ATV. You should aim to check these fluid reservoirs at least once a month if you do frequent riding and at least every 3 months if you only ride the ATV occasionally. Fluids should be topped off as needed, but keep in mind that you may need to drain the oil reservoir to clean it from time to time according to the guidelines in your individual owner’s manual for your model.

  • Take care of the air filter: The air filter is like a set of lungs for your all-terrain vehicle. If you ignore this area, the filter will become clogged with gunk and make it harder for the vehicle to breathe, so to speak. A poorly maintained air filter can lead to total malfunction because it can negatively impact major systems like the engine when left unattended. You should inspect the air filter routinely for tears or holes and promptly replace it if you find any. You also want to regularly clean the air filter by removing it, soaking it in warm soapy water until clean again, rinsing it thoroughly, and drying all the way through before replacing it back in the vehicle.

  • Pay attention to the tires: When it comes to making sure your ride is ready to go, the tires are a key component of success. There are a few general ATV maintenance areas associated with this part of your ride. For starters, you should monitor the tread of the tires for any weak spots or signs of damage. Any obvious tears, holes, or signs of weakness should be repaired or replaced immediately since the tires are the key to getting speed and traction on an ATV. You also need to regularly check the air pressure in the tires. You should know your tire type and the suggested air pressure for the best results. You never want to drastically under or over inflate the tires so it is important to know the general range for your air pressure needs. You should also have a tire gauge on hand to check the pressure routinely to avoid any issues.

  • Check handle grips: The handle grips on an all-terrain vehicle can experience quite a but of tugging, pulling, and overall loosening during rides. If you are riding with loose grips, this can result in a loss of control, more discomfort while riding, and safety issues. It is a good idea to check your grips before every ride and make any necessary repairs as needed. If the grips are loose, you can usually quickly repair them with some grip glue before taking off for a ride, but make sure you give the grip glue enough time to thoroughly dry and attain a secure hold. If your grips have anything such as tears or worn-down grooves affecting the way you grip the handlebars, you should also think about replacing them.

  • Monitor bolts, nuts, and lugs: One of the easiest elements of maintenance for an all-terrain vehicle is to routinely inspect and tighten any bolts, nuts, and lugs. From the wheel lugs to the bearings on the handlebars, if these elements are loose, it can cause accidents, malfunctions, and damage to your machine. Luckily, all you need to do is tighten them down and be on your way! This should be checked at least every few weeks to avoid any issues. You also want to look for any stripping, rust, or buildup of gunk and attend to it promptly while inspecting this aspect.

  • Keep it clean!: Finally, you need to keep your ride clean as part of your maintenance routine. A dirty ATV can lead to buildup, corrosion, rust, and general decay you just don’t want your vehicle. Make sure you wash it regularly in a detailed manner and at the very least rinse it off and dry it thoroughly after every ride to avoid buildup.