ATV Tune-Ups for the Springtime

ATV Tune-Up time!

Have You Done Your ATV Tune-Up Yet?

If you saw our blog on snowmobile repairs you can do at home and thought “where’s my article for my ATV”? Well, the wait is over! You’ve been patiently waiting all winter to get your ATV back out on the trail and start flinging some mud, and it’s finally time. Time for a ATV tune-up that is!

The longer you keep your ATV sitting, the more it’s going to be in need of a little TLC when the spring comes around. But before you get out there and start raising some hell, read on to find out how you can maximize your engine performance without giving the repairman the keys to your house.

Consider this your owner’s manual for the ATV tune-ups you’re going to want to perform this spring to make sure you’re riding hard with the best of ‘em.

pre-season tune-up check

Pre Season Tune-Up Check

You don’t leave your Corvette sitting in the garage all winter and take it out on the first sunny day with the top down without doing some work to it, right? Wait, you don’t have a Corvette? Neither do I, actually… Well, we wouldn’t do that with our Corvette if we had one, and we shouldn’t do it with our ATV’s either. So what sort of things do we need to check for when it comes time for your ATV tune-up?

The Pre-Season ATV Tune-Up Check List

change the oil

Check the Oil

Oil is the blood of your ATV. Are your oil levels appropriate? What about the quality of the oil? Is it grimy or chunky? Oil is one of the first things you want to check when you’re starting out for the season. It’s also going to be one of the things that help prolong the life and health of your ATV’s engine. Visually inspect the oil to see if it looks healthy. Take a look at your mileage as well. While we always think we can get away with our oil a little bit longer than we actually can, it’s much better for your ATV to have it changed on time.

check the tires on your

Check the Tires

Are they starting to wear down? Your tires are one of your keys to safety on an ATV. Your ability to grip the terrain is your lifeline. Being able to take off down the trail at top speed is great, but how about stopping? Can your tires grip into the ground and stop you before you hit that tree? You better hope they can. Think about replacing your tires if the tread starts to wear low, and don’t hesitate when the tread wears away.

Here are some more useful tips to keep in mind when checking your tire health to keep in mind as well. Regularly check your tire pressure. Properly inflated tires are just as crucial as your tread to your ability to grip the terrain and maintain control. Also, make sure to replace leaky valves. While this may not seem so important, it will snowball into a much bigger problem if you don’t take care of it. Keep an eye out for dry rot, and remember, it’s just as important to rotate your ATV tires as it is to rotate the tires on your car.

inspect the brakes

Inspecting Your Brakes

Just like we said with your tires, being able to stop is probably even more important than being able to take off. That’s why you need to be aware of the health of your brakes. We’re talking pads for ATVs with disc brakes, or shoes for ATVs with drum brakes… the whole nine yards. That means brake fluid, too. If you notice that your pads are worn away, or you feel like you’re not able to stop as well as you used to, take your ATV into a local mechanic and have them replace any parts necessary.

check your ATV's air filter

Got Dirt?

ATV riders love dirt. It’s part of the reason we want to get out there. I mean, if you don’t come home covered in so much mud that your kids don’t recognize you, did you really even go out riding?

While we might love getting dirty, your air filters definitely don’t, so this is one of the most important parts of doing an ATV tune-up. A dirty filter is going to decrease the flow of air through your engine and cause your engine performance levels to go way down. While you are able to clean your air filters, you need to think about just how much dirt is getting in there. Cleaning is fine, but always make sure to regularly replace your filters to get top performance out of your vehicle. It might not be the most glamorous thing to tune up, but trust us, you will notice the difference immediately.

make sure there are no loose screws on your ATV!

A Few Screws Loose

When I was young, my dad would tell me that he thought I had a few screws loose. I always thought he meant I was a troublemaker, but it turns out he was actually talking about my ATV! Every year I like to go over my ATV with a fine tooth comb looking for any nuts and bolts that are starting to come loose.

Meanwhile, check your wheels and handlebars, but don’t forget the undercarriage! Your suspension system is going to be the biggest culprit of loose nuts and bolts. Just make sure to check your owner’s manual for the torque values before you do more harm than good with this portion of your ATV tune-up.

be sure to check everything when you do your

A New Pair of Boots

No, we’re not talking about riding boots, we’re talking about CV boots. The constant velocity boots on your ATV are crucial to a smooth ride. In a very basic sense, it keeps the lubricating oil inside your joints, and it keeps the dirt out. Look out for any cracks in your boot while doing your ATV tune-up. This will allow dirt and other debris inside of the joint. Once it’s in there, it’s going to start grinding and damaging the metal inside the joint, which will require total replacement of the joint. It might not be the most expensive repair, but it’s one you can avoid with proper tune-ups and maintenance.

Have Fun This Spring (Not Sitting in a Mechanic Shop!)

Nobody wants to be sitting at the mechanic’s shop when there are birds chirping and dirt to be flung. So if you want to stay out of the shop and get yourself on the trails, make sure you regularly take a look at the moving parts of your ATV.

A vigilant ATV tune-up care routine is going to be your key to maximizing your springtime fun and the money in your saving’s account.

ATV Safety: 7 Tips to Make Your Ride Safer

ATV safety

What You Can Do to Stay on Your ATV and out of the ER

There isn’t a gasoline-powered vehicle on wheels that is completely safe. We all know this, and unfortunately, ATV’s are in this group. Each year between 300-400 deaths occur that are related to ATV use on United States roadways. While it’s probably also true that we don’t ride ATV’s because they’re the safest, there are still things we can do to ensure ATV safety.

There’s nothing you can do to guarantee that you’ll never get hurt or injured riding your ATV. But there are things you can do to significantly reduce your risk and the risk of others around you. So strap on your helmet and slip on your best pair of riding gloves. Oh, and some boots with good ankle support while we talk about some great ATV safety tips to have a safe experience on the trail.

ATV Safety Tips for a Safe Ride

ATV safe trails

1. Get Safety Certified

There’s no better offense than a good defense. That’s why it’s a great idea to get ATV safety-certified on your ATV before you even get on the trail. That is to say, trail systems are unpredictable and change all the time due to natural forces. So before you head out into the woods for the first time, check out some classes for yourself and the little riders in your life at the ATV safety institute.

You wouldn’t take the SAT’s without studying, so why get on a gas-powered workhorse that’s liable to buck you off without the right training? Getting ATV safety-certified is going to save you a lot of physical and mental headaches. Best of all, it not only makes riding safer for you… but also everyone you ride with.

get the right sized ATV before you ride

2. Select the Correct Size ATV

There is a wide array of different sized ATV’s, engines included. Engines can be as small as 50cc and reach upwards of 300cc and weigh more than 600 pounds. Obviously, this isn’t the ATV you want to put your teenager (under 16 years old) on. The bigger your ride is, the harder it will be to control. That’s why it’s important to get yourself and your loved ones an ATV that is appropriate for the age and size of the rider.

You might be tempted to buy your kids an ATV that’s a little larger than they can handle so they’ll grow into it, but trust us, it’s not worth it. The hospital bills you’ll pay if they take a serious spill are going to cost you more than buying that second ATV.

always wear a helmet when you ride your ATV

3. Wear Appropriate Protective Clothing

Maybe your teenager will try to convince you that they look cooler riding their ATV without a helmet. But, you can let them know that the really happenin’ look this spring is having your brains inside your skull. That’s one cool-lookin’ ATV safety tip, right?

However, protective gear doesn’t stop at a helmet. Essential ATV safety gear includes eye protection, gloves, long pants, and long sleeves while riding. ATV’s have a naturally high center of gravity and tips happen. When that tip over does happen, though, you’ll be glad you have long clothes to protect you from scrapes and scratches.

Also, make sure to get shatter-proof eye protection. Your mirrored aviator glasses look nice, but they won’t stop a piece of debris flung up from your buddy’s tire from hitting you in the eye.

ATVs are not meant for riding on a paved road

4. Don’t Ride on a Paved Road (except…)

You read our statistic earlier. That number was only for deaths that occurred on the road systems. You might have four wheels on your vehicle, but that doesn’t mean you should be riding alongside the road, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

Above all, you shouldn’t ride your ATV over the roads except to cross where it is indicated and appropriate to do so. It’s called an All-terrain vehicle, but it’s not meant for driving on the road, it’s meant for tearing up off-road terrain.

We aren’t forgetting about Street-Legal ATVs, don’t worry. There are some places where you can make your ATV street-legal, read more about where and how to do that here.

never ride your ATV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

5. Never Ride Under the Influence

You should never operate an ATV (or any vehicle) under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. That is a simple fact and it’s illegal. Alcohol is involved in more than 30% of ORV deaths. Please note as well that ATV riders are subject to all of the same drinking and driving laws as car drivers are. ATV safety should also include common sense and responsible handling.

Drugs and alcohol are always going to affect your ability to operate any motor vehicle. However, ATV’s, unlike cars, don’t have a windshield, seat belts, and most don’t have a roll cage. When you got knocked off your ATV because you weren’t paying attention, you’re definitely going to feel it. This ATV safety tip may seem obvious, but the stats seem to say otherwise. Don’t become a part of that statistic!

ride your ATV at a safe speed and go the speed limit

6. Always Ride at a Safe Speed

Yeah, your ATV can go upwards of 80 miles an hour on a straight stretch. That’s cool, but so is not being wrapped around a tree! Speed is a top contributing factor for any accident that involves a vehicle with a motor; ATV’s definitely included.  Never push your limits when you’re riding, especially in an unfamiliar environment or you can end up like these folks. ATV safety saves lives.

ride your ATV on designated trails

7. Ride Only on Designated Trails

Okay, maybe you’ve seen a strange trail in the woods on your way home from work. You think, “man, that would be a great place to go for a ride!”. Sure, it might be fun to flex your adventurer’s muscle. But, when it comes to ATV safety, you have to consider that you just don’t know what kind of condition a non-designated trail is in.

Bad terrain or sinkholes, for example, just show that you don’t know what is in store for your ATV. Designated trails are regularly traveled and you don’t have to worry about coming up against something you and your ATV can’t tackle. Not to mention this is where people know you’re going to be and you won’t accidentally hit a pedestrian going for a hike.

Something To Think About Before Your Next Ride

keep your ATV safety tips in mind whenever you ride

ATV Safety Affects Everybody

Are you guilty of breaking one of these ATV safety rules? Probably. Most of us are. Likewise, for those of you reading that aren’t, congratulations! Meanwhile, for the rest of us, keep these ATV safety tips in mind the next time you go out for a ride. Not just for your own safety, but for the safety of everyone else on the trail, too.

And if you’re looking to explore some of the best ATV trails in the U.S., be sure to check out our blog. While ATV safety is very important to us and should be taken seriously, the TMS Parts family LOVES to have fun. But, you know, safely.