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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.