A Guide on How to Maintain an ATV and Avoid Common Mistakes with ATV Maintenance Tips
Despite being a sizeable investment, many ATV owners make the mistake of overlooking important routine maintenance. Maintenance is essential for your ATV/UTV’s longevity and performance.
Though it may not seem like a big deal at first, skipping out on some pretty routine processes can be costly in the short- and long-term.
Most ATV maintenance is pretty easy. And the low ATV maintenance cost is worth preventing higher repair costs in the future along with frustrating machine malfunctioning during inconvenient times.
So to avoid ending up stuck with a malfunctioning ATV and hefty repair bills, here’s a look at the importance of ATV/UTV maintenance and the common mistakes ATV owners often make (and how to avoid them!).
Importance of Regular ATV Maintenance
Your ATV is an investment that can provide many years of adventures and assistance with hard work—such as towing heavy loads—but only with the right maintenance.
Routine ATV maintenance helps reduce equipment wear and extends the life of your vehicle, keeping repair costs down.
So it’s worth the routine ATV maintenance cost to prevent higher expenses down the road, and keeping you ATV reliable and safe when out on the trails.
Regular maintenance will keep your ATV running smoothly and in top condition for longer.
Common Mistakes When it Comes to ATV Maintenance
There are many ATV maintenance needs that are often overlooked until it’s too late.
Here are some of the most common ATV maintenance mistakes and tips for how to avoid them.
Unchanged Fluids and Filters
Your ATV’s engine needs clean oil, oil filters, and air filters to stay healthy and lubricated.
Ideally, you will check the engine oil before each use, top up the oil as needed (and without overfilling), and change the oil regularly to prolong the life of your engine.
When you don’t change your oil regularly, particles and pieces of grit will build up in the oil and the oil filter will not be able to filter the oil effectively before it reaches your engine.
When the filter loses its ability to filter the oil properly, the buildup of particles and grit will harm your engine and lead to costly problems while damaging the lifespan of your ATV.
So be sure to change the oil regularly, along with the oil filter and air filter. And if you use your ATV in dusty conditions, consider changing the air filter more often.
Follow the recommended oil change schedule in your ATV’s owner’s manual. And if you don’t feel up for doing the oil change yourself, bring your ATV in for a professional oil change instead.
Other fluids to also keep an eye on are the coolant and differential fluid levels.
Loose Bolts and Tires
The vibration of ATVs will loosen bolts over time. So be sure to check all components, including steering and suspension, after each ride, and tighten as needed. Also, keep an eye on tire pressure to prevent flats and have a safe ride.
The radiator needs to be kept clean, and the coolant levels need to be maintained to prevent your engine from overheating.
So clean any dirt, mud, or debris from the radiator, check the coolant levels before each ride, and keep an eye out for signs of dirt and overheating in the coolant.
Overheated coolant will change colour and give off a burnt odour. And if the coolant starts mixing with the oil system, it will turn milky.
Perhaps the most common ATV mistake is not cleaning it after a day of riding in the mud.
Dried mud can cause several issues. It can get into the air intake and hide problems like loose bolts. Caked on mud can also degrade the suspension component and lead to rusting by trapping moisture against the metal parts of your ATV.
Gasoline breaks down over time. And if left in the tank for extended periods, it can end up destroying some plastics that are commonly used in carburetors and fuel lines. And it can also cause the fuel system to fail by clogging fuel lines, along with vents and ports in the fuel injectors.
So be sure to add a fuel stabilizer if you won’t be using your ATV for more than two weeks. And if you plan to store it for longer, turn off the fuel valve and run the engine until it dies to remove all fuel from the fuel lines, injectors, and carburetor.
What Could Happen To Your ATV/UTV without Proper Maintenance
Here are some of the common problems that occur without routine maintenance.
If you don’t replace the air filter regularly, the filter will get clogged and cause the engine to run rich—use too much fuel for the amount of air taken in. As a result, the engine could run rough and foul the spark plugs.
And if you don’t replace a clogged fuel filter, the engine will run lean—not use enough fuel for the amount of air taken in. This can cause the engine to run hotter than normal.
Without proper ATV battery maintenance—such as keeping it charged in cold weather—your battery will likely die and need replacement. So use a battery maintainer to keep it working over the winter.
And if you neglect the radiator and coolant, the engine will overheat, and you’ll be stuck with an extremely high repair bill.
If you neglect to follow routine ATV maintenance, the required repairs will cost you a hefty amount. So it’s worth taking the bit of time to care for your ride or call the professionals to do the work for you.
When to Call a Professional
If your ATV maintenance and repair needs are beyond your expertise, or you simply don’t have the time to do the work, then bring in your ride for professional repairs and tune-ups.
Your local Honda ATV maintenance professionals are available to help you keep your ATV in top shape, so it’s there for you to do any job when you need it, staying reliable for many years to come.