ATVs are complicated machines, and as a result, many things can go wrong. Luckily, there are easy fixes for all these problems. When you preemptively work to extend the life of your ATV, it will not only save you money but keep you from having to buy a new one too soon.
Protecting your ATV is more than just throwing on some ATV covers. You will find that this list covers many common problems that could happen to any ATV. This guide is meant to give some advice on extending the life of your ATV.
The point is to save you time, money, and frustration by knowing how to fix minor issues before they turn into bigger ones.
1) Keep your ATV clean:
Clean it after every ride, even if you think it isn’t dirty. The more dirt that gets into different parts of the ATV, can cause to rust or be uncomfortable for you to ride on. When putting your ATV away for winter, make sure you wash off any dirt and mud to extend its life further.
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2) Don’t ignore small things like broken headlights or signals:
If these minor problems are not taken care of, they may lead to bigger ones later on. Likewise, keep an eye out for more significant issues; they could include bald tires or cracked plastic parts, which would require immediate attention before they snowball into something much worse.
3) Make sure all nuts and bolts on the ATV are secure and tightened:
so they don’t fall off while riding. If they do fall off, you could lose them. Because the nuts and bolts are so small and lightweight, they can easily get lost or misplaced if not appropriately handled.
4) Check your oil every time you finish a ride:
Make sure the oil is at the right level by adding more when needed. Additionally, check your tires for proper pressure before every ride. The tires should be examined for anything that might have happened, like cuts or wear, to let you know how much tread is left on them before they need to be replaced.
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The more worn out the tire gets, the more likely accidents happen due to the ATV slipping and sliding on the ground.
5) Do not wipe off your ATV with a rough towel or cloth:
Instead, it would be best to use a soft rag not to scratch the paint job your ATV has. If you need to clean it, use some soap and water like usual, but make sure you rinse it all off once you are done. Be gentle when getting the mud and dirt off to not scratch any parts of your ATV.
6) Pay Attention to the Tires:
If your ATV has a spongy feel when accelerating, this could indicate a problem with one or both front tires. With most ATVs having a front and a rear tire, a problem with just one can be easily identified. However, if the spongy feeling occurs on both tires, the issue could be the front or rear tire pressure.
ATVs have a recommended tire pressure for each of their tires. To extend the life of your ATV, it is best practice to maintain these values at all times. Pressure loss from riding through muddy terrain can cause serious problems if not corrected immediately. Pressure loss from normal use will occur but will not become an issue until it reaches about 25% off its recommended inflation value.
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Large bumps in the road pose a whole other set of issues that extend beyond simple low or high-pressure loss. If you think that your tires are losing air faster than expected, the problem could extend beyond a simple tire pressure problem. The issue could be a faulty contact patch on one or both tires.
In this case, you should still maintain proper tire pressures and consider replacing your tires should there be other axles of damage that extend from other problems such as large rocks or potholes.
7) Keep an Eye on the Chain:
A chain is one of the most important parts of an ATV as it transfers power from your engine to the back wheel. With such a task, you would not want your chain to fail when riding over harsh terrain. If you notice that your chain is loose and becoming scruffy, do not continue to ride on it as this will cause further damage.
You want to tighten and lubricate your chain before continuing forward with any riding plans that day. There are many ways in which chains can be tightened so consider popping by a local shop for some advice on how best to tighten yours.
8) Check the Spark Plugs:
This part is easy enough to check yourself so long as you know what you are looking for. Simply remove the spark plug and check its condition. If it is corroded or worn, there could be potential problems with your engine that extend beyond the lifespan of an average spark plug (typically 25,000 miles).
Just like in a car, you want to be sure that your battery has enough charge to go about your day without cutting out on you. If your battery seems to run out fast or never charges fully when plugged into an electric charger, this would indicate a problem with the battery itself.
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Replacing batteries can be costly depending on which ATV brand and model you own so it is best practice to consult your local mechanic or dealer in order to get a timely assessment on what step needs to be taken next.
10) Pay Attention to the VVT (Variable Valve Timing):
Most modern ATVs function with Variable Valve Timing technology. This means that the valves within the engine open and close at different times, depending on whether it is idling or accelerating. If you notice that there is a significant difference in the sound of your engine while idling versus accelerating, this may extend beyond a simple sputtering issue and extend into an issue with VVT itself. This part is typically fixed by taking the ATV to a mechanic or dealer for further inspection and repair.
11) Understand the Clutch:
If you notice that your gears are slipping when sifting through them, this would indicate friction between the input shaft and the bearings. This can extend to other parts as well such as those involving hydraulic cylinders or those within the transmission. Replacing these parts will require skill so it is best practice to consult a mechanic before getting started on any such repairs yourself.
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12) Ensure the Coils Work in Unison:
The coils function as electromagnets that are powered by the battery. When these electromagnets are charged, they extend to different parts of the engine and control certain functions such as opening valves or spark plugs. If you notice that your coils are not working in unison then this would extend beyond being a simple coil replacement issue and into an issue with VVT itself.
13) Watch Your Fuel injection:
This part is known for its resistance to heat, humidity, moisture, etc. The short life span associated with fuel injectors can be attributed to poor maintenance practices on behalf of the owner so if you know that you have been neglecting fuel injections maintenance, consider having it replaced sooner rather than later when preventable repairs may cause extensive damage to the ATV.
14) Keep Exhausts Rust-Free:
The exhausts are usually made out of steel which means that it is susceptible to rusting over time. If you notice rust or corrosion on any parts of your exhaust, this would extend beyond needing a simple replacement and into an issue with VVT itself.
15) Use Ball Bearings:
If you are familiar with ball bearings then you should know that these components can extend the life of your ATV by up to five times longer than conventional roller bearings. The downside to ball bearings is that they are easily destroyed by exposure to extreme heat so if they extend beyond a simple replacement issue and into an issue with VVT itself.
Whether you’re looking for a toy to give yourself and your family fun activity or have a specific plot in mind that will extend beyond just recreation, ATV-ing is something that can overflow into multiple areas of your life.
By learning about what parts work together and which ones extend beyond the limits of replacement, you’ll be able to extend the lifespan of your ATV exponentially when compared to dropping massive amounts of money at dealerships whenever something does go wrong.
Make sure you consult this list before spending unnecessary money on a professional mechanic. Getting a timely assessment in order to extend the life of your ATV is an important practice in ensuring that you get the most out of your ATV while saving money in the process.