Ready to blaze some trails? Whether you’re a casual rider or an avid ATV lover, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll cover everything from how to choose the perfect ATV brand to how to take care of your ATV. We know that getting an ATV means investing in a passion, so let’s get started on how to make sure you get the most out of your investment.
Choose a Perfect ATV Brand
Before buying an ATV, consider what you’ll be using it for. If you’re going to use it mainly to ride trails or do tight turns on a track, price, power, and size may be the most important factors in choosing an ATV brand.
However, if you intend to race the ATV with others or take it through major jumps and obstacles in order to show off your skills, performance will be key. Safety should also be a priority if you’re planning on taking jumps or doing tricks with your new ATV. The design of your ATV might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but how comfortable it is will make all the difference during extended rides.
In addition to these five factors—price, performance, safety, design, and brand—you might want to keep power and speed in mind when comparing different ATV brands. There are other aspects of owning an ATV that are equally important but often overlooked—how easy the vehicle is to maintain is one example.
Follow the Manufacturer’s Recommendations for Oil and Filter Changes
You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil and filter changes. The oil and filter are critical to the engine operation. So, to keep your ATV running smoothly and efficiently, you’ll want to change its oil every 3-5 rides or every three months, whichever comes first.
It’s important to dispose of used oil properly—check with local recycling centers or waste management facilities for specific instructions in your area. You should also change the oil filter every time you change the oil.
In addition, check the ATV’s oil level often. If it runs low, add only enough new oil to bring it back up to a level between “Add” and “Full” on the dipstick. Overfilling can cause serious engine damage.
Clean Your ATV After Every Ride
After each ride, clean the filter with a dry paper towel or a compressed air source. Do not use a damp cloth, as this will saturate the filter and cause it to retain more dust. If you ride in dusty conditions, then only use oiled filters. Dirt can enter your engine when air passes through even the slightest crack in the filter.
If you ride in muddy or wet conditions, it is of utmost importance to clean out all air vents, radiators, and coolant hoses after every ride to prevent damage. Water and mud are the main cause of damage to ATVs when driving in harsh conditions, so it’s vital that you don’t let debris stay on your ATV. Mud can build up on the frame, eventually causing rust.
Washing your ATV off will also help maintain its resale value. Wash your ATV with soap or specialized cleaner every month to avoid corrosion and rust. It’s best to wash it in an open area, like on a driveway or street, so that you can use a garden hose.
Lubricate the Suspension Pivot Points, Swingarms, and Linkage Points
After you’ve thoroughly cleaned your ATV, it’s time to apply lubrication to keep the machine in good condition. You’ll want to ensure that all pivot points and linkages are lubricated with a high-quality lubricant. In most cases, this will mean applying grease via zerk fittings on the swingarms and all linkage points. Clean off any old grease or dirt before applying fresh grease.
Once everything is clean, simply apply enough fresh grease for it to begin seeping out of the zerk fitting—but don’t overdo it! After applying fresh grease, use a rag or paper towel to wipe away any excess grease, so it doesn’t get caked into mud and grime while riding through rough terrain.
Finally, make sure you lube your chain with a specifically designed chain lube, so it stays in tip-top shape and lasts through your outdoor adventures!
Check the Tightness of the Drive Chain Once a Month
It’s worth checking the tightness of the drive chain at least once a month and adjusting as needed. A too-tight chain will put unnecessary strain on other parts, such as the gears and bearings, while a too-loose chain may fall off or break.
Incorrectly tensioned driveshaft chains (too loose) will cause damage to the sprockets and chains. The driveshaft chains should be tensioned according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This can be done by simply turning the adjusters clockwise until you feel resistance.
When you press down on the middle of your drive chain, there should be one inch between the bottom of your drive chain and the swingarm spindle. You may need to use a special tool for this! If you are in doubt about how tight is too tight, or what tools work best for making changes, consult an expert at your local ATV shop.
In conclusion, regular maintenance is the most important way to take care of your ATV. There are myriad things you can do with your ATV as well, such as riding over hills and straight-off jumps. However, keeping it running is crucial for the continued enjoyment of your ATV for years to come.