After a long winter season cooped up inside, you’re understandably eager to take on the great outdoors on your ATV. Before you take your vehicle out of storage, there are a few things you should do to check the condition of your machine to ensure a safer, more enjoyable ride. Here are 5 tips to get your ATV ready.
1. Visual inspection
Start by giving your machine a good walk around. Check the appearance of your vehicle and keep an eye out for:
- Signs of fluid leaks.
- Loose chains.
- Water damage.
Make sure to look under the surface for any signs of disrepair. Small critters find ATVs appealing during winter months, especially if they’re covered. Check to make sure wires and other vehicle components aren’t chewed through, and that there isn’t a nest in the exhaust or intake.
2. Inspect the tires and other rubber parts
There’s a good chance your tires lost air over the winter months. Proper air pressure is not only important for safety and maintaining the integrity of your wheels, it also makes for a better ride.
While inspecting your ATV, check to see if any of the tires look under-inflated. You can also use an air compressor to check and set tire pressure to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Cooler temperatures can also cause problems for other rubber parts on your ATV. Check things like hoses and handlebar grips for any cracking, flat spots, or cracks. Give your brake pads a good check, too. If you can’t see the indicator marks, then they may need to be replaced. And if you notice more wear on one brake pad than the other, you may want to check your alignment.
3. Change the oil
Whether or not you changed your oil before winter, it’s important to check your oil levels before taking your machine out. Keep in mind that even if you changed your oil before storage, unused oil that’s been sitting for extended periods of time can congeal, making it less effective. A good rule of thumb is to change the oil when coming out of storage, regardless of when it was last replaced.
While you’re at it, check your fuel system, too. Just like oil, gas can go bad if it sits unused for a long time and hasn’t had a fuel stabilizer added to it.
4. Check the battery
Cold weather can wreak havoc on your battery. Try powering on the engine to see if your battery still has life. If not, you may need a battery replacement. Inspect the battery and nearby parts for any signs of leaking or corrosion, which could also indicate that you need a new battery.
5. Schedule a maintenance appointment
Regular tuneups are key to a good ride and prolonging the life of your ATV. Even if you usually perform your own ATV maintenance, it’s recommended to schedule a professional tuneup. Having a trained mechanic thoroughly inspect your ATV can help identify and repair any issues you may have missed.
Be proactive in prepping your ATV. Just like you, other ATV owners are excited to say goodbye to winter and hit the trails. Check the condition of your machine before winter is over so you can get ahead of the spring maintenance rush at the shops and start enjoying your ATV as soon as the season starts.