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ATV Nation: Maintaining and Repairing Your Favorite Offroading Machine

There’s something liberating about speeding along a bumpy dirt trail through nature’s beautiful expanse on the back of an ATV. Unlike cars and motorcycles, ATVs are put to use in some of the harshest conditions, whether it’s skipping through a muddy trail or grinding down a rocky traverse. Here are some tips that’ll help keep your all-terrain vehicle young and healthy for many years to come.

Remove the Battery During Summer


Sulfur ions naturally move from their home in the battery’s sulfuric acid to the lead plates. As this happens, sulfate forms on the battery plates. When you’re constantly using your ATV, this problem is negated by the engine naturally reversing the sulfation. However, if you leave a partially charged or depleted battery dormant for a long period of time, the sulfation could damage the plates, meaning your ATV might not run properly when you go to use it again.

Heat, especially during hot summers found in the South, accelerates sulfation and exacerbates the problem. If you don’t plan on using your ATV for the next couple of weeks, remove the battery and store it in a dry place. This simple, cost-free trick will help preserve your ATV’s battery.

Maintain Fuel Lines During Storage


The fuel lines in your vehicle are its lifeblood. They’re prone to clogging following long periods of stagnation, just like a human blood vessel. If fuel is left in the ATV, it could harden over time and leave deposits that could hinder efficient fuel performance.

Fuel stabilizers should be added to an engine that might be sitting around for a while to avoid the buildup of deposits in fuel line. But if you plan on storing your ATV without use for several months, it’d probably be best to just drain all fuel and oil from it entirely. These are tips you could apply to all small gas-powered machines, such as those you might find at

Take Her For Regular Outings

regular outings

You’ve probably heard that cars in long-term storage should be run every couple of weeks, and what’s an ATV if not a miniature automobile? Condensation can build up inside your ATV over time, which will naturally lead to an overabundance of water in your engine. Water in your engine can lead to problems like crankshaft or bearing damage, to name a few.

Taking your ATV out for drive or so every couple of weeks will help the engine warm up and covert all that moisture to a gaseous state that will be easily removed via the vehicle’s ventilation system. On the other end of the spectrum, if you leave it to sit in cold conditions (for example), water can build up in your fuel lines and actually freeze, causing even more damage.

Check Tires Regularly

tires checking

Properly functioning tires can spell the difference between a pleasant ride through the country and a terrible accident that could land you in the hospital. An ATV with low tire pressure is more likely to handle poorly on turns and hills, putting you at greater risk for injury when you ride. Most owners like to keep about 6 to 7 lbs of pressure in their front tires and about 6 pounds in the rear.

Low pressure also makes your tire rims more prone to hitting the ground during strenuous riding. Speaking of rough trails, it’s always a good idea to make sure all your lugs are tight and secure. This is especially true when you’re taking your ATV out for its maiden voyage, as some dealers might have assembled their vehicles simply for speed without the due diligence to prepare them for anything but the showroom floor. A lot can happen during the bumps and bounces during a ride that’ll slowly loosen those fasteners and whatnot.

Help Your ATV Breathe


One thing many first-time ATV owners don’t realize is that their air filters are actually designed to be used “wet,” in that there’s a coating of filter oil used to filter out materials and contaminants. A well-oiled air filter is especially necessary in dry, sandy locations like beaches or deserts. Always be sure to apply filter oil to new filters since they’re always sold “dry” out-of-the-box. An air filter that’s not doing it’s just puts your engine at risk of being clogged with elements that can seriously hinder performance and horsepower. Smart ATV owners clean their filters after every couple days of riding.

ATVs are a unique, multi-person way for people to work and play in the outdoors. But like everything with an engine, regular maintenance will go a long way to ensure things run smoothly. Take care of your ATV to keep it running strong and healthy for years to come.