Maintaining your ATV doesn't need to be a hassle; here are some quick reminders.
It's April, which means it's about time to get the ATV out of storage and head out for some property scouting and improvement tasks.
Of course, since you haven't driven your ATV in probably at least five months, you're going to need to take a few moments to get reacquainted with it.
From safety measures to considerations of hardware condition, all the way to simple corrections of comfort, the seven maintenance items on this list will go a long way toward turning your ATV into the robust machine you want it to be.
View the slideshow and check off these seven tips for maintaining your ATV.
1. Pay attention to the battery
As with any other kind of vehicle, one of the most important aspects to consider with your ATV is the battery. Usually, your battery will be just fine to get through the spring, summer, and fall months, charging itself and keeping you mobile for all of your deer property needs. However, when you go to store your ATV for the winter, it's important to follow a few maintenance steps to make sure that the battery will still be useful to you at the end of the cold spell.
Start by removing the battery from the ATV and cleaning the terminals. This can be done with a mixture of baking soda and warm water, though some automotive experts say that a can of Coca Cola can do the job as well. Battery terminals can become heavily corroded or covered with oil and other gunk over time, and cleaning them is important to making sure your power source is charging and delivering energy to your ride.
Your battery will drain if you leave it unattended for months at a time, so consider investing in a battery gauge to make sure you're at full charge. Cabela's has a battery gauge that will work for virtually any application.
2. Keep an eye on the fluid levels
This is starting to sound like your car maintenance routine, isn't it?
Luckily, checking the fluids is a lot simpler than battery maintenance. Simply untwist the caps to check oil, coolant, and differential fluid levels. Even if your ATV is new, you never know the status of these fluid reserves until you check them.
Keeping the fluids in your ride topped off will help to keep the engine from damaging itself and will save you a big headache down the road, so make a point of checking them every month or so or every time you take the ATV out after a few months or weeks without driving it. Sometimes, you will need to drain the oil as well, so read up on your specific ATV model to find out how frequently you should be conducting full oil changes.
3. Replace interior components
When maintained well, a battery or a motor can last for years. However, there are components of your ATV that you should expect to replace on a fairly regular basis, such as the spark plug or the air filter.
If your ATV isn't performing the way you want it to, check your plugs and filters. Both items wear down over time and might be the reason behind breakdowns or weak performance.
4. Re-glue your handlebar grips
If you are using your ATV to get around and maintain your deer property, then you might not need to secure your handlebars quite as often as someone who primarily uses their quad for high-octane, motorsports action.
With that said, checking to make sure your handlebars are secure is something you should do before every single ride. Grips tend to come loose after a certain amount of use - regardless of how good the factory-applied glue was. Buy a bottle of grip glue and keep it near your ATV storage spot so you can easily apply it before you head out for a ride.
In addition, some riders claim that safety wire or spray paint can help to provide extra grip stability and security, so that you can always keep in control of your ride.
5. Check the air in your tires
Speaking of keeping in control of your ride, if your handling has been feeling sluggish, there's a good chance that your tire pressure is down.
Buy a tire gauge especially for your ATV and check the air regularly, whether because you haven't driven your quad in awhile or because you aren't getting the sharp handling that you want.
The front tires are the most important to keep inflated, but take the time to check and top off the rear ones as well. Doing so will give you a smoother ride in the short term and will mean your tires last longer in the long run.
6. Tighten the lug nuts on the wheels
While you're checking the air in the tires, take a moment to tighten the lug nuts and make sure the wheels are securely fastened to the vehicle.
When you first purchase an ATV, chances are pretty good that the wheels have already come a bit loose in transit. Rides in the field can do a lot to loosen the lug nuts as well, especially if you've been riding over tough terrain, so make sure to check and tighten your lug nuts on a regular basis.
Most ATV owners indicate that aluminum wheels are plagued with the loosest and most temperamental lug nuts, so if you're riding on aluminum, take special note of this one.
7. Adjust the riding position until it feels comfortable
Every ATV rider has slightly different preferences when it comes to the riding position on their quad, so always make a point of making sure everything is in comfortable position before you head out for a ride.
This is especially important if you just purchased the ATV, since the riding position will probably be way off from what you are used to or comfortable with. However, if you've recently moved your ATV to a new house or even just allowed a buddy to borrow it, there's a good chance that something ended up out of whack in the exchange.
Check the handlebars, brake levers, clutch levers, and any other aspects of the vehicle and adjust them to your liking. There is no "one size fits all" option here, so go for what makes you feel secure.