Prep your ATV for the season

Birds may be chirping and flower buds opening to the sunlight, but for many outdoor enthusiasts, the arrival of warm days and extra hours of sunlight means they can hit the trails once more. Many take to the trails on the back of their favorite “toys” that have been gathering dust in the garage all winter long.

All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, are affectionately known as “quads” and have dominated the off-roading market since three-wheel varieties were deemed safety risks. ATVs come in a variety of types and motor sizes, and can be customized for riders of different ages. Utility terrain vehicles, or UTVs, have the ability to carry things along and can generally accommodate more than one rider. Such vehicles are becoming more coveted among outdoor enthusiasts. UTVs may be a smart choice for hunters or campers who need to carry gear into remote areas.

ATVs and UTVs can be great fun for the entire family. However, they can be hazardous if the vehicles are not functioning and in good repair prior to the first excursion. Whether the vehicle is new or older, owners should take the time to inspect and troubleshoot potential problems.

Tires

As with any vehicle, tires should be properly inflated according to the specifications in the owner’s manual. Ensure there are no slow leaks before taking the ATV out, and replace tires if necessary.

Oils and fluids

Take the time to check fluid levels before going out. If it has been quite some time since the most recent oil change, make that part of your seasonal preparation. Be sure to replace the oil filter as well. If this task is too challenging, bring the ATV or UTV to an automotive shop.

Fuel

Smell the gas in the tank before taking to the road or trails. Gas can spoil if it is not treated with stabilizer when the vehicle is left to sit. Drain the fuel and start with fresh gas, as bad gas can cause engine trouble.

Battery

A dead battery can be a real downer for riders enjoying the great outdoors. Battery tender products are a good idea for those who typically store their ATVs for longer than a week. Be sure a battery is the right size and type for the vehicle, especially when purchasing a used ATV or UTV.

Visual inspection

When looking at the ATV, check for holes, corrosion, tears, and other damage to fuel lines, CV boots and other connections on the vehicle. Fix them promptly and before going out for the season.

A well-maintained ATV means hours of fun in the great outdoors.

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