1. Tire Flip
If your sport quad’s rear tires are nondirectional and the leading edge has become rounded over, flip them to the other side of your ATV. You can tell if your tires are nondirectional by looking at the tread: if the tread pattern is equal in both directions, then you can flip them. Switching the tires will give your tires a sharp leading edge, which will put more power and traction to the ground and you’ll be able to get the maximum amount of life from the tires.
2. Bead Leak
If you have a tire that’s leaking from the bead, break it down (and if you don’t know how, check out our next tip!), clean the bead, and reseat it. If it still leaks, the bead may actually be damaged. Break it down again, liberally coat the bead area with silicone, and reseat the bead. Lower the tire pressure to less than four pounds until the silicone has set up.
3. Bead Breaker
If you don’t have a bead breaker (and spending almost a hundred bucks on one doesn’t sound like a good time), there’s still hope. Whether you’re trying to dismount the tire for repair or it’s simply time to replace the tires, this trick can help. First, take the wheel and tire off your ATV. Then get a 2×4, 2×6, or even 4×4 piece of wood that is about three to five feet in length and pull the valve core out of the tire’s valve stem. Put the board on the edge of the ATV tire (just in front of the rim) and wedge the other side of the board underneath the front side of your truck’s front tire. Stand on the rim with one foot to keep it from moving, and then have a buddy very slowly lurch the truck forward. If the board is placed right, the weight of the truck should break the bead of the ATV tire. Flip the wheel over and repeat on the other side. *Please be careful when driving the vehicle up the 2×4! Go slow and don’t run anybody over!
4. Rebeading Tires
Okay, once you’ve debeaded, you need to rebead. You can do that by buying a cheap air chuck (get one with a clip on it that holds it to the valve stem if you can). Take the chuck apart and remove the pin that holds the valve stem core. Remove the valve stem core from the tire; this allows much more air into the tire. Make a solution of five percent dish soap and water, and spread the solution on the tire bead. Now clip the chuck on or have someone hold it on for you and plug in the airline. The tire should start to bead. If it doesn’t, pop the tire on the outside with your hands at the 10:00 and 2:00 position, and when you pop it keep pressure on the tire. Once you get it to start taking air, the bead will seat. If you can’t get it to seat with lots of dish soap, release the air, break the bead loose and stretch the bead. Using a good-sized pry bar between the tire bead and the rim, slightly stretch the bead, working around the entire rim a little at a time. Use caution as to not bend the rim. Now lube it again with plenty of dish soap and try again.
5. Flat Tires
Does your ATV get more than its fair share of flat tires? If your tires are getting sidewall cuts, it’s more than likely due to the way you’re riding. Are you going into corners too hard and slamming into rocks? If so, try backing off the corner entry speed and work on exit speed. If the holes in your tires are in the center, add more air pressure. Higher air pressure makes the tires more flat resistant. You can also add things like Tire Slime to fix the flat before the air runs out.
6. Water Weight
In order to keep the front end of your ATV from floating when in a deep mud bog, many top mud racers fill their tires with water to weigh them down. You must break the bead on both front wheels then fill them with even amounts of water, then reseat the bead and set the pressure. The added weight keeps the front tires down and grabbing whatever traction is available.
7. Snow Studs
If you’re a winter rider, here are some tips on studding your ATV tires. If you place multiple studs toward the outside of the tires, it helps clear snow better and helps to prevent the tire from getting all packed up with snow and ice. And even though studs grip like crazy when you screw them into a tire’s carcass, it’s not a bad idea to sue a nylon nut o the the inside of the tire to help keep the stud snug. If a stud does rip out, simply patch it with a tire plug and then install a new stud a little further away on the knobby.
8. Flat repair
You should always, always have a tire repair kit with you on the trail. You don’t have to buy an ATV-specific kit (the ones available at the auto repair store are fine). Tire Slime works well on tires with small pinholes, but if your ATV’s tire has a hole bigger than a nail head, you should use a tire plug. If you’re serious about not letting flats ruin your fun, you can look into Tire Balls and tire foam. If you get a hole in the sidewall of the tire, chances are anything you do to patch it up won’t work for long and it’s time to replace the tire.
9. Under Pressure
Before a ride, check to make sure all your ATV’s tires are running the right amount of pressure. If one is off, it can affect the handling of you quad. Also, we found that running higher pressure in rocky conditions and for high-speed riding is useful. Put less air in the tires for mud riding. Also, it doesn’t hurt to measure the tire circumferences with a measuring tape once in a while. It’s important that the two front tires match and the two rear tires match. Adding or releasing air pressure can adjust the circumference of the tires and put them in spec. If you’re on a 4×4, make sure you quad has the same ratio-sized tires on the front and rear. If you alter the size ratio, your 4×4 won’t ride right.
You can wash your quad as much as you like, but if those sidewalls are cruddy, it’ll throw off that clean look you’re shooting for. To clean your ATV’s sidewalls, take a steel wool pad and water and start scrubbing. The grime and dirt should loosen, and then you can rinse them off with water. They’ll look good as the rest of your quad!