Don't let scratched plastic or rusty bolts get you down. Just because your quad doesn't look brand new, that doesn't mean you have to sit back and take it. Here are ten easy and inexpensive ways to make your ATV look better by the end of the day!
De-Rust Your Quad's Exhaust
Rust on your exhaust pipe? Sounds like a problem. Use Scotch-Brite pads to scour away that unsightly rust and make your exhaust look new again. If you have a steel pipe, use Lime-A-Way cleaner applied with a scouring pad and then wipe it down with a rag. Wash the residue away with water after the rust is removed, and then coat the pipe with WD-40. Your old pipe will look nearly new!
Easy Scratch Removal
If there are deep scratches in your quad's plastic, a light grade of sandpaper will usually buff them out. Follow it up with some polishing spray and the plastic will look great. You can also use Comet cleaner or Soft Scrub to buff out those scratches, but both products have bleach in them, so only use them on white plastic
Fix Cracked Plastic
If your plastic is cracked, you can stitch it up easily. To perform "plastic" surgery, drill holes on either side of the cracked plastic and use zip ties as stitches. Don't forget to drill a hole at the end of the crack--this stops it from continuing. It'll keep your plastic together and hopefully keep the area from further damage. Plus you won't have wobbly plastic flopping around when you ride.
If you've crashed or had a run-in with an immovable object and it left a crease in your quad's plastics, you can use a heat gun to cook out the lines in the plastic. Point the heat gun at the marks, slowly moving it back and forth over the lines. Be careful not to leave the heat gun in one spot for too long, though, otherwise you'll be looking for a quick fix for Swiss cheese plastic (and the only cure for that is buying new plastic).
Renew Old Plastic
Nothing makes your quad look like new quicker and easier than shiny plastics. Instead of buying new plastic, get some plastic polish at your local dealership. It's as easy as spraying and wiping it down. One reader even wrote in to tell us they had great results with Pledge wood polish to make their plastic shiny, and we've been known to use Mop 'N Glo on our plastic to keep it slick (which makes mud fall right off). Speaking of mud, next time you're ready to hit the mud pit, spray the undercarriage of your quad with Pam cooking spray. It'll keep the mud from sticking to everything.
A great way to make old plastic look new is by applying new graphics. To get the old graphics and the sticky residue left behind by them off, use contact cleaner. It requires very minimal scrubbing and generally leaves no residue. To get your plastic completely clean and ready for a new set of stickers, splash it with rubbing alcohol and use a clean rag to wipe it down. When applying the new stickers, spray the sticky side of the new graphics with glass cleaner and then slide them into place. The glass cleaner buys you a little bit of time to position them before the super-sticky graphics grab hold.
Are the aluminum wheels on your quad looking crappy? Get an acid-based aluminum cleaner and lightly scrub the wheels with a brush and then rinse it off with water. The cleaner will take off any residue that's making your wheels look less than stellar. Be careful not to get it on any painted parts, though, because that acid-based aluminum cleaner will strip paint right off.
Sidewall Clean Up
Have you pressure washed, scrubbed, and polished your quad, but the eternally dirty tire sidewalls are screwing up the clean aesthetic? use a steel wool pad to clean the sidewalls on your quad's tires, and once all the dirt and grime is loosened, rinse them off with water and you've got yourself a set of new-looking tires to match your shiny quad.
Rusty bolts got you down? if the bolts that show on your quad are looking a little haggard, take them out, wire brush the rust off, and push them through a piece of cardboard so only the head of the bolt shows. Get some silver spray paint and cover the heads with a new coat of shiny. After they dry, take them out of the cardboard and put them back on your quad. It's amazing how attention to a little detail can make your quad look ten times better.
Anodized No More
If your quad has anodized parts that are faded or a color that you no longer want to look at, you can strip the parts and make them silver. In most cases, oven cleaner will quickly strip away unwanted anodizing. Handle the parts and cleaner with gloves on, though, because that stuff will take skin off as well as the anodizing!