ATV Maintenance: 5 Tips for a Better and Smoother Ride


CC image from Flickr

Many maintenance items often get overlooked when an ATV is being prepared for the riding season. Most are simple things that can make a huge difference during an epic ride. Here are some things to pay extra attention to when your machine is still in the garage.

1. Oil Change
If you change your own oil, be sure to adhere to manufacturer recommendations when reinstalling the new oil filter and oil drain plug on the bottom of the engine. Twist on filters similar to your automotive style filters need only be hand tight. In regards to the drain plug, this bolt needs to be tightened to a specific torque spec -- over tightening will eventually strip the threads, and that's no fun to fix.

2. Air filter
Avoid gasoline when cleaning your own foam filter because it will eat away the glue that holds the sections of filter together. Unless you like the idea of buying a new one real soon.
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3. Spark Plug**
Depending on the amount of use and the fuel you put into the tank, you may need a new spark plug. Poor quality gasoline can wreak havoc on your plug's ability. Do not skimp on a $10 part, or you could be stuck out on the trail when you need it most. I sometimes change my spark plug twice a year -- even when I'm not having trouble -- so my ride performs at its best.
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4. Grips**
Holding onto the handlebars is important and making sure your grips are secure each ride will keep you in control of the ATV. Keeping a bottle of grip glue in the toolbox will remind you of this each time you see it. Hopefully even before you need it.

5.Front Tire Pressure
Low pressure in either of the two front tires can leave you out of control and struggling to turn the bars. Keeping your tires properly inflated will help get the wheels to go where you want them to, and tread wear will be even across the tire.