A Beginner’s Guide to ATV Maintenance


ATVs are a significant investment, and you should ensure that your outdoor toy remains in shape. Just like anything you spend a lot of money on, you want it to last as long as possible. As such, you need to prioritize making a simple maintenance checklist. 

Manufacturers are now making machines easier to work on, so you do not have to call your mechanic to fix minor repairs. Here is a beginner’s guide to ATV maintenance.

1. Follow the Break-in Procedure

After leaving the assembly line, manufacturers do not give new vehicles enough time to allow all parts to lubricate. Avoid going over half-throttle for long for the first ten hours of use. 

Vary the throttle speed regularly and operate your ATV on different throttle positions. 

Between the first ten and twenty hours of use, do not go over the three quarter throttle position for long. You can rev the engine through gears, but do not hit full throttle. After passing the twenty-hour riding period, your ATV will be fully broken into. Perform your first oil change and then take your ATV for a full riding experience.

2. Check and Change the Oil

The oil keeps your ATV running. The oil in your ATV’s engine collects dirt as you ride down the trail. As such, you have to get rid of the dirty oil and replace it with new and clean oil to keep the engine running strong. Checking and changing the oil on your ATV is easy. Follow the manufacturer’s manual for the recommended oil type and weight. 

Remember that the engines on ATVs are sensitive to oil weights.

So, you have to get it right. You do not have to spend much changing the oil because ATV’s only require a few quarts of oil. Check your engine oil regularly and stick to the change schedule indicated on the manufacturer’s manual.

3. Condensation Change

If you often start up the engine and do not allow the oil’s temperature to warm up, condensation could build up and show on the dipstick. You may observe a dripping white milky substance when you remove the dipstick.

If you notice any of these signs, change your oil and ride it for an extended time to allow the oil to heat up.

4. Clean the Air Filter

The fuel system requires clean air to enable your engine to start and run smoothly.

Air filters ensure that the air flowing into your engine is clean and dry. Although modern ATVs have their filters installed higher than before to protect them from dirt and water, you still need to check, clean, or replace them if necessary. If you ride on dirt trails or store your machine for long, check the air filter before starting your ATV.

5. Tires

Checking your tires often will prevent you from running into unexpected issues such as a flat tire.

Always inspect your tires before you take your machine for a ride. Ensure that they are in good condition and tighten any lug nuts. Look for danger signs such as cracks, dents on the rims, and tire pressure.

Most ATVs hold about six to seven pounds of air, but it can differ depending on your riding experience.

6. Check the Coolant Level

Nowadays, there are fewer air-cooled ATVs.

As such, you only need to check the coolant level and maintain the radiator system. Checking and maintaining the coolant level is easy but essential to keep your machine running in good condition. Check the coolant for signs of dirt or overheating. 

Overheating coolant will change its color and begin to produce a burnt odor. If the coolant mixes with your oil system, it will become milky. When this happens, call your mechanic because your ATV may require a major repair. Modern ATVs run at high tolerances and overheating, or coolant in the oil can cause damage to your engine.

7. Routine Wash 

Having mud marks all over your ATV tells people that you just had an amazing outdoor time. However, ensure you wash off the mud and dirt after enjoying your ride. Mud and dirt may trap moisture, which can affect your paint. The moisture can cause or accelerate oxidation. 

Mud and dirt can also affect the performance of your ATV if it penetrates to the air filter. Give your machine a good wash after every use to prevent these issues.

Using these simple maintenance practices will prolong the life of your machine. However, always ensure you use genuine spare parts for your ATV from Tokyomods.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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