When you get that brand new dealer fresh quad off the show room floor there is nothing that runs better and nothing that looks better. But over time both looks and performance are degraded to a point where a very brave buddy speaks up to tell you what a chunk of garbage you have and may not realize it.
Instead of sending a fist your friend’s way, we suggest you address the problem. In most cases, it won’t cost you much to get your ATV or UTV back in shape.
We have put together a list of 10 items that can not only help improve the performance of your machine but it may help it look better while lasting longer to boot!
Some of these tips may not be scripture in your book of riding, but if you fail to take even the cheap checkups you could wind up walking or pushing that heavy beast instead of riding it. Get too it!
1. Clean It Good
Cleaning a machine regularly will not only keep it looking sweet but it will help make visible any points of interest should the breakable parts begin to fall off. Knock off the heavy mud or dirt before hitting the quad with the hose. We use a product called Super Clean. It can be diluted into a three-gallon pump sprayer and literally just needs to be sprayed on and hosed off. Great stuff.
Clean oil makes an engine happy – not only engine oil, but any oil in the machine. Keeping fluids topped off and in the best possible condition not only extends the life of the machine, but also saves you money in the long run.
3. Monitor Tire Pressure
It’s a funny thing, those tires. They were made round for a reason and when they get low on air they begin to run out of shape. Then you feel bobbles and wobbles as you drive up the trail. This can jar your teeth out of your head and can also vibrate important stuff out of place on your machine. Not to mention an improperly inflated tire can wear horribly wrong and eventually ruin the tires.
4. Air Filter Care
Engines need fuel, fire and air to get a proper burn process. This burn creates the power to pull your tail around the trail and when the air filter gets clogged things can change dramatically. Remove air from the equation and the engine will begin to run rich. This will foul out you spark plug eventually.
5. Replace Your Spark Plugs
As mentioned above, your ATV’s engine needs fire as well. If you mistreat the engine by using cheap fuel or allowing the air filter to become clogged, the plug will fail. Running an engine lean in the jetting department will also kill the plug and eventually the entire engine. Fortunately spark plugs are fairly cheap to replace – somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 bucks.
6. Don’t Skimp on Fuel
This should be a no brainer for anyone who has had to make a payment on an ATV. If you cannot afford five more cents per gallon to put good gas in your machine you should re-evaluate even owning it. The higher octane the fuel the lower the chances it contains filler chemicals that attack your carb’s internals and fuel system. Do the right thing. Your machine will perform better because of it!
7. Grease It
Every ATV has moving parts that need grease. Pivot points need some kind of grease to keep them moving freely. This helps in places like suspension components and wheel bearings. The steering on an ATV can need grease as well to keep the bars moving smoothly.
Lights on an ATV mean adventure in the dark, but if the bulbs burn out or the lens gets cloudy you cannot have a great ride because you have to crawl around at the speed of a dull light. Auto parts stores sell plastic headlight refinishing kits for less than 20 bucks. Whether it’s a simple paste or a multistep sand and polish kit, you can get the bright lights working and looking good once again.
9. Chain Drive Maintenance
The drive chain on your Sport ATV needs adjustment more than you think. A sloppy chain will wear on everything around it and if it gets too loose the chain coming off can bust a huge hole in your engine case. It’s simple – properly adjusted chain equals maximum performance.
10. Look After Your Drive Belt
Many Utility ATVs use a big nasty belt that, when treated badly, will leave you stranded like a gold digger finding a new game at the club! Belts cannot take water nor do they like heat. Properly adjusted belts wear longer and make riding a smooth powered machine a dream. If you run your machine off into the nasty stuff in high gear you will get on the fast track to burning the belt. Check the belt’s adjustment and every other ride you should make sure to drain the CVT box. It may or may not contain water, but just being sure is the key.