Winter is no time to hide away indoors. It’s the perfect time to seek adventure in the great outdoors. While snowmobiles remain highly popular for winter outings, some people prefer the ride of an ATV. If you’re planning some ATV action this winter, you’ll want to give your ride a thorough inspection and perform maintenance before you head out. A breakdown is unwelcomed at any time, but it’s even more serious when the temperatures are frigid.
9 prep tips for your ATV in winter
1) Start with fresh engine oil and filters
Engine oil is the lifeblood of your ATV. It’s not a bad idea to start the winter season with fresh oil and a new oil filter because grimy oil can affect your performance and adversely impact your engine. Considering the importance of needing top performance during tough conditions, fresh oil and a new filter are basic maintenance steps that can pay off.
2) Treat your fuel
Moisture in the fuel lines and tank is subject to freezing in cold temperatures. When that happens, you might experience starting difficulties and erratic performance. Adding fuel treatment to your tank can solve this common winter problem.
3) Get a battery charger
If you’re in a remote area, and your battery becomes weak, you don’t want to think to yourself, “I should have bought a battery charger.” Winter is hard on batteries and having a battery charger as a backup tool can really save the day.
4) Inspect your electrical system
Cold temperatures and electric are not friends. That’s why you want to make sure your electrical components like your starter, alternator, solenoid, voltage regulator, ignition switch and spark plugs are all working optimally. Hard starts and lights that dim or flicker can be warning signs of a weak link in the electrical system. Inspect and replace suspect components so as not to risk a complete failure out on the trail.
5) Rebuild your carburetor
A carburetor rebuild may be in order if you’re having fuel system issues. To make the job easier, it’s often possible to purchase all the components in a complete kit that includes gaskets, valves and other parts needed to complete the rebuild.
6) Replace dim or burned-out lights
Riding at night with insufficient lighting is a safety risk. If you have dim or burned-out lights, you should consider upgrading to new LED lighting, which shine brighter than conventional lighting. LED lights cast light farther and wider, helping you see what’s ahead on the trail.
7) Resolve engine problems
There is nothing more important than your ATV’s engine. For optimal power, make sure internal components like camshafts are in good shape. Power failures, backfires and clicking noises indicate that an inspection of the engine is due.
8) Replace gaskets
Gaskets seal the space between surfaces. When that seal is compromised, leaks can occur. If you are seeing fluid spots on the ground, you may need to replace your gaskets. Complete gasket kits that include all the parts you need for a specific make and model of ATV are convenient because you don’t have to shop for parts piece by piece.
9) Change the air filter
This is another simple step that can make a significant difference. The air filter keeps the system clean by trapping impurities, but it eventually gets overloaded. When the air filter is out of sight and out of mind, it’s easy to overlook. Look now and replace if necessary.
Enjoy ATV winter adventures
Winter can be one of the most exhilarating seasons to seek out adventure on your ATV, but you want to make sure you’re prepared to experience the fun without any frustrations. A pre-winter ATV checkup is highly recommended for all winter ATV enthusiasts.