• Steven E. Overmyer

Common Mistakes That Will Ruin Your ATV

With any type of vehicle, regular maintenance is critical, and an ATV is no exception. Driving recklessly, crashing your quad, or submerging it in water or mud aren't the only ways to ruin your vehicle. By failing to give your quad the TLC it needs, you’re ensuring that it won’t last nearly as long as it should. If you want your ATV to have a long and healthy life, don’t make these common mistakes.

Failing to clean the air filter

Operating your ATV with a dirty air filter is one of the quickest ways to destroy your vehicle. Engines need air to run, and if that air is packed with dirt particles, the engine will eventually wear down. Sure, you can buy a new engine, but who wants to waste the money when it could have easily been avoided? Make an effort to clean the air filter regularly, especially if you’ve been on a pretty dirty ride recently. It’ll only take a few minutes, and will save you a ton of trouble down the road.

Not changing the oil

The more you ride, the more your oil will become polluted with water, dirt, and debris. You should make an effort to change your oil at least once a year - but, if you ride pretty frequently, you’ll want to change it more often. Try to at least change it before you store your quad away for winter, and after you ride through deep water or mud. This is another cheap and easy DIY task, so there’s no excuse to put it off.

Riding until the wheels fall off (literally)

While this may be a task that can easily slip through the cracks, you should still try to remember to tighten your bolts every once in a while. Skid plate bolts, lug nuts, pivot bolts, axle nuts, sprocket bolts, wheel hubs… if you can name it, it needs to be checked. Make it a point to give your vehicle a quick once-over anytime you perform other maintenance tasks, tightening anything that might have loosened up over time.

Never washing it

If you’re thinking that this doesn’t apply to you because you give your quad a hose-down every once in a while, you’re wrong. If your ATV is dirty, clean it - and I mean really clean it. Chances are, there’s a lot more caked-on dirt hidden on your machine than you might think. Make sure that you really clean the undercarriage; this spot is often the most neglected.

Letting the radiator clog up

If you’ve been riding through the mud, dirt, or sand pretty heavily, chances are, your radiator is paying for it. A clogged radiator will lead to an overheated engine, so after a few dirty rides, break out the pressure washer and clean it out. Try to remember that when the radiator is clean enough, water won’t splash back at you; it will simply flow through.

Allowing the fuel to go bad

If the same gas has been sitting in your ATV’s fuel tank for months, it’s probably gone bad and begun to break down. Once you bring your quad out of its winter hibernation, drain the fuel tank in a well-ventilated area. Bad fuel will eventually clog up your lines - it’s not just a gimmick that oil manufacturers use to squeeze more money out of your wallet.

So, there really is no excuse - all of these simple maintenance tasks can be performed in your own garage (or driveway) in a short amount of time, and each step is critical in ensuring a long life for your ATV. If your quad is due for a service, you can bring it into the service department at Outdoor Powersports in Gainesville, TX - also proudly serving Dallas and Denton.

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