Kids are hard on ATVs. Keep your new investment in the best shape possible with these ten easy tips.
Check your tie rods. All the time.
The tie rods on an ATV are a bolt style. (This is not at all like your daily driver.) They have a tendency to loosen if you’re doing much turning. If your tie rods become loose, they can cause serious damage to the spindle. And that means a bigger, more expensive repair. Save yourself some time and money later by checking your tie rods today.
Front wheel bearings take more wear and tear than you realize.
This is the short version. Check out our Anatomy of an ATV post for more details.
Wheel bearings are super easy to check. Grab the tire with both hands at eight o’clock and two o’clock position. Now try and move the tire back and forth, pushing and pulling away from your body. If there is ANY wiggle there, it’s time to replace the wheel bearings.
A word of advice here. Don’t cheap out and try to ride an ATV on bad wheel bearings. Not only is it unsafe, but it can end up costing you more in repairs in the long run.
Shake and Wiggle EVERYTHING. Do this every time you ride.
One of the easiest methods of preventative maintenance, is to grab everything. If it’s loose, tighten it. If it squeaks, grease it. It does not take any time and can save you so much headache if done on a regular basis. We recommend you perform this wiggle check on every vehicle, every time you ride.
Keep your chain tight with the three finger method.
The OEM drive chains on most youth ATVs are not meant to hold up to the same wear as most adult ATVs. Check the tension often by using the three finger method. You should be able to fit three fingers between the top and bottom part of the chain.
Regular oil checks are easy and will improve the longevity of your ATV.
I like to get a 2.5 gallon fuel can that I use just for each youth ATV. When you need to fill the gas can, change the oil. It’s that easy.
Trouble starting? Check the brake light.
If your brake light is not coming on, then you’re not going to be able to get the unit to start. Try both the hand brake and the foot brake. If neither are coming on, check your battery.
Invest in a battery maintainer.
You need a battery maintainer. Get in the habit of storing your ATV on a battery maintainer whenever you’re not riding. This will ensure a long battery life and your ATV will always be ready when you are.
Don’t forget to check the kill switch.
You would not believe how often we see this. If your unit will crank but not start, check the kill switch on the handlebar. If this switch is on, nothing you do will get the ATV to start. It may seem obvious, but it happens more than you might think.
Commit to using the fuel shut off. Or don’t.
A common issue we see in the shop is a fuel shut off that is leaking. We usually see this when someone is going to pull their ATV out of storage after not using it for awhile. They never used the fuel shut off when they were riding, only during storage. You can avoid this common problem by either using the fuel shut off all the time, or never. It does not matter whether you use it or not. Just pick one.
Preventative maintenance and occasional troubleshooting are a part of ATV ownership. But it does not have to be a chore. Check things out before and after you ride but make it fun. There’s no reason this can’t be a family activity.