A Look at The BEST ATV Service Manual

A few weeks ago, we did a giveaway with Clymer Manuals. This was our first giveaway, and we were excited by how much we got to interact with our readers. We got a lot of feedback following the giveaway and it turns out that the number one thing you guys wanted... was more! More information about Clymer Manuals and more information about why we were so excited to give one away. We have been using Clymer ATV repair manuals as long as we've had our ATVs. So since 2004 for Scott's KFX 400 and since 2006 for my Warrior 350. Since Clymer makes their manuals available in a PDF, we have always used them on our laptops in the garage. But when we started getting feedback, Clymer generously offered to send us two hard copy books of the manuals that we already owned.

ATV Repair Manual

So before we jump into why we love them so much, here's a quick break down: Clymer writes technical maintenance and repair manuals for a number of machines; motorcycles, boats, tractors, snowmobiles... But our favorite manuals are the ones they write for ATVs. Since all of the manuals are in the same format, it's easy to switch between a manual for the LT-Z400 (which we use for Scott's KFX 400) and the manual for the Warrior 350. Like any good technical manual, they include detailed photos and descriptions of repairs. (We've used Clymer manuals when we adjusted the timing on the KFX and when we installed a new drive chain on the Warrior.) To keep our word count to a reasonable limit, we're going to focus on what sets Clymer apart from your standard owner's manual.

Not Mechanically Inclined? No Problem.

When we sit down to write about a project we're working on, we do our best to keep the language at the lowest level possible. I have to tell you, it's no easy task. Clymer really hits the nail on the head when it comes to writing for both first time and seasoned ATV owners. Whether you have a maintenance background or not, I'm telling you, you're going to be able to read a Clymer manual with no problem. For first time ATV owners, the first and third chapters are going to be a gold mine of information. The first chapter of every manual is General Information. The chapter quickly covers some basics about terminology used in the manual and then it dives right into the good stuff. This first chapter covers everything from safety tips when working in the shop, to tools, to services and installations, and even storage tips. A long the way there are photos and illustrations. At the end of chapter one (and each chapter) there is a list of tables referenced in the chapter.

ATV Repair Manual

Because this chapter is not specific to any one model of ATV (or tractor, or boat, or whatever), it's a really great read for anyone who is interested in learning basic mechanic skills. This chapter covers tools like the multimeter. There is a description of different nuts and bolts. There is even some advice for dealing with broken and stuck bolts, like we did with our Grizzly.

ATV Repair Manual

Chapter three is geared more toward basic upkeep and maintenance. We've said over and over again that most issues can easily be avoided by taking the time to inspect your ATV, so chapter three is easily our favorite chapter. Along with a maintenance schedule, there are tons more photos and illustrations. When you use a Clymer manual, it's hard to second guess yourself. For instance, there is a section in chapter three which details six different spark plug presentations. Each one has a detailed description and an illustration showing what the spark plug looks like and the most likely cause of the issue.

ATV Repair Manual

An ENTIRE Chapter Dedicated to Troubleshooting

In each Clymer manual, the second chapter is always dedicated to troubleshooting. There are detailed steps for a large number of issues. Whether you're having trouble getting your ATV to start, hearing strange noises, or encountering problems with braking or handling, chapter two will walk you through the steps to discover what is causing the problem.

ATV Repair Manual

Once you walk through the steps and find the cause of the problem, the manual will refer you to the section that deals with fixing it. This chapter on troubleshooting alone is worth the cost of the book. Sometimes when we're trying to track down a noise or figure out why something won't start, it's easy to think that we've thought of everything. Of course with us, it tends to be something small that we never even considered. Having each step already written out for us means that we don't forget to check the one small thing we would have otherwise forgotten about.

It's the Little Things

Right now we're in a stage where we're trying to downsize everything we own. We've been swapping out all of our books and movies for electronic versions (when we can), scanning old photos, and ripping old CDs. Having all of our media available online or in some digital format is great for clearing out clutter and portability. And if you're going through this phase with us, you'll be glad to know that Clymer manuals are available in PDF format as well. Before we received our hard copy books in the mail, we had always used the PDF versions on a laptop in the garage. It works great for us because we're able to quickly search for the section that we need and we use the laptop to play music while we work. When we got the books in the mail, we immediately noticed some perks to having a physical manual as opposed to being chained to the laptop. For one, Clymer has included areas for you to write in information specific to your ATV. The Quick Reference Data at the beginning of each book has a place for the model, year, VIN, engine serial number, and carburetor serial number. There is also a Maintenance Log in the back. The manual on my Warrior also includes a Notes section, which seems to be missing from the LT-Z400 manual. Yes, you could technically just write all of this information down in a notebook but this is just another example of how Clymer has gone the extra mile to give you the most bang for your buck.

ATV Repair Manual

Additionally, we've found that the wiring diagrams are significantly easier to use in the book than the PDF version. In both the books and the PDF manuals, the wiring diagrams are in color, which is already more helpful than a OEM User's Manual. But it's not just the color - they're illustrated in a way that makes tracing a wire incredibly easy (and kinda fun).

ATV Repair Manual

The LT-Z400 manual only included one wiring diagram (because it is the same for the 2003-2008 models) but the Warrior manual included SIX separate wiring diagrams. Each year that the wiring changed, Clymer added in a new diagram. At one point or another, we've all seen directions or schematics with that little footnote at the bottom - the one that says that such and such is only present in this or that model. Those are always infuriating to me. I am sure that Clymer could have saved some money by adding footnotes instead of publishing six different wiring diagrams (especially since they are in color), but the fact that they chose to address each diagram separately makes this manual even easier to use. What you see is what you get, nothing is hidden in fine print. By now, I think you get the gist - We love these manuals. At around $35, they're an awesome deal. Because they cover even the simplest tasks, Clymer manuals are ideal for anyone who is serious about owning an ATV regardless of mechanical background. I can't begin to imagine the amount of money we've saved by doing repairs ourselves. If the $35 is a bit hard to swallow (hey, we all like finding a good deal), try checking our your local library first. Once you can see for yourself how easy it is to handle most repairs yourself, you'll be hooked. We'll end with a few photos from the main chapters of the manual...

ATV Repair Manual

Disclaimer: Prior to this post (and the start of our blog) we owned digital copies of Clymer manuals for our Warrior 350 and KFX 400. When we did the Clymer giveaway a few weeks back, we knew that we wanted to write a post about the manuals because we use them on a regular basis. Clymer sent us free hard copies of the manuals that we already owned to assist with the research and photos for this post. So was this a sponsored post? Kinda. Are all of the opinions above our own? Absolutely.
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