13 Steps To Prepare Your ATV Or UTV For Spring

Spring is here, and with it a load of projects around your hobby farm. Get your ATV or UTV ready for work with this maintenance checklist.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

Hooray! Spring is here, and presumably you’re keen to fire up your ATV or UTV for another busy season of farming projects.

But before you head off into the spring mud, it’s wise to perform some pre-season maintenance. This simple checklist will help ensure your machine is in tip-top shape and ready for anything.

Remove Unneeded Winter Enhancements

If your ATV or UTV has been hard at work all winter, you can start by removing seasonal enhancements like tire chains, weights and snow-clearing implements such as plows or blowers.

Read more: Can you plow snow with your lawn mower? Yes, you can!

Give Your ATV a Thorough Cleaning

There’s no reason to drive around with a machine covered in dirt and grime. Give your ATV or UTV a thorough cleaning from top to bottom, inside and out.

Don’t just focus on exterior surfaces. Remove buildup out of hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, too. If your machine has a radiator, make sure it’s clear of debris.

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And don’t forget the spark arrester—clean it out to keep your machine operating at its peak.

Tighten Loose Bolts & Connections

Months of negotiating “all terrain” can loosen bolts and weaken connections between parts of your machine. Go ahead and tighten any bolts that have worked loose to ensure nothing breaks or falls off.

This is good advice for any piece of machinery. I once had a muffler fall off a snow blower after all the connecting bolts rattled loose.

Change the Oil

Chances are, you’re due for an oil change. And even if the oil is still good, you might need to change from a winter-grade oil to a standard-grade oil more suitable for use in warm temperatures.

Read more: Oil viscosity? Here’s what you need to know.

Replace Oil & Fuel Filters

In addition to changing the oil, you should consider replacing your oil and fuel filters. Consult your machine’s user manual for part numbers and guidance on how often to replace filters.

Clean (or Replace) the Air Filter

The air filter is an important component, making sure your engine breathes air free of dust and dirt. Air filters should be cleaned frequently and replaced every so often (consult the manual) to prolong the life of the engine.

Check All Fluids

Oil and gasoline surely aren’t the only fluids your ATV or UTV requires. Check the manual for guidance on topping off other important fluids—transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, etc.

Replace the Spark Plugs, If Necessary

If your engine is running rough—or if it has trouble starting—the spark plugs may be at fault. Check the manual for guidance on how often to change them out.

Charge or Replace the Battery, If Necessary

Cold weather can be unkind to batteries, so coming out of winter, your ATV or UTV may need its battery charged or replaced so you’re not struggling to bring your machine to life when you need it.

Get up to Date on Lubrication

Lubrication is an often-overlooked maintenance step, but properly greasing your ATV or UTV will help it operate smoothly and reduce wear and tear. Consult the manual for instructions on how (and where) to grease your machine.

Check Tire Conditions & Pressure

Give the tires a quick examination—are they holding up well, or do they have cracks and worn treads?

Replace worn-out tires if necessary, then check the pressure and fill the tires to their appropriate PSI level for maximum performance and safety.

Examine the Brakes

Brakes are among the most important components of an ATV or UTV and should be treated as such. Examine each element (calipers, brake pads, etc.) to ensure they’re working correctly.

Test the brakes under safe conditions to make sure they respond as expected. Replace worn-out parts as needed.

Get Started on a Busy Spring of Farm Projects!

Congratulations! At this point, your machine should be ready to roll. Nice work!

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