Hooray! Spring is here, and presumably youâ€™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, itâ€™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
Thereâ€™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.
Donâ€™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 itâ€™s clear of debris.
And donâ€™t forget the spark arresterâ€”clean it out to keep your machine operating at its peak.
Tighten Loose Bolts & Connections
Months of negotiating â€śall terrainâ€ť 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, youâ€™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 machineâ€™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 arenâ€™t the only fluids your ATV or UTV requires. Check the manual for guidance on topping off other important fluidsâ€”transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, etc.
Replace the Spark Plugs, If Necessary
If your engine is running roughâ€”or if it has trouble startingâ€”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 youâ€™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 examinationâ€”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!