This winter felt particularly long. Maybe it was the fluctuating states of lockdown present across the country, or perhaps it had to do with the onslaught of wild weather - polar vortexes and heavy precipitation included. Whatever the reason, it seems like eons ago that you put your ATV away in storage for its seasonal hibernation.
There are many resources online about what to do before you store your ATV for the winter, but precious little is written about taking it out of storage. If you're eager to hit the trails and get your blood pumping, take some time to ensure that your vehicle is working correctly. As they say: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Here are a few spring tips for taking your ATV out of storage.
Start with a Quick Scan
Your eyes are some of your best tools when it comes to inspecting signs of damage or concern. Once you pull the tarp off your vehicle, take a moment to walk around, checking each component.
Are there signs of fluid leakage on the ground?
Are the tires slumped or cracking?
Does the chain have significantly more than 1" of slack?
Have any critters made a home out of the underside of your ATV?
Either make a mental note of your concerns, or write the issues in a note on your phone that you can then show your local recreational vehicle maintenance shop.
Check Your Tires
Pay special attention to your tires. A long winter of fluctuating weather can leave your tires deflated or - worse - weathered beyond usability. Check your tire pressure with a gauge, consulting the owner's manual for recommended pressure. If you notice cracks on a tire, consider replacing it.
Spring is an excellent time to get deals on ATV parts, as businesses compete for the influx of seasonal riders looking to upgrade their vehicles. Check your local recreational vehicle store to see if they have ATV tires for sale - even if they aren't marked down, spring is the right time to buy. After all, you want to get the most out of your ATV this summer!
Credit: rihaij Via Pixabay
Check Fluids and Replace if Necessary
Check your ATV's brake fluids, coolant and - maybe most importantly - oil. To check your oil level, run the ATV for a few minutes, then shut off the engine. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean, then re-insert it tightly. Remove the dipstick once more and read the levels. If the oil is too dark or below the minimum level, it's time to replace your oil.
Clean Your Air Filter
Your ATV needs a clean air filter to keep oxygen flowing freely. It's entirely possible that the air filter became dirty while in storage, so it's best practice to take a look before your first spring ride.
If in Doubt, Let a Pro Take a Look
As a final note, remember this: It's always better to err on the side of caution. If you don't know exactly what you're doing, don't worry. That's no excuse to leave your ATV unmaintained and potentially dangerous. Take your vehicle to a local ATV parts dealer and maintenance company, and have them take a look. Happy trails!