Water. Dust. Mud. Together they are the soup we feed our ATVs—gobbled up without so much as a post-ride burp. Maintenance-free suspension bushings, fully sealed engines and electronics, and tough-as-nails drive systems see to that. But a diet of these potentially destructive ingredients requires a few key maintenance measures to keep your ATV in top shape and ready for more feasts of terra firma. According to the experts at Arctic Cat, and Cat Master Technician Dealers, a few simple tips will keep your ATV in top form, whether it's a classic or a new model.
Different conditions and riders make any one-size-fits-all maintenance program impossible. However, you'll do your ATV (and your wallet) a big favor by following these five general procedures with a frequency that makes sense for the conditions and duration you ride.
1. Proper Tire Pressure
Air pressure is a huge factor in how your ATV rides. Too little pressure produces heavy steering and unpredictable handling. Too much means accelerated tire wear and a rough ride. Only one PSI can make a significant difference. Always check all four tires before each ride and adjust the pressure as needed.
2. Air Filter
It's so quick and easy to pull the air filter, rinse/wash it with filter cleaner, blow it dry, treat with filter oil, and reinstall, that you should do so once a month and after every dusty ride.
Tip: For extra engine protection in dusty conditions, use a genuine Arctic Cat prefilter.
3. Oil and Filter
Changing the oil and filter on your ATV once a year (more if you're riding hard in the heat) will keep your ATV engine fresh and healthy. For the best results, use the new, specially formulated synthetic oil from Arctic Cat.
4. Condensation Check
Are you riding in mud and water? Water condenses when a hot front differential (on 4x4 ATVs) and rear gear case contact with cold water or mud, contaminating the oil. Dip a clean, clear plastic zip-tie into the inspection plughole, and then check the oil. If it's milky, drain it and refill it.
5. Boot and Bellows Check
Inspect the rubber CV boots on each wheel and the rubber vent bellows on the front differential (4x4 models) and rear gear case. If they're torn, replace them before riding or risk an expensive repair bill.
Technicians also recommend using a high pressure washer, like those at self-service car washes, to spray the layer of dirt from your ATV, making sure to clean all dirt and debris from the radiator (on liquid-cooled models) and the engine/engine head (on air/oil-cooled models). Spray both sides of the two front brake discs and the single rear disc.
Tip: After spraying each side of each disc, roll the ATV forward to expose the portion shielded by the brake pads, then spray again.
With a little preventative maintenance, you'll be ready for the trail every time without costly repair bills.