Are You A First Time ATV Owner?

Posted by Kenneth Poon on

For a sportsman, or outdoorsman, an ATV is definitely a worthy investment. Like your home, your car or anything other investment, you'll want your ATV to last as long as it can. If you want your ATV to stand the test of time, here are a few things you can do.

What is the first thing that everyone wants to do when the new quad hits the ground? Most people, will hope on and ride off into the sunset! Is it a great idea? Definitely not!

Although most, if not all, manufacturers take the quality and safety of their products extremely seriously, there are times when some occasional unglued grip, low pressure tires, and even loose bolt can leave the showroom floor and you will take the unit home without anyone noticing the problem at all. If driven, this could result in break downs and worst case scenario, injury.

Once purchased, it's important to care for and maintain your new ATV. It might take some time and more prep work on your side but the results are longer lasting ride. 

Now, let us share some tips. Here are the most important things that you need to keep in mind for a safer riding, longer lasting ATV.


Know Your New Buddy

Yes, most owners would not like to read the manual and that is totally understandable. However, most of the things that you need to do as an ATV owner can be seen in the owner's manual. However, if you want to get more in depth information about your investment, then, all you just need to do is to go to your dealer. They can set you up with a complete service manual. This service manual is the same one that the mechanics use to work on the machine. You may also ask maintenance questions to your dealer too.


Inspect and Top Off All Fluids

Do not be one of the owners who just bought a new quad and taken it directly to their local riding area without thinking of the lifeblood of their ATVs. Are you aware that the engine fails due to low coolant or oil? These are common mishaps which will surely destroy your new quad's internal organs!

It is just simple. Just twist off the cap and check if the coolant, engine oil, and the different fluids are at their proper level. If you do this, you are ensuring that your new ride will serve you for many years to come. 


Check All The Tires' Pressure

This is one of the easiest but most important things you need to keep in mind! If you ride your TV without enough air in your tires, you are exposing yourself to all kinds of difficulties! You are opening yourself for poor handling, dinging your rims, snakebite flats, and rolling off your rim!

If you run with too much air, on the other hand, you will also cause your ATV to bounce around uncontrollably!

The trick here is to find your medium. It is suggested to start with your manufacturers recommended PSI. You may also begin dialing in the tires to find what best fits your needs.


Wash Your Quad

Have you seen those guys driving around the town and their SUVs or trucks are covered with mud all over it – but they feel happy? Most of them would driver around with the dried mud all over their unit but they are not washing it off because they are considered as “badge of honor”. There are also some quad owners who do not want to wash their quads for whatever reason.

However, do not be like those guys! Surely your ATV will get dirty. We are not that big when it comes to mud because whatever happens, your unit will accumulate it especially during the hunting season where your unit will get filthy. However, no matter how “in” the filthy look is, it is important to wash those junk and mud off your quad. If not, these mud and dirt will trap the moisture against the metal of your unit. If you know it very well, steel and moisture does not mix very well, even if there is a healthy coat of paint to separate them.

If you let the mud and dirt to sit on your quad long enough, you will definitely regret it once you see them starting to eat your machine.

Not only will mud and dust ruin your quad’s appearance – it will also affect its performance too! If you will not notice it, they will go to your air filter. With the dirty and full air filter, you will be forced to always clean it. Mud and dirt can also clog the other parts of your quad too so washing it off as often as normal is a must.

The solution? Wash it off! If you are not using it, make sure that you are covering the parts of your quad where these mud and dust can enter.


Keep The Air Filter Clean

This is a basic of the quad. Your engine needs three things only: Spark, air, and gas.

The gas goes to the fuel system from the tank. It will go through the carburettor or thru an electronic fuel injection system. Once it passed through it, it will mix with the air resulting to air-fuel.

The air-fuel will travel through the cylinders. As it travels, a spark will ignite from the compressed mixture. This will result to an explosion through the pistol. That is how the quad is being ignited.

To make everything go smoothly, you need to have good and clean air. To make sure that you will be getting a clean supply, you need to make sure that the air filter is always dry and clean.

There are quads, especially the modern ones, which are designed to protect them from dirt and water. However, you still need to check the filters and intakes often to make sure it remains clean and dry all the time.


Check The Belt

It is not a four wheel drive if it does not have a seat belt. Just like other modern machines, a quad runs on a CV belt transmission. It allows the quad’s engine to operate more efficiently. It does not need to work with a manual clutch anymore too. All you just need to do is to shift into wherever you want and of course, give the unit some gas.

However, the down part is that you need to constantly check the seat belt. They are also easy to worn out, especially if you are frequent in riding extreme terrain or if it gets wet.

It is still a must to check the belt most of the time so you need to make feel how the car goes. Once the belt starts to worn out, your drive will not go as smoothly as before. You will also notice that your unit will have a lot of performance issues after.


Pay Attention to Underside Protection

Almost all ATVs offer some sort of protection for the underside, but that protection is usually minimal and made of plastic. Before you hit the trail, we recommend purchasing aftermarket belly, swing arm, and A-arm skid plates. It's important to do this before you ride, or you're likely to get gashes on your frame, crack your swing arm or even tear a CV boot. Don't wait till damage occurs and cover it up; you'll be happy that you've taken the proper steps to protect that investment.


Inspect And Tighten Everything

New machines travel great distances to get to your local dealer. Things come loose and can even be forgotten by the assembly teams at the dealer. Check all important bolts, such as the suspension bolts as well as the shock mounting bolts. Be sure to look at your quad's protection components like the swing arm guards and the heel guards. What it boils down to is it's your responsibility to inspect and make sure that everything is tight and functional.


Follow Break-In Procedures

Most ATVs have a simple break-in procedure that you'll have to study up on in your owner's manual. The initial break-in is designed to properly seat the valves and piston rings. Making sure to follow OEM specs will ensure the newest lion in your pack will be running for a long time to come. Most manufacturers require an oil change along with an oil filter change after only the first few hours on the motor. It never hurts to take preventative steps to make the fun last longer and keep you out of the shop.


Set Up The Suspension

Go ahead, don't be afraid to play around and dial in your shocks. As manufacturers have to account for a variety of riders' weights, they usually set up stock suspension to accommodate heavier pilots. Many of the new ATVs these days come with sag, compression and even rebound adjustments. Others may only have pre-load adjustments. Either way, you can dial them in to improve their ride performance. Who knows, you might be able to edge out your buddies with nicely dialed-in suspension.


Proper Jetting Is A Must

If your new machine is carburetor, it'd probably benefit greatly from proper jetting to accommodate your specific region. It's difficult for the manufacturers to jet a particular machine to operate to its full potential when the quads are being shipped to such drastically differing climates that the United States offers. For example, a new machine that's jetted for the hot, dry climate of Southern California will find difficulties when facing a frigid Minnesota winter. Be sure to check your manual for proper jetting procedures.


Maintain The Swing Arm Bolt

One of the most problematic issues that riders are experiencing is swing arm pivot bolts. A lot of unsuspecting quad users are surprised once they are driving and the swing arm bolt starts to lose.

That is why before you hit the trail, it is important to tighten all the bolts first. If you are unsure of what to do, you can always refer to the owner’s manual for the specifications.


Check The Axle Nut

Same as swing arm pivot bolts, axle nuts are notorious for working their way loose too! Always make sure that the axle nut is tight. If you want to be 100% assured, you can also tight them using electrical tape. 


Protect New Plastics

Keeping the "new" look on your sparkling pride and joy only takes a little prep, but it's easy and worth your time and money. Replacing plastics can be expensive, so now is the ideal time to install a cool graphic kit before they take a beating. Also, if you can find clear pieces of 12-mil vinyl to cover high-rub areas (even on your frame), that will definitely extend the life of your plastic and keep things looking nice for an extended amount of time. Clear vinyl can be purchased at most sign shops or can be ordered from many decal or graphics companies.


Protect It From Water

Last on our list but certainly not least by any stretch of the imagination is to protect your quad's electrical components from the damages of water. When water meets the electrical connections in your quad, all kinds of problems can and will erupt. Something that's been effective for me is applying a liberal dab of dielectric grease to all electrical connections throughout the quad. The dielectric grease helps to repel water from seeping in the connections and causing electrical shorts.


NOTE: These are the views of an independant writer and do not reflect the views and recommendations of Rosso Motor's.


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