For many of us, winter has been way too long! With spring and warm weather just around the corner, it’s time to get your ATV, UTV or dirt bike ready to ride. Taking a little time to prep your machine before riding it will not only ensure its longevity, but it will increase your enjoyment when riding it as well. Below are some of the main things you can do to prep your machine for the riding season. Always refer to your machine’s specific owner’s manual for further information and specifications.

A Dirt Bike Rider Giving the “Thumbs Up” Sign

    • The first thing you need to check is the fuel system. If gasoline has been sitting without a fuel stabilizer, it goes bad. Parts of the gasoline separate and evaporate. This leaves varnish that can plug small jets and other orifices, which leads to a machine that runs poorly or won’t even start. If the gas is old and untreated, drain the fuel from the tank and carb (on carbureted models) and dispose of it properly. Make sure the tank is clean, and put fresh gasoline in the tank. Clean the carburetor and/or other fuel systems if required.
    • The next thing you’ll want to check is the battery (if your machine has one). Hopefully, you kept it on a Battery Tender or at least charged it every month over the winter. In either case, now is a good time to put a charger on it. If it’s not a sealed battery, check the water level before charging. If it is low, fill to the proper level with distilled water.
    • Now it’s time to check the oil and fluid levels. Does it look like anything is leaking? Sometimes seals like to start leaking over the winter (especially fork seals on motorcycles). If there are leaks, they will need to be addressed before you ride. Check your oil levels. If you don’t remember how much time you have on the oil, it is probably a great time to change the oil and oil filter. Check the radiator fluid level, brake fluid level, etc.
    • I would suggest cleaning the air filter whether it looks like it needs it or not. Filter oils can slowly run to the bottom of the filter and even dry some. It is a good idea to start the season out with a properly cleaned and oiled air filter.
    • Don’t forget to check the tire pressure. No doubt your tires lost some air over the winter months. Make sure the tire pressure is set to the manufacturer’s specifications. Having correct tire pressure is not only critical for safety, but it also makes the ride more enjoyable.
    • If your machine is chain driven, make sure the chain is adjusted and oiled. On machines with CVT or drive belts, make sure they are clean. Check for cracking and wear; replace if necessary.
    • Finally, look over the machine and make sure you aren’t seeing any problems. Check the brake pads to ensure plenty of friction material. Check the controls from proper operation. Check bolts and nuts to make sure none are loose.

Technician Disclaimer

By Justin Deschamps