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Maintenance is often overlooked on UTVs, which can lead to major problems down the road. Don’t let this happen to you. With a little bit of preventative maintenance, you can avoid future headaches and keep your side-by-side running at its best.

The video above specifically shows a 2014 Polaris RZR, but these tips are general enough to apply to most UTVs. Just remember to always refer to your machine’s service manual for safety information, exact procedures, torque specs, oil/fluid specifications and more.

#1 – Joints and Fittings

Zerk fittings – also known as grease fittings – are small components which extend a tiny distance out of a machine near pivot points with bearings or other equipment that requires periodic lubrication. The Zerk fitting doesn’t serve a specific function in the operation of the machine but instead acts as a gateway to these other parts. When a grease gun is attached to the Zerk, grease can be inserted into the system to lubricate the equipment. Zerk fittings exist exclusively to make maintenance easier. Take advantage of them!

The first thing you need to do is locate where your Zerk fittings are. Your service manual will have the exact locations, but the front ones are generally found around the a-arms and the sway bar while the rear ones are found by the rear sway bar and the driveline connections. Once you’ve found them, lubricate them with your manufacturer’s recommended grease.

It’s also a good idea to check your high-wear items like ball joints, bushings and bearings. When they wear out, it can negatively affect the performance of your machine – or even start damaging other components. Give them a good inspection and replace them if necessary.

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Zerk Fitting Picture

#2 – Air Filter

Air filter maintenance is easy to do, but you might be surprised by how often it’s neglected. There are basically two types of air filters: those that are serviceable and those that aren’t. Serviceable air filters include the K&N pleated filters and foam filters like those from Twin Air or No Toil. If your filter is serviceable, just make sure that you clean and oil it regularly to keep it in top shape. If your filter isn’t serviceable, replace it as needed. A fully functioning air filter will keep your engine running at its peak.

As part of this tip, you might also want to look into using pre-filters. Outerwears makes a great pre-filter that goes around your existing air filter and offers an additional layer of protection against fine particles of dirt – something extra important if you ride at places like sand dunes.

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Inspecting the Air Filter

#3 – Engine Oil and Other Fluids

If you want to get the most out of your UTV’s engine, change out the oil and oil filter at regular intervals. How often should this be? It’s generally best to check your service manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. One exception to this is if you race or otherwise subject your machine to extreme riding conditions. If that’s the case, you might want to change it out more frequently than what the manufacturer suggests. Also, checking your engine oil before each major ride is a little thing you can do that goes a long way. Too much or too little oil can cause problems.

Another thing to watch out for is engine coolant. Most manufacturers recommend that you change out the coolant once every five years, but depending on how hard you run your machine, you may want to change it out more frequently.

You won’t need to change out the transmission and gear case oils as often as the engine oil, but they’re just as important to service. As with the other recommendations, it’s always a good idea to follow whatever the manufacturer recommends, but if you subject your vehicle to harsh conditions, you might want to follow a more frequent maintenance schedule.

Don’t cut corners. Remember: It’s a lot cheaper to replace the oils and fluids than it is to replace something like the engine, transmission or gear case.

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Pouring Some Engine Oil

#4 – Drive Belt

The drive belt transfers power from your engine through your clutch to your transmission. It’s important to keep up on the inspection of your drive belt’s condition as it can wear out and cause problems. If you want to extend the drive belt’s life, one of the best things you can do is learn how to properly operate your vehicle.

When inspecting the drive belt, look for excessive signs of wear like glazing, cracks, breaks, missing cogs, flat spots or any signs of abrasion.

Check out the inlet and outlet ducts to make sure they’re clean and clear of any obstructions. While you’re in there, use compressed air to clean off the pre-filter and clutch sheathes. Also take a look at high-wear components of the clutch to check that none of them have gone bad.

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A Drive Belt

#5 – Brakes

It’s fun to go fast, but it can be absolutely terrifying if you can’t stop, and that’s why keeping up on your brakes is the final item on the list. When inspecting your brakes, check the brake pad thickness, the routing of your lines, and the quality and level of your brake fluid.

Brake pads lose their thickness through normal use, so don’t be alarmed if they’re a lot thinner than they were new. You should look into replacing them when there’s about an eighth of an inch left of the pad. Check the rotor as well. If it has started getting grooves, consider replacing it.

The brake lines should be tight and secure to the frame (or another appropriate location). Keep them away from any sharp edges or objects. Inspect the hose to make sure that it isn’t exhibiting any excessive wear or getting any holes.

Stick to a regular maintenance schedule for replacing the brake fluid. Most manufacturers recommend it be replaced every two years, but you should double-check your service manual and find out the exact recommendations for your machine.

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Measuring the Brake Pads

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That’s it for our top 5 UTV maintenance tips. Do you have any tips you think should have made the list? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more product spotlight, how-to and top 5 videos.