Though most ranchers no longer rely on horses to do their chores with, the old saying “rode hard and put away wet” often still applies. Producers often use their ATVs for all sorts of jobs, regardless of the weather. The 4-wheeler does the jobs that a pickup can’t. It crosses rocky ravines, muddy ditches and takes you anywhere you need to go. The problem comes when we don’t take our trusted steed where it needs to go – the repair shop.
Many aspects of maintaining an ATV are simple. It just takes a little bit of time and thoroughness to make sure your ATV will be in top shape the next time you need it. It is easy to take care of the big obvious things, like when a tire needs replaced, but we often fail to notice small things that can be much more costly in the long run. For instance, many service professionals recommend a thorough inspection after every operation.
Wayne Crosby, owner of LSK Suzuki in Lebanon, Mo., said it is important to check the rubber boots over the CV joints frequently. “Running just a few hours can ruin the CV or U joints,” Wayne said. “It only takes a little bit of dust or moisture to ruin the system.”
Quentin Grubbs, the Service Manager at Freedom Powersports in Rogers, Ark., points out that the rubber boots are relatively cheap and simple to replace, whereas the joints they protect are quite pricey. Quentin also recommended checking the air filter on a regular basis as well. Especially when driving in dusty or weedy terrain, he said it is a good idea to check the filter and the box that houses it after every ride.
A dirty air filter or a cracked rubber boot are examples of little things that don’t seem to immediately hurt the performance of the ATV, but can affect its overall health in the long run. According to Wayne, battery life is another problem waiting to happen.
An ATV needs to run 20-30 minutes to recharge its battery after each start. It will keep starting just fine for a long time, but each time the battery is worked without being fully recharged, it is weakened. When a battery gets too low, even though the ATV will still operate, it starts breaking itself down by sulfating. That is why Wayne recommended investing in a float charger. Hooking a float charger to your battery whenever the ATV is not being used frequently will keep the battery in top shape so it is ready when you need it.
A weak battery might leave you stranded on the back 40, a clogged air cleaner will hurt the efficiency of the engine, a cracked or torn rubber boot can quickly lead to the destruction of a costly CV joint, and a loose or worn drive chain will eventually destroy sprockets.
It is plain to see that regular checks and maintenance save time and money in the long run. If you are unsure about how to maintain your ride, or if you don’t know what to look for, don’t hesitate to take it to a professional. ATVs are designed for hard work and rough terrain. Like any good work horse, a little regular care and maintenance will be rewarded with years of loyalty and service.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here