6 Ways to Prepare Your ATV for Desert Season



It’s that time of year again. The crisp smells of autumn, the trees shedding their summer green for hues of gold and crimson; and for those of us who love to shred sand, it’s time to pull that dusty ATV out from its spot in the garage, or perhaps (dare I say it) from its place under the tarp in the side yard (eek); and get ready for the greatest season of them all for those of us who make our home in the southwest… desert season.

But before you head out to your favorite riding destination, there are several basic tasks you will want to complete to ensure you don’t spend your first trip back to the sand lamenting how your machine isn’t running as smoothly as you remembered; or even worse, stuck at camp playing mechanic, trying to fix a broken quad during your limited amount of play time.

Here are a few tips for simple maintenance and preparation to ensure your ATV is running as fast and strong as it was when you hopped off of it.

1) Check Your Fuel:

An ATV’s fuel system is one of the 3 key components you need to make your internal combustion engine work. The other two are air and fire, or spark.

If the fuel is old or gets water in it you could have a poor running engine, or worse, a no running engine.

It may all seem very easy; you go to the gas station and get some gas in a can, take it home and top off the quad. Right?

Basically yes, that’s it. But there really is a lot more to it than just fillin’ her up, especially if your ATV has been sitting for any length of time.

Here are some do it yourself fuel maintenance tips for your ATV that will help you keep it in top shape for riding season, or work if that’s what you do with your quad.

2) Kick the Tires:

Your tires are your only connection to the ground. They not only allow your ATV to roll, they can also allow it to slide, which is important when riding offroad.

Tire pressure needs to be adjusted to match the conditions you will be riding in. The drier the sand, the lower you will want to set your tire pressure. Anyone who’s spent any significant amount of time in the dunes will tell you that sand conditions shift and change every day.

What may have been the right pressure settings for your tires in March may not be right after a long dry summer in October. Best to check the weather forecast (and maybe how much rain the area you will be riding in received over the summer) and make your determinations accordingly.

Read more about ATV tire tips for sand before you head out to the dunes.

3) Clean Your Air Filter:

Your quad won’t run without a good supply of clean air. When you ride in the sand dunes it’s even more important because sand gets into everything.

In addition to being a potential hazard the accumulation of dirt and grime within your intake system robs you of horsepower that would be better spent on making the wheels spin really, really fast.

Taking a few minutes to remove and clean your air filter and air box at the beginning of a new season will go a long way to allowing your quad’s motor to reach its’ maximum potential.

Find out more about ATV air filter maintenance. You and your quad will be better for it.

4) Chain Reaction:

Your drive chain is what take power from the transmission and sends it to the rear wheel. It is just like the chain on a bicycle except it is a little thicker and stronger.

It also takes a lot more stress and is usually subjected to a lot more abuse. That’s why it’s important to maintain your drive chain more than you would on your bicycle. If your chain fails while your out in the middle of the desert or miles into a wooded trail it could be a long trip back.

I’ve put together some tips for ATV drive chain maintenance that might help you get a few extra seasons out of your chain.

5) Don’t Forget the Spark:

To check your spark plug (s) and oil levels before any and every trip. You won’t necessarily need to replace these at the start of every season. It all depends how much use your ride has endured since last replacement. If you’ve gone more than a full season, chances are your ATV could do with a few fresh quarts of oil and a new spark plug or two.

6) Don’t Trust, Do Test:

The only way to KNOW for certain your ATV is ready to go is to fire that sucker up and take a few test laps. Even if there were no issues the last time you rode, it’s a good idea to fire up your machine and take a quick little test ride to ensure everything’s working properly.

If your quad has a mechanical issue which needs to be dealt with, I PROMISE you it’s better to figure it out at home in your (relatively) clean garage surrounded by your tools than fixing it out on the trail when all your buddies are revved up and waiting to go ride. Fire it up at home and have that piece of mind that when she rolls off the trailer, your baby will be ready to go.

So there you have it, these few simple TLC chores before the season begins will have you ready to hit the trail with a ride ready to purr and growl. Often times a few hours of preemptive maintenance will save you a disappointing opening salvo to the desert season. It’s almost September now, so ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

Now..Be careful out there!!!

Credit: 4wheeldrive.com

For more information about bikes, atvs, parts, accessories, or maintenance tips please see our sponsor at: PartsPitStop.com .

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