Spring Check Up

The ice is melted and the frost is almost out of the ground.  ATV season is almost here.
Before we go we want to go over our ATV. Let’s take the cover off and do a good walk around visual inspection for anything obvious:

  • Signs of oil, fuel or coolant under the ATV
  • Signs of rodents nesting in the bike
  • Flat tires
  • Broken lights and so on

Remember that if there were any rodents found living in your ATV over the winter you must check all wiring harnesses for damage. Rodents seem to like chewing on the wire insulation and exposing the bare wires. Bare wires can cause blown fuses and break downs.

Now that there are no obvious signs of rodent life in our ATV lets do our pre-start inspection:

  • Change the engine oil and filter using the proper grade and blend. Consult your owner’s manual for grade and blend of oil. ( Grade meaning 10W30, lOW 40, and blend meaning Petroleum blend oil or Synthetic blend oil)
  • Grease all areas that have grease fittings. Use water repellant high temperature type grease.
  • Check coolant strength for freezing / boiling point protection, level and any signs of contamination.
  • Check the air filter and air filter case for signs of rodent life. Take the air filter out so it can be cleaned and reoiled or replaced if needed. Clean the air filter box and
    make sure the drain is clean and free of dirt so the air box can be drained if needed.
  • Check both front and rear differential fluid levels and top up if needed. Make sure the correct fluid is used, refer to the owner’s manual for fluid grade and blend.
  • Check tire condition; look for weather cracks, cuts from sharp objects and wear.
  • Check the tire pressures and set to specification.
  • Remove the spark plug to inspect the spark plug for wear and excessive carbon build up, check the ignition wire for any signs of damage and replace as needed.
    • While the spark plug is out it is a good idea to put a teaspoon of clean engine oil into the cylinder and crank the engine over by hand to lubricate the cylinder walls
      before the initial start up. Reinstall and torque the spark plug to proper specification.
  • Pull on the brake and clutch levers, push on the throttle lever to make sure they move freely and are not binding. Make sure that the brake lever does not move
    right to the handle bars. If it does a further brake inspection is needed.
  • If the battery minder was on all winter then the battery should be fully charged, if it wasn’t then make sure your battery is charged up and all battery cables are tight
    and clean
  • If fuel stabilizer was used then you should be good to go, if not then fresh fuel should be put into the fuel tank and the fuel bowl may have to cleaned so the
    gummy fuel can be removed.
  • Now we can start the engine. Do this in a well ventilated area, preferably outside.

The exhaust will smoke a bit due to the oil put into the cylinder to lubricate the cylinder walls.

  • Once the engine is running and up to normal operating temperature check that all lights operate properly, check for any fluid leaks, and you should wait for the
    electric fan to come on.
  • A short quick ride around the yard may be a good idea to listen for any abnormal noises, now is the time to find any concerns.
Remember have fun and practice safe and responsibly riding.