ATVs Maintenance Checklist – Basics !

Nuts and Bolts

Make sure to check all the nuts and bolts on your machine. Keeping everything properly tightened is another crucial part of any proper maintenance To-Do list. This should be done before and after you ride. This can be done pretty quick and easily. All you need to do is give it a walk around paying close attention to every connection, fastener, nut, bolt and clamp you can visually see.
It’s also best to check the ones you can’t easily see from time to time, especially if your an frequent rider. A good time do do this could be during every oil change or any other maintenance tasks that may come up.

Here are just some of the important connections you should check regularly. Axle nuts and pivot bolts are known to work there way loose
Axle nut
– Pivot bolt
– Sprocket bolt
– Lug nuts

Tip 1 : Axle nuts and pivot bolts are known to work there way loose
Tip 2 : I know this probably doesn’t need to be said, but be sure to use a thread locker on all the the nuts and bolts you remove and replace. Such as “Loctite” to ensure they stay tightened and don’t become a nuisance or a major problem in the further down the road. Also be sure to keep an eye on any nuts or bolts that you already know keep coming loose and fix them ASAP!

Lube and Grease

Keeping a smooth riding machine is also as important as a smooth running one. That doesn’t just mean the ride or just the shocks. Keeping all those moving parts and joints properly greased is another very important task that you need to stay on top of. These grease points need to stay properly greased to prevent metal-to-metal contact causing wear and tear on the joints and eventually a break down. This can be costly to fix and easily prevented.

Every grease point on your quad/utv should have a place for  grease gun connection called a Zerk fitting this is where you will be connecting your grease gun. If you don’t have one you should pick one up or borrow one, but really you should have one of your own. You can pick one up a decent one up for twenty to thirty dollars, but they start as low as ten bucks.

All you need to do once you have your grease gun is locate the Zirk fitting and connect the hose, which will have a connector to matches up to that grease point and give it a couple pumps. It shouldn’t need much more than that unless something is busted. That won’t be hard to find, you’ll be able to easily see if there is. Just look for the area its oozing out from.

Sometimes your grease gun connection on the fitting your trying to grease may be broken (locked up) and not allow the grease through. Don’t stress out these can be cheaply replaced. They screw in or out. There is specific wrench you can buy to replace them but I’ve always just used a pair of vice grips or channel locks.

Making sure everything is properly lubed will also help prevent other components from breaking down as well. Not to mention it can help in keeping the vibration down which, going back to nuts and bolts, is your main reason they work loose to begin with.

Your main grease points to check.
 Pivot bolt
– Chain or Axle/Carrier bearings
– A-arm bushings/bearings
– Front hub bearings
– Steering stem bushings
– (etc.)


Don’t run your machine with old gas. If your only a seasonal rider then either run it completely out or drain out the old. Another reason you may have to leave your ride sit for long periods of time may be do to some expensive repairs needed before you can put it back on the trails. Again if that’s the case drain the fuel tank and fuel line and and replace your fuel filter before you fire it up again.

If sitting for periods of time is due to being to busy to ride every weekend then you should use a fuel additive/stabilizer to your tank that prevents the fuel from breaking down over long periods of time. If that happens it can gum up everything from fuel lines and filters to carburetors and injectors.
So be sure to run good fuel through that motor because it helps keep every thing cleaner at the same time or you’ll eventually spit and sputter till she wont start up again or stay running and possibly leaving you stranded.


If your ATV has an electric start? Then you’ll want to be sure that your battery has a proper charge before you take it out on a long ride in the woods. Good luck finding someone to get a jump start from in the middle of nowhere. Having a small trickle charge regularly to your battery will ensure you always have a good charge every time you take it out.

Almost everyone should have a battery charger, especially if you have an atv, utv, riding mower, etc. If not the you should definitely pick one up.



Keep it clean

Its the best time ever gettin’ it dirty, but now its time to clean up your mess! Its always best to wash or at least spray off your machine after a good days ride rather than to wait till its becomes so hard to get off you need a chisel. This could also effect your controls as well. The best way to do this is to start off with a spray to get the dirt and mud to start to loosen up. Try to get as much of the mud off as you can to start with.

Then take a sponge, rag or brush and go over the entire machine especially around your controls, brake, clutch, any signal switches and so on. Now its time to rinse it off thoroughly with more pressure, a pressure washer is ideal to use for your entire wash if you have one. Now the time when you can get those tires and under carriage, also don’t forget that radiator.

Now its time to dry off everything using a dry towel. Go over the entire machine making sure to get all those metal parts to prevent rust. Now after a good washing and scrubbing, be sure you go over all your connections and fasteners to make sure you didn’t knock anything loose during the wash or ride. This is the perfect time to check those nuts and bolts as well. To keep your metal connections and parts rust free you should spray them with some W-D or silicone spray. Not your chain though.

Tip: Never use W-D 40 or anything other than proper chain grease on your chain. W-D removes grease, that’s what you don’t want to do. Don’t get me wrong, W-D is great stuff and has its purpose, but your chain is definitely not one of them.

Keeping the Radiator cleaned out is essential to preventing your motor from overheating.  Its very important to keep the air flowing thru the radiator.  If you have been riding those sloppy, muddy trails. Mud bogging and plowing your way through the trenches, than you need to make sure your radiator doesn’t get clogged up with all that debris. This can be a major problem if your motor keeps overheating.

If you don’t keep that motor running cool and its constantly overheating, eventually it wont be running at all! Its so easy to keep the radiator free of mud build up and any debris. A pressure washer or just a simple garden hose can be used to spray it out, keeping your motor running as cool as it should be. You should do this every time you ride those nasty trails and also every time you spray off your atv or utv.

Keep plastics protected

Using a plastic protectant or conditioner will not only keep your machine looking good but also prolong the life of these components.
Cold temperatures, extreme heat and direct sunlight can have damaging effects to all of these parts.

The plastic will begin to fade, dry out and become more brittle. When this happens your plastic will be more likely to crack and , or break. Using a good protectant/conditioner will keep these parts more pliable when bumping in to any obstacles, meaning they will absorb or bend more before they would otherwise crack and break.

Maintaining all the plastic components also extends the life of the entire machine, keeping its value should you ever want to sell or trade in.

Tip 1: Make sure all the areas you are thoroughly washed/clean and dry before applying protectant.
Tip 2: You should use a protectant that provides UV protection.

Check the Air Filter
Clean your quad’s air filter regularly. When the air filter is dirty, dirt particles start getting sucked into the engine. This will cause a loss in horsepower and , over time, serious damage to the engine.
Think of it like this. After a good days ride if your filthy, than so is your air filter.

Not only will this prolong the life of your motor. It will also keep other internal components clean, run smoother, get better gas millage, maintain horse power and the over all performance of your machine.

Check Oil
Check and Change the oil when necessary. Oil is the blood to the heart of your machine! Oh yeah, its gettin’ deep now! Like your air filter, over time, dirt, debris, and metal shavings from the engine wear will start to collect and build up after a while, not to mention water. Keeping a good eye on both of these should be at the top of your list when it comes to maintaining your machine.

If your an everyday rider or just tear it up when you get the chance, then you should be checking and changing that oil more often than not! Especially if you love muddin’ and going through those deep creeks.
Also, if you live in an area that has changes in climate, you want to make sure you keep the proper weight oil in your motor. You can check the manufacturers recommendations or the dealer to find out what’s best for your motor.


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