Common UTV Problems and How To Fix Them In The Field
Breakdowns happen. The first thing to do is prevent common UTV problems, as much as possible. The second thing to do is fix them so you aren’t stranded who knows where. This post will cover how to fix common UTV problems in the field, no matter what.
You’re Stuck and Your Winch Doesn’t Work
Maybe you neglected to buy a winch or replace it. Or maybe as the header says, you have one and it’s just acting crazy. Either way, you need a winch and you don’t have one and there’s no one around to help. What can you do?
Fix My UTV – Make a Redneck Winch
If you have a rope (even the one that came with your malfunctioning winch) and a tree or anything sturdy to tie the rope to, you can make a “winch.”
Loop part of the rope through one of the wheels on the side of the UTV you want your UTV to move toward, or whichever wheel gets power and turns when you use the gas.
Make sure the rope isn’t tangling with your brake calipers.
Tie the rope to a tree or something else sturdy that is as close to straight in line with the UTV as you can get.
If you have enough rope to tie it to both wheels on that side, you can get more pull, and you’ll be out faster.
Hit the gas gingerly. The rope will wind around the tire and start pulling the UTV toward the tree.
Don’t be surprised if the rope slips. This happens frequently. It’s worse if your tree is at an angle from your UTV. Just make sure the rope hasn’t caught on anything that’ll get damaged and go back to winching. Keep going slowly until you’re pulled out.
So you’re better prepared next time, purchase a winch or purchase a better winch. Also make sure that you properly maintain it. You know, things can still happen, but you’ll make it much harder for them to do so and you’ll have to do fewer UTV fixes on the trail.
Your Axle Broke
As with many UTV problems, almost every rider will experience a broken axle at some point. It’s alarming because not only do you have a repair to deal with, but your axle is dangling around under your UTV. If this happens to you and you’re unprepared, you have some options.
Fix My UTV – Remove or Splint the Axle
To remove the axle:
- Raise your UTV, hopefully with a jack.
- Take off a wheel.
- Disconnect the shock.
- Disconnect the lower A-arm at the hub.
- Remove the axle.
- Attach the outer CV to the hub assembly to keep it intact.
- If your axle seals the gearcase (which may be the case with older machines), leave the inner CV in place to keep it sealed.
Your UTV will still run this way, just not as well, so you can limp back to your trailer or truck.
To splint the axle:
- Check where it is broken. If it broke anywhere but the joint, you can splint it.
- Find a wrench or stick that is long and strong enough for the job.
- Line the wrench or stick up with the broken part of the axle and attach it to the axles with a lot of duct tape (always bring duct tape for miscellaneous mobile UTV repair).
- Drive carefully back to the truck or trailer so you don’t knock the splint loose.
The better your axles, the less likely they’ll break on you. So, replace your OEM axles with high quality aftermarket ones like Rhino 2.0 axles that are stronger and literally bigger.
Your Tire’s Flat and You Don’t Have a Spare
Your tire doesn’t feel right, and you discover it’s got that melting into the ground look to it. If you had a spare, you could switch it.
Fix My UTV – Tire Plug Kit
If you had the foresight to bring a tire plug kit, or someone else has one, you can use it to repair your tire enough to get you back to your trailer or truck.
To use a tire plug kit:
- Find the leak. You can make it easier by using the pump to give your tire some pressure and spraying soapy water(that you can make from soap and water in your gear kit) on the tire. It will bubble where the air is coming out.
- Remove the object that punctured your tire.
- Ream the hole with the T-handle in your plug kit.
- Take your insertion tool and thread a plug through the eyelet.
- Apply a generous amount of tire sealing cement to the plug and the hole in the tire.
- Stick the plug into the hole until around an inch of it is visible outside the tire. You can remove the insertion tool by pulling straight out.
- Wipe away any excess sealing cement.
- Wait five minutes.
- Trim the plug.
- Add air to the tire and make sure it isn’t still leaking.
Make sure you bring a spare tire with you next time. You may not be able to repair your tire if the leak is too bad or the tire has lost its beading.
You Lost Your Bead
Yes, that’s next. If your tire loosens from the rim, you’ve got debeading and it strands you unless you can fix it.
Fix My UTV - Reseat
To properly fix it, you’ll need a ton of tools that no one would bring with them on the trail, even for common UTV problems repair.
To perform this SxS repair well enough to get you back to your truck or trailer, you’ll need a ratchet strap and air compressor, and ideally soapy water and a crowbar.
- Put your tire back on the rim. This is where you might need the crowbar.
- Clean both the bead and the rim.
- Lubricate them with the soapy water.
- Fasten your tire to the rim with the ratchet strap.
- Fill the tire with air until the bead is reseated.
- Remove the ratchet strap.
You can keep this from happening by purchasing beadlock wheels. Most wheels rely on air pressure to keep the bead fastened. These employ a locking ring.