How to Maintain Fluids In Your ATV
Properly maintaining your ATV fluids determines whether you have a great ride, avoid wasting money on unnecessary repairs, and keep your ATV for a long time. You should routinely check each fluid listed in this article (most as part of every pre-ride inspection) and uphold the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for ATV and UTV fluids.
The first and most obvious of necessary ATV fluids is fuel. When you don’t have it, the vehicle won’t even move. Can’t miss that.
You need to be prepared to always have as much fuel as you need, whether by planning to hit the station at the appropriate times or carrying extra gasoline on long trips. When carrying gasoline, make sure to buy as much as you’ll need but to not carry more than you’re prepared to adequately store.
You also want to make sure you’re buying the right fuel for your vehicle. Read the owner’s manual. Most ATVs and UTVs run optimally on plain old unleaded gasoline, but some have more specific requirements like higher octane levels. You may also need higher octane fuel to go with certain upgrades you’ve made. Read the manuals that come with any aftermarket upgrades you purchase to make sure they’re installed and maintained correctly.
Your vehicle may have come with a built-in fuel gauge. Excellent! If it didn’t, make your life easier by purchasing one. It’s always better to be informed rather than to guess or have to do complicated math that isn’t necessary.
This one’s a little less visible but no less important. Your engine can’t run without the lubrication of engine oil, and having clean, quality engine oil helps it run like you want it to and without overheating, corrosion, or rust.
When you discover that your engine oil is low, don’t just fill ‘er back up. Go ahead and do an oil and oil filter change too. This should happen once a year, or more often if you ride your vehicle hard.
Make sure to read the ATV fluids specifications in your owner’s manual to make sure you’re using the right oil for your machine.
Running out of coolant will stop you in your tracks with hissing and white smoke, and possibly costly engine repair. This ranks coolant right up there among necessary ATV and UTV fluids. Check your coolant before every ride, and make sure it is always full. Replace the coolant on a five year interval.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re using the right ATV antifreeze mixture for your vehicle. Check the owner’s manual to purchase the one it needs.
If you live in a hot climate, you might want to invest in some aftermarket cooling options such as fans and radiator caps with thermometers and a boil point raise to give your vehicle extra protection. When it’s super hot out, no coolant is enough by itself.
ATV brake fluid level and quality determines how well your brakes work. Need we say more?
Make sure to regularly check your brake fluid level and to change the brake fluid as specified in the owner’s manual. If you change or repair your brake lines, you will also need to be collecting brake fluid and bleeding your brake lines. You may not feel comfortable doing this yourself. If so, that’s fine. You can just take the vehicle to a mechanic to handle that.
Your transmission needs oil too. It may go by many different names, transmission fluid, gearbox oil, or gear case oil, but whatever the name, ATV gear oil lubricates the gear train so it moves smoothly and keeps it from corroding.
Some vehicles have the transmission built into the engine, so they use engine oil instead of a separate gear oil. If so, then you can skip this step unless you buy another vehicle with a separate transmission.
Otherwise, you’ll need to check your ATV transmission fluid during every pre-ride inspection. Make sure it’s full. If it’s time for a change or you notice the fluid is cloudy or too dark, change it.