Why You Need to Check the Bolts on Your UTV and How to Do It

It might sound like too much of a hassle at first. You may be thinking, “Wait, I’ve got to test all my UTV bolts and nuts every few rides or check them every ride?” We know you probably are because most people only check theirs once a year. But look at it this way, you can go over your UTV with a wrench and ride confidently, or you can on the trail and hear an unexplained noise or just suddenly lose a part. When you’ve got to troubleshoot the problem or replace a costly part, you’ll be wishing you’d done your bolt test. This post will tell you how to check bolts on UTVs.

pre-ride check utv.jpg

The Sounds of Loose Bolts

When you’re on the trail or working with your UTV, there are several noises you might hear that alert you that you went just a bit too long without checking your side by side bolts.

A clunk tells you your shock mount bolt is about to fail.

Rattling occurs in your A-arms while they’re in use.

Thumping is the sound of loose lug nuts letting your wheels move around too much.

You don’t want to hear any of these sounds while you’re on a ride. But if you do, at least you will know what to fix. Make sure you brought a wrench, and some spare UTV bolts and screws if you lose one before you get a chance to fix it.

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How Often to Check Bolts on Side By Side

We recommend you take a wrench and see if all the bolts you can access on your UTV have loosened at least every few rides. It’d be best to do it more often if you can make yourself do it.

You should give your bolts a visual inspection before and after every ride to make sure one isn’t visibly loose or missing.

Bolts are what is literally holding your machine and all its working parts together, and all the vibrations and temperature changes have a way of loosening bolts.

Which Bolts to Check

As many as you can get to without having to remove something! A-arm and shock mounting bolts are the ones that give people the most trouble, so pay particular attention to them. Lug nuts are crucial too. They are what’s holding your wheels on after all! Prioritize them when doing a bolt check. Also be sure to check them during your ride after a wheel change or upgrade because they are notorious for needing to be retightened after their first ride.

UTV Bolts Keep Breaking

It is extremely frustrating to try to do the wise thing and feel thwarted by repeated breaking bolts. You may be over torquing them. The bolts may simply suck. Or the bolts may be the wrong size.

The Trouble with Nyloc Nuts

Nyloc nuts will give you problems if you don’t know what to do with them. If you find yourself wondering why UTV bolts keep coming loose, this is probably why.

These nuts go to your precious shock mount bolts, and they have a nylon collar that wears out easily. Their purpose is to fit to the bolt for a tighter grip. That’s just how important these bolts are. And it’s perfect when the nuts are in good shape.

You need to do more than tighten these bolts. They should be replaced every single time you remove them. Thankfully, they’re cheap. You might also want to recheck them, particularly if you’ve had them a while, during your ride to make sure they didn’t get damaged and are working themselves loose if you had to tighten them that day. Over tightening can damage the nylon collar.

So, be prepared that perfection is unlikely with Nyloc nuts, be alert to clunking sounds, and bring spare Nyloc nuts on your rides.

Takeaways

Checking bolts is about doing your best to protect your machine, wallet, and your safety. It doesn’t take that long, and it takes much less time, headache, and cost than the repairs would. The potential accidents are disastrous. So, check bolts on SxSs regularly, replace Nyloc nuts every time you take them off, recheck them after you’ve had to tighten them, and have a great ride!

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