Want to get the most fun possible out of your UTV? Keeping it up and running is step one, so learning to do basic UTV repair and maintenance can be a key part of ownership.
If you’ve never been particularly handy or mechanically minded, there are still tasks you can and should take on yourself. Saving money by handling some of these items is a typical motivation for learning to do them. Understanding when to turn the wrench over to your mechanic, though, can save you money and heartache in the end as well.
Let’s look through why you might DIY some repair work and when it’s time to call in the professionals.
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DIY vs. Mechanic for UTV Repair
Learning to take care of your machine is a good idea, if only because you might have to fix something on the fly while on the trail. But you need to know your limits, whether those be time or comfort with mechanical work.
Considering the long-term costs of owning a UTV, DIY UTV repair can mean big money savings. And that means more money for buying add-ons and modifications!
Assess honestly whether you have the skills and knowledge to do the work. Much of what can be done is easily learned with the help of videos and a user or repair manual. If you’ve ever done work on a car, chances are you can handle basic items for a UTV as well.
Keep in mind that some maintenance items are part of your warranty requirements, like the first service. You can do them yourself, but keep all the documentation to show it was done. That first time in the shop might be worth investing in having a mechanic for warranty reasons.
If you start to feel in over your head, schedule time at your dealer or with a repair shop to make sure the work is done properly and to free up your time.
DIY Tools List
A key consideration is whether you have the space to do the work and the right tools to do it. Many of the tools you’d use to work on a UTV are the same as you might use for a car, motorcycle, or bicycle, so you might already have a few. Consider having the following at a minimum if you plan to do your own maintenance:
- Impact wrench
- Bead breaker – mount tires
- Air compressor
- Wrenches – Allen, torque, adjustable
- Ratchet wrench – tight spots
- Tire irons
- Tire pressure gauge – one for low-pressure tires
Easy DIY Tasks
Most of the easy items you can handle revolve more around maintenance than repair. The goal here is to keep things running as smoothly as possible and avoid frantic searches for “Polaris UTV repair near me”.
These tasks mostly involve inspecting, cleaning, and keeping items to correct levels. If you’ve never done things like checking a belt before, it’s easily learned and worth putting on your DIY list.
Most of these involve little more than a quick eyeball. They should be something you get in the habit of running through every time you take your vehicle out as they can be safety concerns.
- Fluid levels – coolant, brake fluid, oil, fuel
- Battery charge level
- Lights – headlamps and brake lights
- Lines and fittings
- Radiator cap
- Tire tread
- Brakes – pad thickness, fluid level, lines
Anything that doesn’t look right during an inspection should definitely be put to rights before you go out. Along with that, you should make any necessary adjustments to the following:
- Tightening nuts and bolts
- Tire pressure
- Fluid levels
Keeping your UTV clean might seem like a luxury, but it can help keep the body in good condition over time. You should also be checking to see if any of these items need to be cleaned before you take off.
- Air filter
- Fuel filter
More Complex DIY
Repair and maintenance items start to get more complex when you have to do more than just look at something. Changing fluids and other items aren’t harder, necessarily, but they do require more time, effort, and know-how.
Oil changes involve changing the filter and fluid and work very similarly to the way it’s done in a car. You’ll need two to three quarts of oil, which is less than you’d use in a car so don’t overdo it.
Coolant flush and change will take an hour or two. You’ll need about two quarts to top it back up.
Brake fluid should be flushed and replaced in the front and rear brakes, as well as the clutch. Don’t mix fluid types when you go to add the new stuff.
Replacing items takes a bit more knowledge and finesse, but can be done by most people. With all of these, the harder you drive your UTV, the more often they need to be done.
Spark plugs should be done per the manual’s schedule. If you run across a plug that has corroded, you have a bigger problem that might require a mechanic. You’ll need a feeler gauge to get the gap right for this repair.
Check your belt regularly for proper tension and wear like glazing and cracking. When you notice any of that, replace the belt. You want to do it before it fails.
When you replace your brake pads, you should also bleed the brake system and replace the fluid. It’s not a difficult project, but some drivers like to leave it to the professionals for safety reasons.
Jobs for Your Mechanic
Anytime the words “replace” or “rebuild” start to enter the equation, it might be time to involve a mechanic. An experienced mechanic can finish the job much faster than you and should have all the tools needed to do the work.
You can learn to do any of these yourself if you feel so inclined. But a quick look at jobs that might be more appropriate for a mechanic might include:
- Top-end rebuild
- Carb overhaul
- Clutch replacement
- Shock rebuild
- Water pump seal replacement
- CV boot and/or joint replacement
- Chain and sprockets replacement
- Change tires
More On UTV Maintenance
Taking care of your UTV means years of enjoyment and reduced risk of problems out on the trail. The basic UTV repair types discussed in this article should be things you can tackle before you have to start searching for “UTV repair near me”. Learning how to do basic UTV repairs can save you headaches when you ride and money as well.
Check out our other articles about UTV maintenance and repair for more tips on taking care of your vehicle.