Owning a UTV is exciting, and it can help take any adventure or workday to the next level. You’ll be able to go places you’ve never been able to before, and you’ll easily navigate terrain that could have stopped you previously.
But as with any vehicle, UTV care needs to be included in your daily routine or trip planning procedures to ensure you travel safely. Do you know what it takes to keep a UTV running?
Read on for ten essential UTV maintenance tips that can help keep your vehicle running smoothly and help you arrive safely at the end of every trip.
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10 Essential UTV Maintenance Tips
Purchasing a UTV is a sizeable financial investment, and caring for your UTV should be at the top of your list. With proper care and regular maintenance, you can extend the life of your UTV and ensure it’s safe year after year.
A little time checking in with your vehicle regularly can save you hours or more of time stuck in the backcountry. These ten essential UTV maintenance tips will help you stay safe and reduce your risk of a costly or urgent repair.
1 . Ride Intelligently
It may seem obvious, but you need to be cautious and practice safe driving anytime you ride a new vehicle. UTV safety is essential not only for the riders but for the vehicle as well. Know your vehicle’s limits and your own to make sure you arrive home safely at the end of every trip.
Accidents can result in costly medical bills, repair bills and could increase your insurance. Be smart, wear a helmet and other protective gear, and don’t ride above your skill level. Learning common UTV riding mistakes can help you remember what steps you should be taking before every ride.
2. Follow Your UTV Break-in Procedures
Any new vehicle needs a little time to get used to operating to get the fluids flowing in the right places, break-in the belts, and ensure everything works correctly. When done correctly, the UTV will function as advertised and help you avoid a frustrating and embarrassing trip back to the dealer.
3. Regular Oil Checks and Changes
You wouldn’t neglect your daily driving vehicle oil, so why would you neglect your UTV? The oil keeps the machine running, so you must check it regularly and follow your owner’s manual to ensure the recommended type and amount of oil used. Unlike your daily driver, your UTV takes less oil, so it’s an inexpensive but essential thing you can check every time you fill the gas tank.
4. Wash Your UTV
For many, a dirty UTV is a symbol of a job well done or an adventurous outing, but a filthy UTV can be dangerous. Dirt, mud, and other substances trap moisture against the surface of your vehicle, which can cause rust or other buildups that could mean trouble down the road. Dirt and mud can also affect engine performance, clog air filters, and more, so it’s best to wash your UTV after every outing.
5. Keep Your Air Filter Clean
Your engine needs these things to work properly: air, gas, and a spark. Gas goes into the system through the injection system, where it mixes with air and travels to the cylinder for ignition by the spark.
Without good, clean air, your engine won’t work correctly. After a dirty or dusty ride, check your air filter and make sure it’s clean enough to function. It’s a good idea to check your filter during the winter before starting as some small critters like to nest in the filters.
6. Check the Belt
If your transmission operates with a belt, it’s a good idea to check it regularly to make sure it’s in good shape. Belts can become stretched or worn over time, especially if your UTV works hard or frequently gets wet. Many worn belts will start to emit a burning rubber smell, but it’s a good idea to address any issues before they get to that point.
7. Consider Gas Additives
Old gas breaks down over time, and if you store your UTV for a season, it can be bad news for the vehicle. As gas breaks down, it can clog up your fuel lines and the vents and ports for the fuel injectors, which could cause a system failure. A gas additive can help you store your UTV properly and prevent costly trips to the mechanic.
8. Check the Boots, Nuts, and Bolts
It’s a good idea to take a few moments to tighten and check every nut and bolt on the machine before you take your UTV out for a ride. You should also take some time to inspect the rubber “boots” on the driveshafts, air intakes, and other parts, grease things up, and take as many preventative measures as possible.
9. Maintain Tire Pressures
Your UTV’s tires are designed to grip the terrain and help you ride in comfort across any surface. When the seasons’ change and temperatures fluctuate, your tire pressure will change. It’s a good idea to check and maintain before each trip.
10. Checking Coolant Levels
Most UTVs require coolant for the radiator systems, so keeping the fluid at optimal levels will help the engine run smoothly. Check fluid levels before you leave, look over the hoses, and check for signs of dirt or overheating.
Where to Start
If you don’t have any experience working on a UTV, it may be a good idea to take it to a mechanic to get it in optimal shape before taking on maintenance yourself. You can then talk with your mechanic or do a web search to fill in any gaps you may have in your mechanical understanding.
Most of these UTV maintenance tips should be done regularly and are essentially a quick check before every ride. So, don’t be afraid to take some of these things on yourself! For more informative articles about UTV ownership and care, check out our blog.