Your UTV has served you well over the year. Even in a year of uncertainty and restrictions, it has been a reliable tool to get you across your land and helped you carry out your work with ease. But, with winter just around the corner, it might be time to put the vehicle away until spring. You can’t just park it in a garage and hope for the best. Various factors can cause damage and degrade your side-by-side vehicle, which could be disastrous for 2021. So, you need to make sure you winterize your UTV as effectively as possible.
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Do you have a safe indoor space for your UTV over winter?
First of all, you need to consider where you are going to keep your vehicle for the winter. Ideally, you want to keep it indoors where it is completely safe from the cold and the worst of the winter weather. Keeping it outdoors means that you run the risk of all sorts of damage and problems. These could be costly to fix come spring, or even impossible to rectify if you aren’t careful. Instead, try and find the ideal space in a secure garage or shed. If you have an outbuilding on your property, make sure that it is up to the job. You can learn more about using your UTV in the snow here.
Once your vehicle is inside its new winter home, there are lots of extra precautions that you can take to prolong the life of your UTV and minimize any risks of damage. Essentially, you want to run through a checklist of features on your side-by-side vehicle and check them off one-by-one. The more you do now, the better your experience in spring.
Those features are:
- the exterior
- the interior
- any storage boxes
- the tires
- the fuel
- the battery
- everything under the hood
Start by giving the exterior and interior of your UTV a good clean.
Cleaning your side-by-side vehicle properly now means less hassle and work when you bring it out of storage. It will be all shiny and ready for new adventures, rather than caked in frozen mud or damaged by moisture. The dirt and grime on the paintwork can seep in and cause damage over the winter. Trapped moisture could also lead to rust and corrosion. This steady progress over the next 3-4 months may result in irreparable damage to the structure of your UTV. So, give the doors, roll cages and anything else a deep clean and dry it off properly.
Clean out any storage boxes too
If you have storage boxes or similar features on your UTV, it is a good idea to clean those out as well. The last thing that you want is something going bad in there for 4 months, attracting vermin, or just creating a terrible smell. You will also want to close up these boxes and remove any leftover feed or grain that may be in there. This could create an inviting home for mice and other rodents over winter. You can add further security against invading animals with a secure tarp over the whole vehicle and by plugging all the ports, exhausts, and other entry points.
Sort out the pressure on your tires
Now is also a good time to check the pressure of your tires and get them inflated to the right level. You can also raise your UTV up on blocks to stop any unnecessary pressure on the tires, which could lead to cracking and other damage. Flat spots on tires aren’t the end of the world, but it is better to remove that risk now.
Get some fuel stabilizer in the gas tank
Fuel stabilizer is a great way of maintaining your vehicle so that it runs more smoothly in the spring. All you need to do here is put it into your gas tank with some premium fuel, run the vehicle for a little while to get through the system, and then you should be fine.
Disconnect the battery
It is better to disconnect and remove the battery then to leave it in the vehicle over the winter. Cold temperatures in the storage area could damage the battery and cause problems starting up the UTV next year. If possible, consider hooking up the battery to a tender as well to help maintain the charge.
Make sure to take a look under the hood for a little cleaning and maintenance
Simple tasks like changing the oil, adding some lubricant to the moving parts, and generally cleaning up old oil can make a big difference. The sooner you remove all the muck and old oil clogging up the system, the better health your UTV will have next year. It is also worth checking the belts and suspension. Don’t be afraid to bring in someone with more experience as a mechanic if you need to.
Finally, don’t forget to secure your vehicle within its new home
There is no point in going to all this trouble to protect your investment only to have it stolen or damaged by the elements. So protect your UTV from beeing stolen when its in storage.
So, make sure that there are no leaks in the roof or cold draughts coming in that could lead to weather damage.
Also, make sure there is a strong lock on the doors so no-one can sneak in and steal your UTV. Local thieves may have some idea of where UTV owners plan to store their vehicles and gear over winter. Don’t make things easier for them. Security lights and alarms could help too.
How to winterize your UTV in 2020
If you can follow all these steps and do your best to clean, maintain, and secure your vehicle, you shouldn’t have too many problems. The more you do now to protect your UTV from the cold and other risks of “hibernation”, the better the outcome next year. Simple steps to clean out the vehicle, deal with the oil and fuel, and to protect key components will make a difference. Then all you need to do is pull your side-by-side out of storage in spring, reconnect the battery, give her a test run and you are ready for another season.
If you’re about to drive in the winter, check out our article Winter Driving Tips.
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