Fall is the numero uno perfect time for hitting the trails; the temperature is just right, the leaves are starting to change, and paths are ready for riding. If you’re thinking of hopping on your ATV this weekend, here are a few tips to make sure your ride is trail-ready…
Take your time. Even though you take a quick walk around to make sure everything is copacetic each time you ride, this type of “first of the season” ATV check is a bit more in depth:
- Plastics: Make sure all of the snaps and body screws are tight and all of your plastics are secure. This can prevent damage to expensive body plastics during a rough ride; it will also protect all your baby’s sensitive parts from debris, dirt, and limb snap back.
- Throttle: Your throttle should move nice and easy. Resistance can be normal during the first few pulls, especially if you haven’t rode in a while. To loosen it up, spray some lube into the cable and work the throttle to help lubricate the system.
- Brakes: Sit on that puppy and work the brakes a bit. Over time, brake fluid can settle and collect an air pocket. Pump the hand and foot brake until you feel good resistance. Also, now is a good time to check your brake pads to make sure there is still some meat left on those puppies.
- Gas: If you haven’t ridden in a while, you need to check the gas to make sure it is still “fresh.” Additives in gas like ethanol can degrade very quickly, usually about 3 weeks. Open the cap and take a whiff, if it smells like paint thinner – dump and replace.
- Electric: Test your battery and lights. When you store your ATV, it’s recommended you use a trickle charger or battery tender. If you didn’t your battery may have “gone to a better place.” Use a multimeter to check to make sure you have 12V of power before trying to start your ATV.
- Oil: Oil settles into the crank during storage and can cause a false level reading, so be sure the check your oil after you are able to start your ATV and warm it up. Pop the dipstick, wipe it clean and stick it back into its home. Remove the dip again and take a look at your level. If you need to add a touch of oil, check your owner’s manual for the correct type and weight.
You gear takes beating, so if you are in need of some new gloves, helmets, or body guards, now is the time to grab some. Keep in mind motocross helmets are only rated as ride ready for 3 years, which means you may need to replace yours. KillerMotorSports.com offers a wide selection on ATV gear and accessories, including helmets and gloves.
- Helmet: First off, make sure the old melon protector still fits. Put it on and give it a shake. If there is a lot of play, replace it. The protective foam in helmets degrades over time and excessive use. This can cause it to feel loose. When it doubt, swap it out.
- Gloves: Ratty old glove won’t protect your hands from branch impact or falls. Grab some new gloves if yours have seen better days.
- Boots: Your boots protect your sensitive shins. Don’t play games with your riding boots, if they are cracking, excessively worn, or seem a bit to comfy – replace them.
- Body Guards: Chest plates should fit snug when they are properly adjusted. If your plates are cracked anywhere, they should be swapped out for shiny new ones.
If you made it through these checks and everything is looking good, you are officially ready to conquer the trails. Remember to keep the rubber side down and ride safe!