Warmer temperatures build excitement in the air. Spring is the perfect time to get a tune-up on your UTV. Performing a thorough tune-up on your UTV will make daily maintenance more manageable and keep it working through whatever jobs or activities you throw its way. Keeping your UTV updated will also keep you and other riders safe.
Before You Jump In
Before learning how to get your UTV ready for summer, there are some things you should know ahead of time. These will ensure you are as efficient and productive as possible while preparing your UTV.
While winter can seem endless and summer may like a lifetime away, it is important to get a jumpstart on your spring tune-up, even before the weather gets nice. Choose a nice day about three or four weeks before you plan to start using your UTV to begin your tune-up preparations. You might need to order parts, so starting early will give you plenty of time to get all the projects done and ensure your UTV is ready for whatever summer holds.
Have Parts Ready
If you recognize certain signs of wear at the end of the season, it may be a good idea to go ahead and order any parts so you’re ready when the warmer weather hits. Having a variety of parts ready before it is time for your UTV’s tune-up can make the process go much more smoothly and quickly. Some parts to always have on hand include:
- Spare tires
- Spark plugs
- Air filters
- Fuel filters
- Engine oil
- Drive belts
Know Your Limits
Tackling maintenance tasks if you don’t feel totally comfortable doing so can be dangerous and counterproductive to your goal of getting your UTV ready for spring and summer. Simple tasks may be easy for you to complete on your own, but if your UTV needs an extra level of maintenance, you may need to bring in some reinforcements.
Dealerships and local shops will often provide maintenance assistance to ensure you have the support you need to get your UTV in its best and safest condition.
What Maintenance Does a UTV Need?
Maintaining your UTV on a regular basis requires some consistent updates. Here are 12 steps to keep on your UTV maintenance checklist:
1. Deep Clean Your UTV
Begin with the outside of your UTV and scrub it from top to bottom. Sometimes, UTVs develop a lot of dirt and dust buildup from sitting inside through the winter months, and you don’t want that dirt getting somewhere that could cause damage to your UTV.
Make sure to dig deep in open areas of the UTV to get rid of any buildup that has occurred. Cleaning your UTV as the first step in the maintenance process will help you notice any issues that could have been hiding under the dust and dirt.
Pay special attention to the spark arrester and the radiator — if they are not cleaned out properly, it could prevent your UTV from operating at its peak.
2. Winter Additions
If you added parts, like upper doors and snow-clearing add-ons like blowers or plows to your UTV to make it usable for various winter tasks, you can remove those and store them away for the summer. It is a good idea to clean them first so that when you are ready to put them back on, they should not need more than a wipe down.
3. Check Bolts and Connections
After a season of riding on rough terrain and then sitting in storage for months, the bolts and connections on your UTV could need some maintenance. This is a very simple step in the maintenance process and one that could potentially lead to dangerous situations if not double-checked. Go around your UTV and tighten bolts you see that are coming loose and check any other connections that could need adjusting.
4. Check Tires
You won’t need to perform maintenance on your tires every year, but it is important to check every year in case they have worn down faster than you expected or gotten torn in some way. Your tire treads should be at a minimum of three millimeters high. If they are lower than that they should be replaced.
If your tires do need replacement, it is vital that you choose the right tire for your UTV and what you intend to use it for. Here are some of the most common types of tires for your UTV that are offered by brands including BF Goodrich, Maxxis, System 3 and Pro Armor:
- General-purpose tires: Sometimes called all-terrain tires, these have thick and durable lugs to allow your UTV to easily get up and over large logs and rocks. They also provide the traction to get through mud, snow and sand. Though they still require maintenance, there is space between the lugs that allows them to self-clean and keep rocks and sticks from getting stuck in them. General-purpose tires are often what is on a newly-purchased UTV.
- Sand tires: Sand tires give your UTV a unique setup as the back tires are wider and lighter than the front tires so they can float across the terrain along with a paddle that allows them to grab the sand and push the UTV forward. The front tires are either ribbed, smooth or spiked depending on the UTV’s intended use and the driver’s riding style.
- Mudding tires: Mud tires have lugs that are up to two inches deep and come in categories of light, medium and heavy mud. You can also choose if you want the tires to be narrow or wide depending on the terrain you are taking your UTV through.
- Hard-pack tires: Hard-pack tires have some of the same features as general-purpose tires with the intention of holding up to more heavy-duty use. These are some of the most durable tires for UTVs on the market and are often used by top hard-surface race teams.
You should also check the tire pressure and fill them up as necessary to lower the risk of puncturing them. Issues with the outside of the tire, such as uneven wear or bald spots, could lead to low pressure.
5. Clear Out or Replace Air Filter
The air filter must be cleared out so that your engine can breathe clear air rather than dust and dirt. This should happen more often than your spring tune-up, but this is a good time to check again. Not cleaning your air filter can shorten your engine’s life and cause various issues with your machine.
6. Replace Fuel and Oil Filters
Your UTV’s manual will have specific instructions regarding how often to replace your fuel and oil filters, as it is different for each machine. This is important even if you are changing your oil as often as you should since they will still wear over time.
You also need to check what type of fuel was in your UTV when you put it away for the winter. Some types of fuel can last for up to 12 months, which keeps you from needing to get rid of it. However, some do not have such a long shelf life and you will need to replace the fuel to get your UTV up and running again.
7. Change the Oil
Different kinds of oil are better suited for different times of the year, so your spring tune-up is a great time to change your UTV’s oil. Even if you didn’t change the oil to a kind suited for cold temperatures, it is still likely time for an oil change so your UTV performs to the best of its ability throughout the summer.
8. Replace Spark Plugs
When you go to start your UTV for the first time in a while, it may be slow to start because the spark plugs need to be replaced. Spark plugs get your engine started and keep it running, which makes them a very important part of your maintenance routine.
The most common reason spark plugs fail is that they are not checked often enough. You definitely don’t want them to fail while you are out on a ride, so your spring tune-up is a great time to be sure they are in good shape.
9. Check and Charge the Battery
After your UTV has been sitting in the cold for months without running, your battery may not be fully charged or working at all. You should test your battery during your UTV tune-up and see what condition it is in. The battery needs to be charged in order for your UTV to start and run smoothly. It may be a worthy investment to have a jump starter on hand so you can easily charge your battery.
10. Check the Brakes
It is important to make sure your brakes are in good condition before you head out in your UTV. The last thing you want is for your brakes to fail while you are out riding, as this could be very dangerous. You should examine the calipers, brake pads and all other parts of the brakes to ensure everything is working properly and safely.
It is also a good idea to take your UTV on a test run in a safe space to test the brakes and make sure they are working to the best of their ability.
11. Update Lubrication
Keeping your UTV greased properly will keep everything running smoothly and lessen how often you have to perform certain repairs. This step is often overlooked but will save you a lot of time and money if you remember. Your UTV engine, tires and other parts will thank you. Your UTV’s manual will have more information on specific areas to grease.
12. Check Fluid Levels
The best way to ensure your UTV season will be long and problem-free is to change all the fluids during your spring tune-up. This includes oil, fuel, coolant, transmission, brake and any other fluids that your UTV might use. Your UTV’s manual will have specific instructions on how much fluid each part should have on a consistent basis as well as how to change them.
13. Get Used to Daily Checks
Your spring tune-up is a good time to start the habit of doing a daily check on your UTV. This will allow you to be familiar with important parts of your machine. When something wears out or gets broken, you will notice more quickly as you know what things are supposed to look like. There are a few things from the list above that you should make part of your UTV regular maintenance:
- Low tire pressure: Your tire pressure could change drastically overnight, which is why it is an important step to make a part of your daily check. Riding your UTV on a low tire could lead it to pop and be dangerous for you and other riders.
- Loose bolts or connections: Doing a quick check of all the bolts and connections on your UTV every day can make your yearly maintenance quicker and keep your UTV performing at its best. Checking this before you head out will also make the fix easier than if a bolt came completely loose while you were out riding when you don’t have your tools nearby.
- Leaking seals: If the seals or fittings are leaking, they likely need to be adjusted or replaced. Looking over your UTV every day will help you notice any issues more quickly.
- Fluid spots: While looking over your UTV keep your eye out for fluid spots on the floor. If you find one, it is important that you look for the source as this could be a sign of a fluid leak.
- Excessive dust: Look out for dust collections near around seals on your UTV. This is another sign of a fluid leak. When you are looking over your UTV every day, you will be able to more easily identify when the concentration of dust around the seals is higher than normal.
Keeping a strict UTV maintenance schedule will make maintaining your UTV much more cost-effective since you will be keeping up with small tweaks that need to be made before they become a more serious, costly issue.
Frequently Asked UTV Questions
If you are new to the UTV world, you may have questions beyond seasonal maintenance. Here are some other things you should know about your UTV.
What Other Gear Do I Need With My UTV?
When driving a UTV, it is important that you have the appropriate gear to keep you as safe as possible should there be an accident.
Helmets come in a variety of options. You should choose the helmet for you based on what you are using your UTV for. Each type of helmet provides a different level of protection.
- Half helmets: Half helmets are simple and look like classic bike helmets. They provide protection but are not the most protective of your options.
- Full face helmets: Full face helmets provide cushion and protection around your skull and chin. The top and bottom of the helmet extend out to help protect the part of your face that is exposed as well.
Wearing goggles while riding a UTV will protect your eyes from being damaged by flying debris such as rocks and dirt or low-hanging branches and sticks. Goggles come in a variety of colors and sizes but are all intended to provide clear vision while protecting you at the same time.
3. First Aid Kits
Keeping a first aid kit in one of the compartments of your UTV will give you peace of mind and could provide life-saving assistance should there be a serious crash. You can customize your first aid kit to hold what you know you will need, but they traditionally come with a lot of gauze and bandages, burn gel, a splint, medicine, sunscreen, thermometers and a number of other emergency essentials.
Contact Fueled UTV for Your UTV Needs
Fueled UTV is a team of industry experts, not salesmen. Our goal is to provide our customers with industry leading customer service and help get your machine outfitted with the right parts for your riding style and budget! We are stoked to be one of the largest one-stop shop for all of your UTV parts and accessories needs in the nation. Don’t see something your looking for, give us a call! We can almost certainly get it for you or answer any questions you may have!
Contact us today by filling out an online contact form or calling 509-406-7192. If you have questions, feel free to get in touch with us or check out our frequently asked questions section on our contact page. We look forward to helping you build your dream machine!