All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are popular with hobbyists who enjoy riding off road. They are not street-legal in most of the US, Canada and Australia, however. An ATV is a vehicle that rides on low-pressure tires, where the driver straddles the seat (motorcycle-style), and uses handlebars for steering. ATVs are not motorcycles, however—they have more wheels than a motorcycle.
ATVs are, like it says on the tin, designed to handle all terrains. Typically, ATVs are made for one person, although two seat ATVs may be on the way from some manufacturer. Compared to riding a motorcycle off road, the extra wheels of the ATV give it more stability at low speed. ATVs usually have 3 or 4 wheels but some have as many as 6. Many prominent motorcycle manufacturers, including Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki, manufacture engine sizes typically range from 49 cc to 1000 cc. ATVs. Companies that specialize in snowmobiles and ATVs are also prominent in the world of manufacturing ATVs. These include Arctic Cat, Bombardier, and Polaris.
If you prefer to have someone else maintain your ATV, that presents you with a bit of a dilemma, considering that they are not likely to be street legal where you live. You have a couple of choices. You can bundle it onto a trailer, and tow it to the repair shop, or you can do it yourself. ATVs mostly have simple two stroke engines, so it isn’t all that complicated for you to do your own maintenance. However, even if you are intimidated by the idea of rebuilding even the simplest engine, and plan to hook up the trailer and drag it to the shop whenever anything goes wrong, it is worth learning to do most of the basic maintenance yourself. With that in mind, here are some simple maintenance tips.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the right tools. Carpenter’s tolls won’t cut it, either. Instead of a claw hammer, you should have a brass hammer. Brass is softer. You can hit just as hard without damaging delicate ATV parts.
ATVs are designed to cope with the elements. Still, it is a good idea to protect crucial components on wet days. In particularly, it is sensible to put foam in the voids around the air box. This will keep splashes of water and debris from reaching the air filter and stalling your ATV. Preventive maintenance is often the easiest and most effective!
There are many approaches to repairing stripped threads. Most of them aren’t all that great. Rather than resorting to gobs of liquid metal or mismatched bolts, consider installing a helicoil. This will allow the use of the correct size and type of fastener. It is moderately difficult—meaning you can do it if you follow the instructions—and easy to find in most auto parts shops or hardware stores.
You should also be familiar with checking and changing your engine oil. Oil is the lifeblood of an engine, and most sensible users prefer to change their oil more often than the manufacturer recommends. Also, make sure you never; ever operate your ATV with too little (or too much) oil.