Do-It-Yourself ATV Upkeep and Considerations to save you time and money.
Take care of your tires, and your tires will take care of you. Those puppies take a lot of abuse — and that means maintenance is the name of the game.
Whether you’re riding a Continental Tire, Nexen or Maxxis set up, the game is pretty much the same. Take the time to learn how to care for your tires, what kind of traction your favorite activities need, and what to take with you in case things don’t go as planned.
Know Your Inflation Needs
1.) PSI can be tricky in ATVs. The tire itself will have an optimal PSI printed on the sidewall, but manufacturers may list another optimal tire pressure either on the vehicle or in the manual. The PSI on the tire is usually the maximum pressure allowed to avoid the danger of unseating the bead from the rim. The manufacturer’s pressure is more geared to the particulars of the vehicle — how it’s designed, what you’ll be doing on it, and what loads it will carry, according to Field and Stream.
Go for the manufacturer’s pressure as long as it doesn’t exceed the recommended pressure printed on the tire. You can go a little higher for high-speed riding or a little lower for mud riding, but don’t exceed that magic number on the sidewall.
- Don’t overinflate: Too much pressure means only the center of the tire impacts the road — so the middle of the tire wears down too quickly while the rest is essentially unused. Too much pressure means you don’t get the best traction and are asking for an uncontrolled spinout in a bad situation.
- Don’t under inflate: Having only a little pressure puts you in a different kind of danger. You can wind up wearing out the sidewall and outer tread, creating the best possible circumstances for rim bite and tire punctures. You may get a smoother ride at first, but you’re putting yourself in danger of costly repairs — not to mention a blowout at the wrong time can be costly.
- Do inflate equally: If you don’t have the same PSI literally, you can put dangerous torque on the axles, making your whole vehicle work too hard like a test horse.
Equip Your Tires for Your Local Environment
2.) A few DIY adjustments can make your ATV feel like a custom ride designed just for the things you love:
- Use tire studs: Multiple studs screwed into the outsides of a tire will clear snow better and increase grip. If a stud rips out, patch it with a tire plug.
- Know your flats: If you’re getting holes in the center of your tire, add more pressure.
Save Money and Save Face
3.) Understand debeading and beading.
- Carry a flat kit: Take tire plugs and a tire ball or two to keep yourself safe when you head for the backwoods … getting stuck miles from home is nobody’s idea of a good time. A little preparation can save a life — or at least your weekend — from disaster.
- It’s time to pack the ATV and hit the woods: Or the trail, the desert or whatever your dream getaway, make sure you spend your time living it up, not sitting stranded in the back country praying for help.
Image by B A Bowen Photography pursuant to the terms of Creative Commons license.