Live in a cold region? It’s a good idea to winterize your ATV and secure it for the cold weather months. Bypassing the coldest months of the year allows you to get the most out of your ATV investment. While simply garaging your ATV will protect it from the salt, wind and rain of winter, you need to go a few steps further to fully protect your ride. Pick up a few supplies in advance, set aside a few hours this fall, and put your favorite toys away the right way for winter.
- Clean and protect: Give your vehicle a thorough washing and inspection. Allow all surfaces to dry fully, then wax and buff. Wax not only adds a great ‘like new” shine, it also helps protect your ATV body from moisture damage. Inspect and repair any body or cosmetic damage and use a conditioner on the seat if desired.
- Add fuel stabilizer: Stabilizer will help your ATV winter over – and start up like a new ride next year. Pour gas stabilizer into your tank, and then top off with gasoline. Run the engine for a few minutes to fully integrate the stabilizer, and then turn the ATV off.
- Change your oil: Replacing the oil in your ATV with fresh eliminates the risk of damage to your engine. Used oil is acidic, and can eat away at metal if left in place too long.
- Choose your storage: Drive the ATV into the garage or shed you plan on storing it in. Check your tire pressure and inflate to the manufacturer’s recommended settings. Park on blocks if possible and shut off the engine and all accessories.
- Pull the Battery: Remove the battery to prevent damage and make sure it is easy to start your ATV when warm weather arrives. If you have more than one ATV or are winterizing more than one vehicle, label the batteries for easy retrieval in the spring. Store your battery on a high shelf, out of reach of kids and pets and in a location where it won’t freeze.
- Cover any exposed pipes or other openings with wire mesh. Mice and other small animals can make a cozy home inside just about anything; sealing off any openings prevents them from getting inside. Don’t have mesh on hand? Hardware cloth, steel wool or even tape will keep the critters away.
- Cover your ATV with a special ATV/UTV cover to prevent dust collection and problems with debris. Lock your shed to prevent theft and make sure your ATV is secure. Label your keys and place them somewhere you’ll find them in the spring.
Winterizing your ATV will take a few hours, but will lengthen the lifespan of your vehicle considerably. If you have more than one ATV, you can winterize them assembly style to speed things up a bit. The best thing about winterizing? You’ll be all set to ride on the first sunny day next spring.