Winter ATV/UTV Maintenance Tips

Just because the temperature dips below short sleeve shirt weather doesn’t mean you have to stop riding your ATV/UTV.

Using normal preventative maintenance and a few extra cold-weather maintenance checks, riding in cold weather, even in the snow, can be very enjoyable.

You might be doing this already, but just in case you aren’t, remember with the onset of colder temperatures, you need to replace the fluids in your ATV/UTV with coolants and lubricants designed for cold weather. Your vehicle will start easier and run smoother if you remember to do this. In fact, this might be the most important aspect of cold-weather maintenance you need to remember. But there are others that are also important.

My ATV mechanic always reminds me to lubricate the control cables with temperature-appropriate lubricants to make sure they function properly in the cold. This includes brake cables, the choke cable, and any others your particular model vehicle might have.

While you are lubricating the cables, it’s a good idea to go ahead and grease the lube points on your ATV’s frame. Check with your ATV mechanic to get the right grease for the temperatures you are likely to encounter.

My mechanic always reminds me to be sure and test the brakes frequently to make sure they are working. Nothing’s worse than not being able to stop. The same goes with the other cables on your ATV. Test them frequently while riding to make sure they haven’t frozen up on you.

Dolle's UTV in water imagejpeg_0 5-14
The author says to replace the fluids in your ATV/UTV with coolants and lubricants designed for cold weather.

I never leave the shop where I get my ATV serviced without the mechanics there going over my vehicle’s frame and checking for any areas that might show stress or cracks or abnormal wear. Better to know it before you head out in cold weather than to find out the hard way 10 miles from the trailer.

Something I never thought of until my mechanic did it for me is greasing the electrical connections on my ATV. He checked the connections and greased them to make sure everything worked properly and winter’s worst wouldn’t cause a problem while I was out riding. It’s not too farfetched to say that small action alone probably got me home in time for supper on more than one occasion.

These tips are common sense, but it is easy to forget them when you’d rather be riding than working on your ATV. But by following these simple tips, you’ll get more enjoyment from your ATV/UTV and enjoy more of the outdoors—even in the dead of winter.


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