Video ads might depict riding an ATV in winter as a pure delight: pristine sparkling snow, beaming smiles, bright jackets and the sincere joy of reaching a warm motel before it gets dark… However, in reality, many ATV owners prefer to avoid riding in the snow. First, you need a good reliable trail for that. Second, you must be ready for potential breakdowns and know how to handle them. You need to carry a set of tools in your ATV storage box and use them skilfully despite the fact the multi-layered warm clothes will restrict your movements. Even if everything goes smoothly, winter rides are physically challenging and pose a constant threat of colds and frostbites.
For this, you might consider putting your vehicle on hibernation before the spring thaw. It will take a bit more effort than just taking your ATV to the garage and leaving it there. To make sure your means of transport remains in working order till March or April, you need to make certain preparations.
Where and How to Store the Vehicle
For the lack of a proper garage, try to store your ATV in a shed, barn or another similar shelter. The goal is to minimize its contacts with the outside environment. Subzero temperatures will have a negative effect on both the framework and the electric stuffing. The devastating combination of snow, ice, mud and road salt will provoke rust and corrosion. The sight of your vehicle in spring will become a massive surprise for you.
Cover the Vehicle
If you can’t afford a garage or a shed, try to cover your ATV at least. As a last resort, you can put an old tarp over it. But it would be much wiser to purchase a specialized cover made of polyethylene or nylon that you can cinch or tie down over the vehicle. These two synthetic fabrics are weather-resistant and highly durable. They will efficiently protect your ATV from precipitation, wind, UV rays, fallen objects, debris and birds. It would be a smart idea to cover your means of transport even if you store it in a barn — like this, its surface will accumulate less dust.
Thoroughly Wash and Clean Your ATV before Winterizing It
Considerate owners wash their vehicles after each ride, regardless of the weather and season. But when the summer is over, you should wash and scrub your ATV twice as diligently and then coat it with a layer of protective wax. If you let dirt, dust and frozen mud mixed with ice solidify on your machine, it might damage its body and eat into the surface so deeply that you’ll never be able to get rid of it completely.
Don’t Let the Tires Touch the Ground
If in early winter you park the vehicle on cold concrete or frozen ground and leave it there till thaw, this might cause damage or strain to the tires. Instead, you should jack it up and secure on some robust supports, be it jack stands, cinder blocks or other relevant props. This will also protect the machine from the precipitation.
What to Do With the Engine
Planning your first spring ride of the season, you will want the engine to start from the very first second. For this, you should pay special attention to the preservation of the battery and the fuel tank in the colder months.
Take Care of the Carburetor and Fuel System
If your ATV is equipped with a carburetor, close off its petcock and drain the fuel out of the float bowl. Leaving the fuel inside the tank might lead to its stagnation. Varnish will gum up the system and ethanol components will separate from the gasoline due to condensation. As a result, in March or April, the vehicle might have trouble with performance.
To ward off these consequences, you have two options. The first one is to run your ATV completely out of gas during the last ride of the summer season. The other alternative is to add an opportune dosage of a fuel stabilizer. After that, you should run the engine for around seven minutes so that the liquid penetrates all the nooks of the fuel system. To prevent the formation of condensation, limit the amount of air inside the tank by topping it off with fresh fuel.
How to Handle the Air Filter
If the air filter is old and dirty, don’t hesitate to throw it away at the end of the summer season. In case you think the lifespan of this item is not over, clean it ahead of storage. Never leave a clogged filter inside the vehicle for the winter, otherwise it might degrade and lead to problems with the ignition in March.
Another important issue is intake pipes, exhaust tubes and the airbox. Mice and other tiny living creatures might sneak inside and start nesting. To prevent this, block the apertures with materials that rodents can’t chew through.
Don’t Forget to Change the Oil
Oil, differential and transmission fluids are potentially hazardous because they accumulate harmful combusting products. If safety is your priority, change these liquids after your last summer ride of the season.
Read more about safety tips at https://vocal.media/wheel/5-winter-atv-safety-tips.
How to Store the Battery
Before positioning your ATV for storage, you should remove the battery and thoroughly clean its terminals. This will serve as a guarantee of a perfection connection once the winter is over and you would like to start the engine yet again.
What Will Happen If You Don’t Winterize Your ATV
It’s up to you to decide whether you would like to follow the above-listed recommendations or not. But if you do, the lifespan of your vehicle will expand considerably, and both its inner workings and exterior won’t suffer from unnecessary wear. You will avoid excessive expenses and will safeguard your investments. The measures described in this article are rather simple and don’t require any special skills or profound technical knowledge. Feel free to resort to them if you want your ATV to get through the colder season safely and welcome spring in high gear.