Tire pressure matters!
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Fill your tires to the ATV manufacturer's
recommended pressure (it's printed on a
label stuck to the machine and in your
owner’s manual), never to the maximum
pressure shown on the tire sidewall.
Many ATV owners have lost their
low-pressure tire gauge and use an
auto tire gauge instead. Big mistake!
It won't give you an accurate reading.
And according to our pro, Josh Fischer,
(the owner of Unlimited Motor Sports
Repair), most customers
overfill their tires, sometimes
by as much as 20 to 30 lbs. That
reduces traction and increases the
“bounce” factor that could throw you
from the machine. In 2006, ATV accidents
in the United States resulted in
an estimated 882 deaths and 146,600
visits to the emergency room. Don't
be the next statistic. Inflate your tires
to the proper pressure.
Replace your ATV's CV boots and save $100
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New boot and clamps
New CV boots and bands are available at dealers or online.
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Photo 1: Remove the band and boot
Cut the retaining bands with side cutters
and slice the old boot lengthwise
with a utility knife to remove it. Clean the
joint in degreaser until you can see the
retaining clip. Compress or expand the
C-clip (depending on the style), and pop
the joint off the axle.
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Photo 2: Clean and regrease
Soak the disassembled joint in degreaser, scrub the parts with a toothbrush, rinse
with clean degreaser and wipe the parts dry. Slide the boot over the axle shaft and
crimp the band clamp. Then fill the joint with new grease.
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Photo 3: Reassemble
Slip the large end of the boot over the
joint. Burp the air out of the boot and
crimp the remaining band. Tighten just
enough to prevent the boot from rotating.
Constant velocity (CV) boots keep the
lubricating grease inside the joint and
the dirt out—until they crack. Then
you have to replace them—and fast!
Once they're open to the environment,
the grease attracts dirt, which grinds up
the metal parts in no time. Instead of
replacing an $18 boot, you'll be buying
the entire joint at $125 a pop.
It's easy to check the condition of the
CV boots. Just look for fresh grease around the pleats. If you see any, the
boot is toast.
Replacing a CV boot is fairly simple
maintenance, but you'll have to remove
the axle shaft from the machine. To do
that, you'll have to jack up the machine
and support it with jack stands (see
your service manual for jacking and
support locations). Then
remove the wheel and the
Next, remove the axle
from the differential.
Most axle styles pop out
with a crowbar, but some
require a special procedure, so refer to
your service manual. Service manuals are worth the
investment if you plan to do your own
work (check the dealer or online for
prices and availability).
You can buy individual CV boots, but as long as you have the
axle shaft out of the machine, it's best
to replace both of them at once. You'll
also need a band installation tool. Buy
one from your local dealer, or check online (search “ATV tools and parts”). Once the axle is out, follow the
boot replacement procedure shown.
Clean and maintain your ATV air filter
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Photo 1: Remove and clean filter
Remove the foam filter and wipe
any debris from the outside. Then
dunk the filter in the cleaning solution
for the recommended time. Squeeze
out the excess solution. Rinse the filter
with water and let it dry.
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Photo 2: Oil the filter
Pour fresh oil on the cleaned filter
element. Then squeeze the foam
to spread the oil into the pores.
Reinstall it on the carburetor.
Most of you operate your ATVs in
dirty conditions. That's fine; they're
designed for that. But you have to
keep the air filter clean. According
to Josh, just about every machine he
works on has a seriously clogged filter.
A dirty filter lowers your gas
mileage and causes poor engine
performance. Cleaning the filter is
messy, but anybody can do it.
Buy an air filter cleaning kit from your dealer. It contains
a bottle of cleaning solution and a
spray can of filter oil. You'll also
need a plastic cleaning tub, rags, a
bucket of soapy water and chemical-resistant gloves.
Clean and lubricate your motorcycle chain
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Photo 1: Clean the chain
Dunk the brush in
degreaser and slide it
up and down the chain.
Rotate the chain and
repeat until you've
cleaned the entire chain.
Rinse with clean degreaser
and sponge it dry with
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Use a Grunge Brush or similar tool to clean gunk off a motorcycle chain.
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Photo 2: Apply lubricant
Spray the sprocket
side of the chain
links, not the outside.
Then take the bike for a
spin. Centrifugal force will
spin the lube deep into
the links for complete
Cleaning and lubing your motorcycle chain takes only a few minutes and can dramatically
increase the life of the chain. Many bike owners do it wrong. Lube
needs to be applied to the part of the chain that meshes with the cogs. If you
apply it to the outside of the chain, centrifugal force will throw it off before it can
penetrate to the chain's innards. Josh recommends the Grunge Brush (available through our affiliation with Amazon.com
) to scrub the crud off the chain (see photo).
Lube clutch and brake cables
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Disconnect and lube
Disconnect the stud end of the cable
from the lever. Then attach the cable
luber. Insert the spray straw into the
opening on the luber and inject the lube
under pressure to force it into the cable.
Josh replaces a lot of cables that
could last much longer with periodic
lubrication. And, with replacements
costing $20 and up, regular lubrication
is just plain smart. Lubricate the
cables twice per season. It's easy to
do, but you'll need this special lubrication
tool for an effective job. Buy it
(and a can of spray cable lube) at
your dealer or online.
Change the differential oil in your ATV
This simple drain-and-refill procedure
should be done regularly. But
many owners neglect it, resulting in huge repair bills. Refer to your owner's
manual for recommended change intervals
and the proper type of lube oil.