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Making the most of icy trails with plans to prepare ATV winter riding

ATVs are not bothered about winter. They are designed to tackle any landscape at any time of the year. However, they do need special treatment if you are planning to store them away or take them out for some wintry fun. You will also want to keep your ATV in top condition. While this is true in all seasons, winter can slow your quad down if you don't perform the correct maintenance checks. So, here’s a complete guide to prepare ATV winter riding conditions.

Importance of preparing bike for winter riding

Taking out your ATV in cold weather needs a little more preparation than putting on a thick coat. Nothing dampens the fun like having to tinker away at your quad bike in freezing temperatures. So, it's important to prepare your ATV for fierce riding conditions ahead of time.

Check fuel lines and tank

There should be no moisture in the tank or fuel lines. In cold temperatures, water can condensate inside the tank. If your fuel mixes with water or moisture, it will stop the engine from starting. If water freezes in the fuel lines, fuel will have a hard time flowing to the engine. It causes the ATV to run rough or not start at all. Adding fuel stabiliser prevents this. It keeps the fuel fresh and the engine running smoothly.

Oil changes as required

After dusty summer trail riding, oil changes are certainly necessary. Each time your ATV engine runs, by-products from combustion are collected in the engine oil. When contaminants build up beyond the capacity of the oil, they accumulate and create deposits and sludge, wearing down the engine. You need clean oil for the ATV to run smoothly. Deteriorated oil causes rough starts and less power. Regular oil changes are essential, but if the oil has not been changed for a while, make sure to top up before winter riding.

Clean the air filter

Clean the ATV air filter or replace it if necessary. After warm weather riding, the air filter collects dust and debris. Snow that starts to fly around on the trail will also be pulled into the air filter. A dusty air filter will form a muddy substance when combined with snow particles, resulting in poor or faulty performance.

Ensure tyres are in good condition

The tyres do not need special upgrading for winter riding. However, you can winterise ATVs with tyre chains or tyre studs if you are planning to ride on heavy snow or ice. You can also let a little air out of the tyres to gain more traction. Start at 4 psi and adjust to a level that feels right. Slightly under-inflated tyres expand their surface area and increase the flat spot on the bottom of the tyres letting you stay on snow more efficiently.

Check the coolant

Check the coolant before starting your ATV. If it is frozen, don't start the machine. You should thaw it and replace it because a frozen coolant will overheat the engine before long. To prevent a frozen coolant, replace it after summer riding with an anti-freeze type coolant that protects from freezing and overheating. Reputable coolants protect at least to sub-freezing temperatures, but more harsh weather requires an anti-freeze type of coolant.

Changing spark plugs if required

Changing spark plugs, especially in a two-stroke engine, will give you the extra edge you need for starting your ATV in cold weather.

ATV accessories

Winter accessories for more comfortable ATV riding include handguards, heated grips, heavy-duty winches, and tow straps. Handguards and heated grips keep your hands warm, with handguards also keeping your hands safe from branches, rocks, and ice.

Winter is a good time to ride your ATV just as much as any other season. However, winter riding needs a little more preparation ahead to make the rides smooth as the snow-lain trails. Buy your ATVs and accessories from Mini Bikes Off Road.

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