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How To

How to Winterize an ATV

 Posted on: November 20th, 2021

How to Winterize an ATV
Removing the dirt and grime is essential when storing your ATV for the winter

If you plan on storing your ATV over the winter, it’s important you take the necessary steps to winterize it for long-term storage. Otherwise, the long period without usage could result in some problems forming within the vehicle’s various systems that could make it difficult for you to get the machine up and running again come the spring.

Here’s a quick look at the most important steps you’ll need to take to winterize your ATV.

Address the fuel system

Add some fresh fuel to the fuel system and some fuel stabilizer with it. Let the engine run for about 10 minutes or so to allow the stabilizer to circulate through the system, then turn off the engine and top the fuel off to about 7/8 full, which will help prevent condensation from forming inside the tank.

Clean and lubricate

Wash your ATV thoroughly before storing it away for the winter so you can remove all dirt, grime, bug splatter and brake dust. Any painted or chromed parts should be waxed, and you should also lubricate any parts that could be susceptible to corrosion, including chains, sprockets, cables, exhaust pipes and other metal components.

Check the carburetor

If your ATV has a carbureted engine, you should drain the carburetor, especially if you do not have an alcohol-free fuel stabilizer. While the machine is running, close the fuel petcock valve and then allow the engine to run out of fuel. After the engine cools down, locate the drain screw for the float bowl and allow the remaining fuel to flow from the carburetor.

Check the cylinders

You might find it worthwhile to fog the engine to prevent corrosion while the vehicle is in storage. To do this, remove the air filter and spray your fogging oil straight into the intake while the engine is running, and then replace the filter. You could also drain the carburetor, remove the spark plugs and put about a tablespoon of clean motor oil into all cylinders. Cover the holes with a clean rag and turn the engine several times so the oil circulates through the cylinders.

Charge the battery

Remove the battery from the ATV after you have it in place, and hook it up to a trickle charger in an area that will not freeze over the winter.

Change the oil

Change the oil and oil filter while the engine remains warm. A failure to do so could result in the acids that exist in used oil corroding the internal components of the ATV over the winter.

Check the coolant

Top off the coolant or change it completely if you know it’s at least two years old. Always make sure you use the specific coolant recommended by the manufacturer for your ATV.

Check the brake fluid

If you know you’re due for a brake fluid change, now’s the time to get that job done. At the very least, you can freshen up/top off the brake fluid to make sure it’s at appropriate levels.

How to Winterize an ATV
Checking tire pressure. Pumping air into auto wheel on the ATV.

Check the tires

Get your ATV’s tires ready for the winter! If you’re going to be storing it on a floor or on the ground, inflate the tires to slightly above the recommended pressure so you can avoid the development of flat spots in the tires as they sit in one spot. But if you can swing it, use a jack stand or a set of blocks to raise the ATV so you don’t have to worry about flat spots at all.

Protect from the elements

If you have to store your ATV outside, make sure it’s protected from the elements. Use a waterproof tarp or ATV storage cover like the Kolpin ATV Cover to guard against moisture. If the ATV is being stored indoors, invest in a breathable cover that will allow air to flow in and out but will protect against dust and bugs.

Kolpin ATV Cover
Kolpin ATV Cover

Follow all these steps, and you’ll come back to an ATV that’s in prime condition and nearly ready to ride this spring.