ATV Maintenance Tips

ATVs have something very unique about them. Although just about any complex item you may buy comes with a manufacturer’s handbook, it is seldom essential to actually read the manual. ATV owners, on the other hand, should read the accompanying manual from cover to cover. Proper maintenance and safe operation are essential considerations, and no one knows better than the manufacturers of all-terrain vehicles how to achieve both. There are some helpful tips, however, that are not in the manual, including a few that follow.

Protect Plastics
Getting your ATV dirty on off-road trails is as satisfying as keeping your ATV in pristine shape, as much as possible. Riding ATVs is an adventure sport, which can get rough and messy. The plastics tend to be the quickest parts of the machine to show unsightly wear and tear. Replacing the pieces can be costly. Here’s a tip your manufacturer won’t tell you because it could mean you don’t have to purchase as many replacement parts. Install a graphic kit while your machine is still shiny new. If possible, cover high-rub areas with clear vinyl. This will keep your quad looking sharp a lot longer. 12-mil vinyl is available at sign shops and from graphics/decal companies.

Protect Electronics
Your engine and various parts of your ATV can really take a beating. Everything can get extremely wet, as well. You can make your maintenance efforts easier by taking steps to protect electrical components from damage caused by water. Dielectric grease applied liberally to all electrical connections all over your ATV can repel water and keep it from seeping in and causing shorts in the electrical systems.

Tighten Lug Nuts
ATV safety largely depends upon all the parts of your quad being securely attached, but the lug nuts are often dangerously loose, including on a new ATV. During shipment, usually in a crate that’s tightly packed, it’s tough to predict precisely what is going to happen. Apparently, lug nuts often come loose in transit. Aluminum wheels are particularly susceptible to loose nuts. This is a tip gained through experience as an ATV enthusiast. A common experience on ATV trails is for a rider’s wheels to come off.

There is no doubt about it; Learning from quad riders can be as important as reading the manufacturer’s manual. It’s fair to say that both are essential.

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Plan Ahead for a Frostbite Free Winter on Your ATV

I will never forget the time I got frostbite. It especially comes to mind when I prepare to ride my ATV in really cold weather. I was a private in basic training at “Relaxin’ Jackson” in South Carolina. During a week-long stint out in the field, a very wet cold front stormed in and caused the temperature to drop to below freezing. Suddenly, I found myself exhausted, wet, and unprepared. My feet went numb and then it was like my brain went numb. My blood felt like it was turning to ice in my veins. The next morning, I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes at all. I hobbled over to the nearest drill sergeant, who instructed me to remove my boots. I was horrified to discover my feet covered in frostnip and several of my toes in stage two, superficial frostbite. I had to be rushed back to base, where my toes were rewarmed. The healing process made them black and blue for weeks. It was not the kind of “battle wound” I wanted to show off or the kind of “battle story” I care to relive.

Frostnip, frostbite, trench foot, hypothermia, and more are lurking in the cold. Overexposure to the winter weather can be life-threatening, cause permanent damage, and require amputation.

Frostbite is the freezing of body parts. It occurs when ice crystals form in tissue and begin to damage cells and blood vessels. It is most likely to affect extremities with the least circulation and furthest from the body’s core. Fingers, toes, ears, and nose are most at risk. It starts with numbing, which makes it easier to ignore in turbulent conditions, then has 4 levels of severity, each becoming progressively gruesome.

As the temperature begins to drop and you start planning your next outdoor excursion, remember, “It’s better to be safe than sorry!” Here are some tips to help you prepare for the worst while hoping for the best as you set out on your winter ATV adventure. Tips on planning ahead:
• Check the weather before your excursion. You don’t want to be caught by surprise in unexpected rains or cold winds.
• Dress accordingly. It’s important to stay as dry and warm as possible. A good way to ward off dampness is to wear a synthetic wicking fabric close to the skin. Layers are essential and can easily be removed, as needed.
• Cover your sleeves with the outside of your gloves, as well as the ends of your pants with your socks. Any area of skin left exposed is at risk of possible mutilation.
• Wear a hat that covers your ears and in extreme cold, a ski mask to protect your face.
• Pack extra dry undergarments and socks.
• Stay dry at all times and keep your core as warm as you can.

Riding ATVs is all about fun. Don’t let it become your memory of the time you got frostbite.

The Big Discovery: ATVs at Bundy Hill Offroad

I used to live a boring life. I went to work with moderate road rage. I spent my days at the office counting the hours until the weekend, only to be greeted with more monotonous days of “normalcy.” One Saturday, a buddy of mine invited me to go camping at Bundy Hill Offroad in Southern Michigan. I had no idea my life was about to change. I packed the camping gear and he brought the “toys”. The first time I climbed aboard an ATV and felt the rumble of its power between my legs, my heart began to race. An unexplainable energy coursed through my veins. The mighty machine took me on the ride of my life. We were like mad men climbing over the steep hills, barreling through mud and shredding the land. I had never felt this kind of satisfaction in all my years and I knew that I never wanted to live without it again. One visit at Bundy Hill Offroad riding an ATV was all it took for me to get “hooked.” I started my own collection of all-terrain vehicles and my family also became infected with the love of the sport.
Do you have the need? The need for speed? If you are sitting in traffic and find yourself with the uncontrollable desire to pop a wheelie and drive over the cars ahead, you are not alone. If you crave the rush associated with crashing over rocks and speeding across open land, you might be an all-terrain adrenaline junkie. Adrenaline is a powerful hormone in your body released when in the state of excitement. There is no shame in being addicted to the feeling only adventure can provide. First, you have to be able to admit that you have a problem. A problem being cooped up in the city. A problem being limited to cars, trucks, speed limits, and stop lights. Once you have identified your problem, you can take a step in treating your addiction.
The only way to properly fulfill your appetite for the extreme is to upgrade your recreational environment. Bundy Hill Offroad is an excellent place to meet your courageous desires. It is 350 acres of land designed to amplify the powers of all-terrain vehicles. They offer a seemingly endless supply of wooded trails, steep hills, and gullies. You can explore paths that include pea-gravel and rock climbs, even hood deep waters and more. Bundy Hill Offroad is a family friendly environment that prohibits alcohol and encourages a free spirit to push his or her ATV to its maximum capacity. Bundy offers a number of events and services at an affordable rate. It is the ideal place for all levels of enthusiasts to perfect their craft.

ATV Registration and Out-of-State Riding

Many ATV owners get the most out of their off-highway adventures by traveling to other states and experiencing their best trails. One step in preparation that may be necessary is obtaining a permit to ride in the state, depending on where you go. In Louisiana, registration of off-road vehicles is required. The fee is $3 annually, with a four-year expiration. Neighboring Texas requires registration and OHV decals that are $16 annually and good from September 1 through August 31 of the following year. Wherever you bring your quad, avoid problems and delays by doing your homework beforehand and getting permits lined out wherever needed. Permits aren’t the only matter to look into. States have a variety of different laws regulating ATVs, as well.

Check State Requirements for OHVs

A little research can be important, when you travel out-of-state with your ATV. In addition to the matter of permits, some states have rules allowing ATVs to ride on highways, for example. It’s possible the state you’re traveling in will allow your quad on highways on the condition that you have high-pressure ATV tires.

Keep in mind that some states have reciprocity rules. This means that one state that requires registration will accept the registration of vehicles from another state that has similar requirements.

Top U.S. Trails Plus Permit Information

If you’re driving to another state for a new ATV trail adventure, why not go to the ones that get the most rave reviews? The varied terrain in the U.S. makes for a wide range of challenges and scenery. The following is a little information about two top trail rides plus information on permits:

Ride Royal Blue Resort in Tennessee – There are more than 600 miles of trails at the Ride Royal Blue Resort in Tennesseee. Scenic views include waterfalls and abundant wildlife, including elk. The trails accommodate all skill levels, including thrilling obstacles for the most experienced riders. Registration isn’t necessary, but an ATV title in your name is required. The fee for a title certificate is $11.

Little O Trail in Michigan – There are plenty of different OHV trails to enjoy when in the state of Michigan, and Little O Trail is among them. This is a 41-mile-long trail that ties into Big O Trail. For the most part, it’s fast and smooth with sections that have tight turns and pleasant berms. In Michigan, an ORV trail permit is a requirement, unless you happen to be riding on private lands.

Plan Your ATV Trip

These are just two of literally hundreds of ATV trails that are highly recommended across the U.S. Obtaining permits isn’t much of a hassle, once you become accustomed to the routine. Preparation for an ATV vacation is about the same as any other kind of out-of-town excursion, since the more prepared you are, the more fun you can potentially have.

Good ATV Riding Etiquette that Protects Riding Privileges.

Off-road trails shouldn’t be taken for granted. There are various disputes across the country that threaten to minimize the amount of public lands available for trail riders. In addition, private land use can be taken away, when riders don’t show proper respect for the property, the environment, the rules, and others on the trail. There are many ways to get involved and fight for the right to enjoy off-road sports and hobbies. Perhaps the most practical rule of thumb is to simply adhere to proper etiquette on ATV trails.

ATV Etiquette
Access to off-road trail systems is a privilege that many have had the experience of losing as a result of irresponsible and careless acts of a few. It’s really important for every rider to act as a representative for quad riding. In general, it’s important to take care of the environment and share trails with others. One of the reasons ATV trails are often put at risk is that riding in extreme motorized vehicles is noisy and rowdy. If there are others in the area who are trying to enjoy the serenity in nature, it’s best to cut down the amount of noise and dust in the atmosphere.

The following is more information about basic rules of etiquette for ATV riders:
• Stay on the trail. When riders venture into muddy meadows or ride along the banks of streams, they create unwanted, unsightly ruts that can be a strike against everyone who enjoys off-road trails.
• Trail users that are non-motorized always get the right-of-way. Yield to bicyclists, hikers, and horses. The best practice is to pull over, turn off your engine, and let them pass.
• Whenever possible, avoid riding over shrubs, trees, and other vegetation. It never looks good when wildlife habitats are damaged. In addition, these destructive activities result in accelerated soil erosion.
• Stay in the middle of the trail. When trails are widened, they may need costly repair. Besides that, widened trails are unsightly.
• Keep your muffler system the way you got it from the manufacturer. Loud exhaust systems are annoying to just about everyone.
• When trails are closed, whether seasonally or permanently, stay off of them.
• Bring bags with you so that you can carry out your own trash. Never litter but pick up trash when you come across it.
• Don’t mess with wildlife or domestic animals on the trail. Keep a respectful distance from wild animals.
• Be polite when passing other riders. Follow at a safe distance until you get a signal to pass. Don’t bump your throttle right in front of them, since you could kick up dust or spray them with gravel, potentially angering the other person.
• Be sure to wash you quad after each ride so that you avoid possibly infecting new areas with harmful weeds.

Keep the Fun Going
ATVs are fun, powerful machines. Keep the excitement going for yourself and others by following these basic rules of etiquette for quad riding.

Learn How To Read Your Spark Plug.

Your all-terrain vehicle is likely used for all kinds of rough trail riding, possibly including mud-running. ATVs are somewhat meant for abuse, but it will still significantly increase their longevity to stay on top of maintenance. Of course, cleaning off mud and making sure it isn’t clogging up engine parts is also important. The spark plugs alone can give you an indication of how well your ATV engine is operating, but additional maintenance is needed.

Check your Spark Plugs
Spark plugs have the following parts, from bottom to top: Connector, creepage current barriers, conductor with positive electrode, ceramic insulator, inner seal with talcum rings, interference suppression, seal surface, spark plug body metal case, nickel alloy copper plated positive electrode, and the negative electrode. The following provides information about what you can learn from looking at the firing end of the spark plug.

Good Condition
If the color is light gray or brown, it is in good condition. Function is optimal.

Overheated
You know that your spark plug overheats if there is an accumulation of deposits on the insulator tip and they have melted. The insulator tip will have a glossy or glazed appearance if there is overheating.

Carbon Fouling
Wet or dry carbon fouling can occur for a range of reasons. In general, an ATV engine can start normally if the insulation resistance between the shell and the center electrode is more than 10 ohms. The firing end will become fouled by dry or wet carbon, however, if the electrical resistance drops to 0 ohms.

Buildup of Deposits
When deposits accumulate on the firing end of the spark plug, it is due to oil leakage, quality of fuel, and the duration of engine operation.

Breakage
Sudden cooling or heating can result in breakage of the firing end, due to thermal shock and thermal expansion.

If you find that your spark plug is worn, chipped, or cracked, discard it and get a replacement.

Keeping your eye on the condition of your spark plugs is just one way to properly maintain your ATV. Another maintenance step is regularly checking your oil and adding more or changing it, as needed. If you operate your ATV with dirty oil, your engine could become damaged. In addition, routinely install a new oil filter, add radiator coolant when needed, check the brake fluid and brake pad, and service the spark arrestor every 100 hours of operation. Ongoing maintenance is the best way to keep your ATV ready for more off-road adventures.

Recommended to ATV Riders: Visit Hatfield ~ McCoy Trails!

Life is better with regular doses of adrenaline. Switching up the scenery now and again is also good, when you find excitement on ATV trails. In southern West Virginia there is a gigantic system with seven trails in the very region where two famous families had the ultimate family feud. Hatfield-McCoy Trails is among the world’s largest off-highway trail systems. Over time, the trails have continued to expand so that now there are more than 600 miles professionally managed, creating an economic boon for locals. You can plan a ride to Hatfield-McCoy Trails during daylight hours 365 days per year.

ATV Trails for Everyone
The six trails at Hafield-McCoy Trails include clearly marked paths, each with a rating. The categories follow:
• Easiest are, in general, wider and more level.
• More Difficult trails are more narrow and uneven, and there are some obstacles such as rocks on the trails.
• The Most Difficult trails marked in black have large rocks and a greater number of obstacles and they can be extremely steep and have some overgrowth on paths.
• The Most Difficult trails marked in red and black have the same characteristics of the above-mentioned Most Difficult trails and also have the following stipulations: No one under 18, no two-wheel drive machines allowed, and no machines under 200cc.

There are also Single Track trails. They are divided into two types: More Difficult and Most Difficult. These trails are for more experienced riders only.

Plan Ahead: 2017 National Trailfest October 5-9, 2017

In Gilbert, West Virginia, October 5-9, 2017, you may want to plan to attend 2017 National Trailfest, which is among the premier UTV, ATV, and Dirtbike riding events in the nation. It is a world-class national event at Hatfield-McCoy Trails with trail riding so good, it’s said to be the best on the planet. Possible daily and nightly activities you can participate in while there, besides riding the trails, include:
• Poker run and dice run for cash prizes
• Nightly ATV, SxS & Dirt Bike Drags and Mud Pit Action
• Vegas Nigh & auction with more than $1,000 in prizes
• Battery-operated Kids’ Drags
• Music and live entertainment
• Mud pit run for cash prizes
• Fireworks displays

If Reviews Count for Anything…Go!

One of the greatest things about being so easily connected to everyone else via the Internet is you get to read real reviews before you ever spend your money anywhere. The reviews of Hatfield-McCoy Trails are glowing. Riders from other areas that are accustomed to flatlands find the challenge of the rocky, hilly terrain to be a whole new experience worth 5 out of 5 stars. Get your quad ready with a visit to Outdoor Powerhouse and head on over to what people call the best trails in the world.