Winterizing Your ATV: Part Five

Now that we’ve dealt with the problems that can stem from the Evinrude XD100 oil and fuel you put in your ATV, it’s time to move away from the inner workings of the machine to the exterior. Corrosion is a serious concern when you’re taking your ATV through rain, sleet and snow, particularly when it comes to the suspension and the brake pads. The easiest way to prevent corrosion in these areas is by spraying your machine down with a silicone water-dispersant before you take it out. This will also protect it from road salt while you are transporting it on the trailer.

Rinsing down your ATV after each trip will also help prevent unnecessary wear and deterioration. Once you have rinsed down the machine, be sure to store it a warm, dry place, such as your garage. If you leave the machine outside, the water will freeze and could cause damage to the systems. Letting your machine sit in the cold will also wreak havoc on the battery and will make it more difficult to start.

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Winterizing Your ATV: Part Four

Yesterday we discussed the importance of using premium synthetic oil in your ATV, but we neglected to say what to look for. The criteria for a premium ATV oil is much the same as outboard motor oil; in cold weather conditions the pour point is the most critical variable, which tells you the lowest temperature at which the oil will be effective. Once you have filled your engine with top-tier oil, it’s time to check out the battery.

Particularly if you are just taking the machine out of storage, it’s a good idea to check the battery to ensure the charge is adequate. You may need to attach the unit to a charger if it is low, but be sure to make sure it holds the charge before your head out. The fuel tank has a tendency to collect condensation in cold weather, which then has the potential to freeze, so be sure to keep the tank as full as possible at all times.

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Winterizing Your ATV: Part Three

Before exposing your ATV to the perils of winter weather, it’s necessary to take a few steps to ensure the machine operates properly. We’ll go over the basic procedures for all vehicles, but the exact process will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. To that end, it’s always advisable to consult your owner’s manual to ensure there aren’t any discrepancies.

The first thing to do is to install a carburetor heater. This will ensure that the mixture of gas, air and 2 stroke oil is always at an adequate temperature when it’s in the system. When you know the weather is going to be extremely cold, it’s crucial to switch to premium synthetic oil that is rated for the conditions. While you can get by with subpar oil in ideal conditions, it’s necessary to invest the extra money when the weather is bad.

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Winterizing Your ATV: Part Two

If you took the time to change your Evinrude XD 100 and perform other basic maintenance before putting your ATV in storage, getting your vehicle operational once again should be a cinch. All of the fuel should have been burned out of the engine, so the first line of business is to fill up the tank again and be sure that the oil levels are adequate. Reconnect the battery and ensure that any coverings on the muffler or other openings have been removed.

Even though you probably checked all of the fittings and hardware prior to storage, you can never be too careful. Give the ATV a quick inspection and ensure that all of the moving parts are well lubricated. This is also a good time to examine the fuel line, wheels, steering system and the suspension.

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Winterizing Your ATV: Part One

Now that we’ve got the boat stowed away for the winter and have dealt with all of the necessary fuel and outboard motor oil chores, it’s time to start thinking about getting your winter vehicles out of storage. My family has an assortment of vehicles for soggy, cold conditions, but my favorite has to be our fleet of ATVs. Of course, you can’t simply take these vehicles out of storage and begin tackling the terrain immediately.

Just as you have to winterize a boat for storage, you also need to go through a winterization process before exposing ATVs to frigid climates. Over the next few days, we’ll be covering some of the basics of this winterization process to ensure your engine doesn’t seize up. We’ll also touch on some of the basic maintenance procedures that should be performed regularly, especially when starting up your machine for the first time since it’s been in storage.

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Winterizing Your Boat: Part Five

Now that all of the major winterization is out of the way—such as changing the Evinrude XD 100, draining the fuel and lubricating the various systems—it’s time to tie up some of the loose ends. Detach all of the battery cables and remove the battery from the boat. You’ll want to store the battery in a cool, dry place—probably the same location as the vessel itself. Clean and dry the bilges using soap and hot water. Once this is done, apply some lubricant.

The final step is to clean both the interior and the hull of the vessel thoroughly. Cleaning the interior is fairly self-explanatory, but for the hull you’ll want to use a pressure washer to breakthrough all of the caked on deposits and grime. This winterization process probably seems extensive, and it is to a certain extent. However, when next boating season rolls around you’ll be glad you put in the extra effort.

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Winterizing Your Boat: Part Four

In an early post in this series I said to drain all of the fuel from the tank. This is a necessary procedure, but there are two schools of thought when it comes to what to do after this process. Some manufacturers say to disconnect the fuel hose and run the engine until all of the fuel is gone and leave the boat in that condition for storage. Others say to refill the tank with fuel and add a fuel treatment product to prevent condensation from building in the tank.

If you take the latter route, you will obviously want to make sure you add the proper ratio of outboard motor oil as well. The best way to determine which method to employ is simply to consult your owner’s manual. During the process of preparing the fuel tank, however, you will always want to change the fuel filters and the water separators.

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Winterizing Your Boat: Part Three

After you’ve flushed the system, use a pickup hose to pump some antifreeze through the manifold. This will require you to gain access to the engine room, and while you’re there you’ll want to change the transmission fluid as well. Take out each of the spark plugs and spray some fogging oil into each cylinder. Finally, wipe down the entire engine with some fogging oil, WD-40 or other lubricant.

Stern drives have a tendency to pick up barnacles and aquatic flora during the season, so you’ll want to remove any of these growths from the lower unit. Drain all of the fluid from the gear case and be sure there isn’t any excess moisture in the two cycle oil, which is an indication that your seals are leaking. Thoroughly clean the lower unit with soap and water, apply grease to the system and check all of the necessary fuel levels.

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