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Five Tips For Motorcycle and ATV Maintenance

Five tips for maintaining your motorcycle or ATV so you can keep your machine in good riding condition. Regular maintenance will keep your vehicle and yourself safe.


(ARA) - Americans have purchased more than 15 million all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorcycles over the past 10 years. Along with the thrill of the ride, or the convenience of chores made easy, comes the responsibility of maintaining these machines.

Typically, most guys and gals with a garage - or at least the garage mentality - know that regular vehicle maintenance comes with the territory, much like owning a car.

But knowing what to do, doesn't always lead to doing it correctly. The owner's manuals that come with the vehicle contain a lot of good information, including a full maintenance schedule, but here are a few items you don't want to miss.

Changing the oil and checking fluid levels - As with any motorized vehicle, regular oil changes are a must for your ATV. Be sure to follow your vehicle's oil change schedule and, if the vehicle's been sitting all winter, check all fluids.

Check tire pressure - Check the tire pressure on all tires and follow manufacturer recommendations for air pressure levels.

Inspect or replace the spark plugs - The beginning of the season is a good time to replace your spark plugs, as it is a surefire way to help get your machine started more easily after its winter hibernation. Inspecting the old one is also a good way to give you an indication as to how your engine was running.

Check battery connections - After sitting idle all winter, you'll want to check the battery connections for possible corrosion and ensure they are solid.

Changing, cleaning and oiling the air filter - This is probably the most overlooked aspect of regular maintenance. Putting oil on an air filter may seem counterintuitive, but it is an essential step when replacing the air filter on many motorsports vehicles. Air filter maintenance is important in everything from a small off-road motorcycle to larger utility ATVs like the Yamaha Grizzly 700. Let's take a closer look at this important step.

"Anyone that has spent a day on dusty trails and then taken a look at their air filter can attest that the foamy exterior is likely covered in dirt and debris," says Travis Hollins, Yamaha's ATV product planning manager. "You need that moist, sticky filter oil to catch the dirt and other particles that otherwise can foul up the engine and cause long-term damage."

Many miss this detail because most air filters are not sold with the oil already applied. So, anyone cleaning or replacing an air filter will need to add the oil. It is a simple three-step process. Step 1: Remove the air filter. Step 2: Clean the filter with a specially recommended cleaner and rinse with water. Step 3: Allow the newly cleaned filter to dry, then re-apply your filter oil. Your local dealer can provide more advice and recommendations or you can look up more information on your manufacturer's website. Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., as an example, offers a step-by-step instructional video by logging on to www.yamahaoutdoors.com. Click on "parts and service," then the "filter maintenance" button to view the video.

For many gear heads, tinkering with the engine and doing regular maintenance provides just as much satisfaction as a long trail ride or day at the track. A little time investment in the garage can payoff in hours of good riding.







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