Winter Maintenance and Storage Tips for Your UTV
Being diligent about your UTV maintenance is essential to keep your UTV in tip-top shape all year round. However, there are certain things that you need to know about storing your UTV before the winter season sneaks up on you.
When the temperature becomes bone-chilling, you’ll want to prepare your vehicle so that the freezing cold won’t have negative effects or cause damage. So join us while we navigate the waters of how to make your UTV ready to weather the winter.
Here are some top tips on what to do before you say goodnight to your UTV and tuck it into its winter storage bed:
Drain the fuel and add a stabilizer.
Just like the pipes in your home or winter cabin, icy weather can cause the liquid inside them to freeze. If your tank is plastic, you’ll want to drain all of the fuel from your vehicle, including your gas tank, carburetor, and fuel lines.
If your tank is metal, you won’t have to worry about draining it, but it is best to fill the tank up and add a stabilizer. A stabilizer will be a defender against moisture buildup in the tank. Moisture will freeze and eventually thaw inside the tank without the help of a stabilizer. This is especially true for those who live in humid areas.
Inflate the tires.
Tires tend to deflate naturally over time, so it is important to make sure your tires are fully inflated before going into storage. Doing this will help ensure that your tires will still be inflated in an acceptable range by the end of the chilly season.
Although, you’ll still need to ensure your tires have full pressure before taking your UTV out for your next outdoor journey. Having flat tires or low pressure in your tires is a scenario that may cause major damage to your vehicle. Nothing is worse than getting into your vehicle and finding that you are sitting on low or flat tires.
Head-to-toe vehicle cleaning.
No one wants to take their UTV out after it has been stored for the winter only to see that last year's dirt and debris are still lingering on your vehicle. So before you put your UTV down for a long winter's nap, you’ll want to thoroughly clean the interior and exterior, ensuring that dirtiness doesn’t build up, making your UTV a filthy mode of transportation come springtime.
Usually, people think about getting down the nitty gritty with cleaning in the spring, but it is just as important to put the same effort into cold-weather cleaning. You absolutely will NOT regret doing this when springtime rolls sound and you get to enjoy your squeaky clean UTV.
Filter and oil change.
For most people who own a UTV, spring, summer, and fall are when it gets the most use. The air in these months is filled with all kinds of particles that can clog up your filters. It is recommended to change both filters before the weather gets cold. Having a dirty filter can cause problems with the way your vehicle runs.
Applying a light oil to components that are prone to frequent movement will help protect them during months of storage, such as the auxiliary brake pedal pivot, throttle lever point, brake lever point, shock absorbers, plungers, and upper steering post bushing. However, when these components run with non-lubricated friction, it will be damaging and possibly lead to the need to replace or repair them.
Vehicle covers are king.
Just like humans love a warm, fuzzy blanket to curl up with in the wintertime, your UTV will thank you for covering it while it slumbers through the cold season. When choosing a cover, you’ll want one made from breathable fabric. This will allow any moisture buildup to escape and keep your vehicle from becoming a victim of rust.
If you plan to store your UTV outdoors, you’ll want to cover it with something that is durable and waterproof. This is a great accessory to have on hand all year round. In addition, it will protect your vehicle from elements, such as rain, snow, harsh sunlight, and mud.
Save battery life with a trickle charger.
A trickle charger is designed to prevent your battery from losing enough charge and maintain battery health using a low-voltage charger. This will keep your battery from going dead during those chilly nights, so you won’t have to worry about replacing your battery come the following season.
It is also recommended that you disconnect your battery cables, remove the battery and store it separately, and clean the posts and cables.
Parts such as nuts, bolts, and screws should all be tightened. This should be part of your maintenance year-round, but it is especially necessary for winter auto maintenance. For example, a loose pivot bolt can cause damage to the bearings and frame during use.
Location. Location. Location.
It is essential to keep your UTV in a dry location. Whether that is in your garage, shed, or designated storage unit, the key is to keep it out of the elements. Keeping it out of direct sunlight is also a great idea to protect any plastic components. If it must be stored outdoors, use a lift or blocks to keep it off the ground to protect the suspension and tires.
Winterizing a vehicle, any vehicle, should be a vital part of protecting your toys during the months when the temperature drops to freezing Tundra status. When you follow these guidelines, you can rest assured that it will be ready to go when you bring it back out of hibernation.
So, before you put your vehicle to bed for the winter, take a little time to perform some routine maintenance. Taking these steps will make sure that, come spring, your vehicle is in primo shape and ready for action.
If you are looking for more information on UTVs or UTV accessories, contact TerraRider today. TerraRider has everything someone needs to enjoy riding through the outdoors in a UTV.