I’ve been riding ATVs for quite a while, and when I got my first ATV I learned exactly when and how often you should service an ATV. So, I thought I’d summarise how often ATV manufacturers recommend that you should service an ATV.
A brand new ATV will need to be serviced 3 times in the initial 1500 miles (2,400 km), according to the user manual of most ATVs. Each subsequent service should be performed every 1500 miles (2,400 km).
This is equivalent to operating an ATV for 8 hours a day for around 45 days. For example, if it’s used all day every day on a farm property.
And for average/hobby use, you should service your ATV every 3 to 6 months. As when you perform a service is calculated based on miles, it varies based on how often you use your ATV.
Below, I will go into more detail about what needs to be checked in the initial 3 services you need to do on a brand new ATV, how long it takes to do a service if you can do it yourself, as well as, what needs to be done on each subsequent service every 1500 miles (2,400 km) after that.
What needs to be done when you service your ATV
Servicing an ATV has two distinct time periods. Within the first 1500 miles (2,400 km), and every 1500 miles (2,400 km) after that. Within the first 1500 miles (2,400 km) you need to visually inspect the major parts of your ATV and include:
- The valves
- Cooling system
- Spark plugs
- Air filter
- Front and rear brakes
- Wheel bearings
- Steering systems
- Lights and switches
- Fittings and fasteners
It can seem like a lot. But, the instructions to perform a check on each of these parts is listed in detail in the owner’s manual. You can also have a motorcycle mechanic perform the service for you.
During the initial 1500 miles, the oil filter and oil will need to be changed twice. After the initial 1500 miles, you do most of the checks you do in the first 1500 miles (2,400 km), as well as some additional steps.
They include inspecting the:
- Exhaust system
- Spark arrester
- Fuel line
Each ATV is unique, and the exact miles when you should service each part can vary. But, overall you should plan to do a full service every 3 to 6 months. Sooner if you use it a lot.
Or, a bit longer than 6 months if you only use it occasionally, for example, to go hunting, camping, or ride trails.
How long does it take to service an ATV yourself?
It’s generally recommended by experienced ATV owners that you should spend the time to learn how to service your ATV yourself.
Not only will you save a tonne on labor costs, but you’ll also get to know your ATV which will help you to diagnose a problem if one occurs on the road. But, how long will it take to service an ATV? Here’s what I found…
An experienced motorcycle mechanic takes 2 hours to do a full service of an ATV. For a beginner, it would take a whole day depending on your level of experience. Mechanics often have specialized tools that make performing a service much quicker.
On average, to have a mechanic do a service for you costs $150 to $350 depending on the mechanic and the size and condition of your ATV.
With the help of your owner’s manual and a few Youtube videos, you’ll be able to perform the service yourself.
Also, it’s very common to change the oil and oil filter yourself on a car. And it is very easy to do. The process is very similar on an ATV. However, if you’ve never worked on a car or a motorcycle before it can take a while to familiarize yourself with everything.
What tools do you need to service an ATV yourself?
I had a bunch of tools that I’ve accumulated over the years, and a lot of them I could use to service my ATM. So, I thought I’d make a list of the tools you need to service an ATV at home.
The tools you will need to service an ATV yourself are:
- Tire pressure gauges
- Set of sockets
- Screwdriver set
- Torque wrench
- Mallet/Dead blow hammer
You will also engine oil, lubricant, and a replacement oil filter.
You may need to replace a part such as a broken light, or a damaged spark plug. These will need to be ordered as needed. If you live near a gas station you can get away with not getting tire pressure gauge.
The air pump at gas stations has a tire pressure gauge. So, you can drive your ATV there to check the tires.
What happens if you don’t service your ATV?
I always try to service my ATV when it’s required. But, I wondered what happens if I don’t service my ATV regularly. Based on the advice of mechanics here’s what happens.
As a general rule, if you don’t service your ATV it increases the chances of a major part failure. When the engine is dirty or a component needs replacing it puts additional strain on the rest of the engine. The same is true of the other parts of an ATV such as the suspension.
As a result, it shortens the lifespan of your ATV. For example, if there is dirt in the suspension, and the lubricant is no longer protecting it, the dirt will scratch the surfaces as the suspension moves up and down.
Although dirt looks quite innocent, it can have small stones that will scratch the metal, making it less smooth, and creating more friction.