Up here in the northern states, although some of us will be using our atv for plowing, hauling wood, or even just playing in the snow, many will choose to put their ATV into storage for the winter. We have seen many ATV owners simply drive theirs into the shed with absolutley no preperation, pull the key out, lock the shed door and hope for the best come Spring time.
When you consider the money we are sinking into these toys it would be wise to spend a little time making sure they make it through the cold months of sitting, in decent shape. Here is a good checklist:
1. Give your ATV a good cleaning. Be sure and get all the bugs, mud and grease off of it and lubricate any part that could corrode while sitting over the winter, such as chain, sprockets, cables and lug nuts. This will help keep the rust at bay.
2. Change your oil. It is wise to warm up the engine first. Changing the oil will get rid of any contaminants in the dirty oil that could eat away at your internals over the winter.
3. Remove the battery and charge it to 100%. Leave it in a warm area if possible and consider attaching a trickle charger to it.
4. On ATV's with carbs it is important to drain the fuel. While your machine is running, close the fuel petcock valve and let the engine run out of fuel. Once the engine has cooled, locate the drain screw for the float bowl and release the remaining fuel from the carb.
5. Fill your gas tank to full and add some fuel stabilizer. Run your ATV for about 10 minutes so that it gets warmed up and the fuel with the stabilizer gets distributed throughout the motor.
6. Fogging your cylinders. Manufacturer recommendations vary, so check your manual or call your local dealer.
7. For ATV's with liquid cooling top off the coolant, or if the coolant is 2 or more years old change it altogether.
8. Inflate your tires just slightly above recommendations so as not to get flat spots in your tires, or even better raise the ATV up in the air on jackstands.
9. Block any entry points that critters might be tempted to crawl into and make their home, such as exhaust and intake. A good duct tape should work.
10. Even if your ATV is being stored indoors, buy a good waterproof cover that still breathes well.