Whether you’re an off-road enthusiast or someone with a hobby, an ATV is a reliable vehicle that will help get the job done – whether it’s surviving rough terrain or hauling equipment. ATVs are a long-term investment that you expect to use for many years. They certainly don’t come cheap, and you’ve probably done quite a bit of research before finally choosing the right one for you. It’s important to store an ATV in a safe place to keep it well-maintained.
While ATVs are best stored in a garage where it’s dry, indoor storage is not always possible. If your only option is to store your ATV outside, a proper cover is a must. Exposure to sun, wind, rain, and other elements may cause damage, so a cover is essential to ensure that your quad is protected.
You probably won’t use your ATV regularly, unless you need it for everyday work. But if you only use it occasionally, like during summer months, you must prepare it for long-term storage, mainly if you’re storing it outside. Here are some maintenance tips for outdoor storage.
Tips for Storing an ATV Outside
If you’re preparing your ATV for long-term storage outside, consider these top maintenance tips to effectively preserve your four-wheeler so you can enjoy it for many years to come:
1. Get a Heavy-Duty ATV Cover
As previously mentioned, an ATV cover will shield your four-wheeler from the outside elements that may cause damage. These elements include not only weather-related factors, but also rodents, insects, dust, and pollen. While you can use a plastic sheet or a tarp as a cover, it’s still best to buy something that’s specifically designed for ATVs. A high-quality ATV cover is more heavy-duty and will do a better job. Synthetic fabric is ideal such as nylon or polyester, since other simple covers may promote rust.
Protection from the Elements
An ATV cover will protect your quad from rain, sun, wind, and other flying debris. Weather can be unpredictable, and your ATV can deteriorate faster in harsh elements. Rust and moisture will be kept at bay, too. The seats, cables, tires, and exposed metal parts will have an extra layer of protection when you cover it with a durable, waterproof ATV cover. This industrial grade, waterproof cover (view on Amazon), offers secure protection from all elements. It’s also night reflective and comes with securing straps for your trailer when hauling.
Leaving your ATV uncovered for extended periods may also cause excessive condensation in your gas tank. Thus, it’s not only the ATV exterior that suffers but the interior machinery as well.
Purchase a good, reliable ATV cover, so your four-wheeler is secured, safe, and ready for use whenever the need arises.
2. Chain Your ATV
An ATV is a cool rig; it would obviously be eye-candy, especially if you store it outside. For added safety, chain your ATV to a post or any stable structure of some sort to prevent it from being stolen. If you can, set up some surveillance cameras in the area where you store your ATV so thieves wouldn’t be as tempted.
3. Invest in a Good Quality Shed (Or Build One)
Outside storage doesn’t necessarily mean you have to let your ATV sit underneath the open sky, suffering from the heat of the baking sun. If you can’t store it in a garage, but you have some space in your backyard, consider buying or building a shed. It’s an excellent solution for outdoor ATV storage if you want more reliable protection. A good, high-quality shed is a sturdy and durable alternative to a garage.
A shed will be particularly useful during the winter months, as cold weather may cause extreme damage to the exterior and fuel system of your four-wheeler. Ice buildup and a frozen engine are things you definitely don’t want to happen if you intend to keep using your ATV for a long time.
Metal sheds and wood sheds are good options, but resin sheds are ideal for your ATV because they don’t rust or rot. Resin sheds will ensure that outside elements won’t creep in and damage your investment.
- Shed for Small ATVs
For smaller ATVs, the Keter Manor Resin Shed (view on Amazon), which is 4 x 6 ft, offers a secure structure for storing your ATV. The ceiling is high enough to move around, and the texture provides a stylish look to compliment your home.
- Shed for Large ATVs
For larger ATVs, Keter Factor Resin Shed (view on Amazon) offers an 8 x 6 ft shed where you can also store other tools and equipment. It will withstand all harsh climates and provide a durable home for your ATV in the off-season.
It’s an investment, but it’s also a wise decision to delay corrosion and deterioration. After all, you’re protecting something that may be worth a couple of thousand dollars. Spending a few more bucks to preserve it will benefit you in the long run.
4. Park Your Quad Beside a Building
Placing your ATV beside a building or some tall structure lessens its exposure to the elements. You’d essentially be shielding it from wind or any flying debris in a more effective way, rather than purely relying on your ATV cover.
5. Keep It Clean
Keeping it clean goes without saying. Your ATV is a tough vehicle; it will probably go through mud, dirt, rocks, and challenging terrain. It can get pretty filthy if you’ve had a rough ride. Before storing your ATV, you must thoroughly clean it to make sure that dirt and rocks won’t settle in. Soap it down, rinse it properly, and lubricate it generously. For heavy-duty cleaning, use a pressure washer instead of a regular hose. Pressure washers (view on Amazon) like this one are super useful in removing mud, rocks, leaves, grime, stubborn stains, and even rust. It makes the task much more manageable. Just remember to be careful when using it and aim only at the areas you’re cleaning.
While you’re doing this, keep an eye for any debris that might have gotten stuck in unlikely places. Cleaning your ATV before storing it allows you to have a closer look if there’s any damage so you can act on it right away. After your ATV has dried, wipe metal surfaces and the exhaust pipe with WD-40 to prevent rusting.
6. Use a Battery Tender
Leaving your battery unused for long periods will significantly reduce its lifespan. In some cases, you return to your vehicle and discover that your battery is dead. If you’re storing your ATV for quite a while, use a battery tender to keep your batteries charged. Unlike trickle chargers, battery tenders equip microprocessor technology that allows them to provide continuous voltage without damaging the battery. This technology prevents battery damage by controlling charging functions, such as avoiding charging a defective battery or overcharging. Battery tenders are essential when preparing your ATV for hibernation.
7. Change Oil and Filter
Regular oil change should be a part of every vehicle owner’s routine maintenance. It keeps the engine healthy and promotes a longer life for your rig. Letting used oil sit in your tank for a long time, especially in the winter season, may cause dirt and debris to settle in. Thus, it’s essential to change your oil to keep your gears and bearings well-lubricated.
Before doing an oil change, make sure to clean first the refill location as well as the area around the external oil filter and the dipstick. Doing so will ensure that no dirt and grime will get into the engine. Keep in mind that you should also use the proper oil, and avoid going for the cheap ones that may cause more harm than good.
Furthermore, remove your air filter if your ATV is going on hibernation. Air filters are attractive homes and food storage for rodents, especially if you plan on storing it outside. Use an airbox cover for the meantime.
8. Fill up on Gas and Use a Fuel Stabilizer
There can be some confusion about whether to fill up or empty your gas tank before long-term storage. Here’s what to do:
- for a plastic gas tank, drain all your fuel, including the tank, fuel lines, and carburetor.
- If you have a metal tank, fill it up to the brim to avoid rust and condensation.
- After filling it up, add the fuel stabilizer and run your engine to let your quad fully absorb the treated fuel.
9. Inflate Tires
Even when your ATV is not in use, its tires can deflate in just a couple of months. Thus, you have to make sure that they’re adequately inflated before outdoor storage so the tires will be in good condition once you’re ready to use your off-road vehicle. Monitor the tires every few weeks or so, as allowing them to become fully flat can cause damage, which may result in buying new and expensive tires.
Storing an ATV outside can pose more challenges than keeping it sheltered in a garage. Therefore, you must take extra precautions to keep your ATV in optimum condition. By following the advice and maintenance tips listed above, you’re sure to keep your quad safe, secured, and preserved in tip-top shape until you’re ready to use it again.