Sure, you’ve chosen to store your quad, but that doesn’t simply mean parking it in your garage and turning off the key. Winter and brutal cold temperatures can be hard on an unused quad. And certain components (battery and fluids) can go bad if in storage too long. For storage, find a nice location for the ATV. Make sure it’s free of excessive dust and debris. We recommend capping the exhaust pipe to prevent mice from nesting in the silencer. It’s also a good idea to keep the airbox lid in place and tight so mice don’t use it as a winter retreat.
Once you’ve decided on the storage spot, thoroughly clean the ATV. This includes using a non-corrosive quad cleaner. Next, dry it! Tilting the quad on end can help remove hidden water pools that would love to turn to rust. Also, removing skid plates, CVT boot guards and other parts you may have added could reveal other hiding spots for dirt and water.
Once you’re finished washing it, inspect it for paint chips, scratches or potential rust spots. Some racers and riders like to spray their quad’s metal components with a light spritz of WD-40. This will help prevent rust and breakdown of parts. You could also treat the plastic, rubber, racks and tires at this time. Plastic cleaners are readily available.
Because rubber tires can crack in extremely cold conditions, some people believe adding a tire preservative is a good idea. They help prevent cracks, right? Well, that may be true, but other experts say those products will also make the tire hard and put on a slippery coat. And, depending on what type of wheels are on your quad, a wheel cleaner is a good investment. This is especially true if you have steel wheels, but aluminum wheels need to be polished to retain their shine.
For proper winter storage and, because the air inside condenses, fill the tires to the proper max psi. It’s not good for tires to be on the cold ground either, due to moisture and ice build up. The answer is to either install a heated floor (yeah, right) or lift the quad off the ground. You can place the quad on 2x4s, or an ATV stand, whatever works best for your storage situation. Of course, before you put it on the stand you need to do a few more things.
For one, it’s best to drain all the operating fluids (but not the fuel, yet!). Drain the old engine and transmission oil. You may as well change the brake fluid while you’re at it (or this could be a step during your pre-ride inspection next spring). Add new oil to the proper level as recommended by the manufacturer.
Depending on the length of winter and what area of the country you live in, you can drain the entire fuel tank and carb(s) or add a fuel stabilizer. The easiest method is to fill the tank and add Stabil or something similar. Run the engine for a brief period of time or enough to thoroughly mix the gas and preservative. Turn off the quad and shut off the petcock.
It’s best to remove the battery from the quad and charge it fully. Clean the terminals according to your owner’s manual and check the electrolyte levels at this time too. Depending on where the battery is stored and at what temperature, it may need a recharge. Charge it monthly if stored in an area below 60 degrees F. If stored in an area warmer than that, charge it every two weeks.
The final step in storage is to cover the quad to prevent excess dust and debris from building up on it and to keep sun (if your garage has windows) off it. Your quad should be ready for you when spring arrives.
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