4 Tips for Prepping Your ATV for Hunting Season
For many, the fall hunting itch starts immediately after seeing the first flock of geese head south, witnessing the first leaves changing colors or experiencing the first glint of cooler nights. Thoughts turn from summertime fun to organizing hunting gear in preparation for long days afield.
There is one important hunting tool that’s so utilitarian that it sometimes gets overlooked during the preparation stage. It’s one that can help you clear the trails leading to your hunting destination or haul your trophy buck from the backwoods – your ATV. No matter what brand of ATV you own, here are a few quick tips to ready your trusted off-road vehicle for a safe, worry-free fall hunting experience.
Start with a thorough cleaning
A dirty ATV is almost like wearing a badge of honor, but truth is, starting the hunting season with a clean ATV can not only make your machine run better, but it will help you inspect critical components for cracks, loose bolts and general wear. Start by spraying any particularly grimy, dirty and greasy metal parts or drive system components with a degreaser, letting it soak in, then following up with a power washer to ensure all dirt and grime get removed. Follow the instructions on the degreaser to make sure you only apply it on the proper surfaces. Some products shouldn’t be sprayed on plastic, windshields and other materials. For good measure, it doesn’t hurt to go a step further by hand-washing the entire unit with a liberal amount of automotive soap and water.
Check critical engine components
Inspect your engine and the components attached to it. Look for cracked exhaust manifolds or missing exhaust pipe springs. One old cross-country racing trick to prevent broken springs is to lay a bead of high-temp RV silicone down the length of the stretched coils. When dry, the silicone dampens vibration and minimizes breakage. If you have overheating issues, this is a good time to check your cooling fans/radiator areas to see if they are plugged with mud, grass and other debris. Your thorough wash should’ve eliminated this problem, but if not, address it now.
Change the fluids and check the levels
To maintain peak engine performance and reliability, it’s best to change your oil and oil filter at regular intervals, depending on amount of use. Fall is the perfect time, before you put your ATV through extreme duty hauling, pulling or traversing a wide variety of terrain. Quicksilver offers full-synthetic engine oils for four-stroke ATVs, UTVs and other off-road machines in 5W-50, 5W-40 and 10W-40 grades. Check your engine owner’s manual to make sure you use the appropriate grade. Premium Quicksilver engine oils provide the ultimate in protection and ease of starting in all climates. Don’t forget to check coolant levels, spark plug(s) and tire pressure. Then inspect the air filter to make sure it isn’t clogged with dirt.
Baby the battery
It’s always best to utilize a battery tender when your ATV has been sitting for any length of time, to ensure you get the most out of it. Running accessory lights or using your winch to pull fallen trees from the trail can create a serious drain on your battery. Make sure it’s properly charged before your hunt. If you were considering investing in a new battery, now’s the time to make the switch – before you head into woods.
The key to hunting season preparation is to tackle these jobs early, to make sure every variable you can control is under control. Because when the ducks are riding a cold front south or the biggest bucks start moving during daylight hours, you want to be making plans to head afield, not making repairs to your equipment.