Spring is here and if you follow our 14-point spring maintenance checklist, you'll be ready to go in no time! We’ve put together a checklist of some basic powersports equipment maintenance tips to get you off to a great start and ready for spring!
If you winterized your ATV, UTV, watercraft or motorcycle last year, you’ve saved yourself a lot of work this year and you’ll be out on the trails or track in no time. But even if you didn’t, not to worry, you’ll be up and running quickly if you follow this 14-point spring maintenance checklist.
The Spring Maintenance Checklist
- Pull out the gear
Grab your helmets, boots, chest/kidney protection, jerseys, leather/mesh jackets, body suits, pants, elbow/knee protection, gloves, eye protection and whatever else you might use. Inspect everything for damage especially if you keep your gear in a shed or storage unit. Mice are small but can create an enormous mess. Set aside any items needing repair or replacement and make arrangements to get those taken care of as soon as possible. Air out the gear and prep it for the season by dusting it off or wiping down with a damp cloth to remove that old, caked-on mud. Smile as you reminisce about the fun you had last season. Apply leather protection to the appropriate gear if it was not done at the end of last season.
- Grab your manufacturer’s manual(s)
If you don’t have one, we recommend you check out the manufacturer’s website. They often have them available for download. If that doesn’t work, try contacting your local dealer for a copy. When performing maintenance on mechanical equipment, it is necessary to have a manual handy for proper fluid and parts replacement. It’s also a good idea to reference the suggested general maintenance steps listed in your manual based on hours of operation or mileage in case there is anything else you may need to do beyond what we list here.
- Let’s get dirty!
Yup, this can get messy, so put away the nice clothes and grab the grungy jeans and shirt or sweatshirt you have sitting around. You know… the stuff with the most rips, tears, stains and otherwise “lived-in” look. Even if you think you’re the neatest person around, we find it’s easier to tackle the spring maintenance checklist if you can feel the part.
- Check the oil – Hint: If it looks like tar, that’s bad.
Would you ingest something that looked as black as tar and expect to function in tip-top shape? Not likely. Your engine won’t either. If you didn’t change the oil at the end of last season, do that now. Regular oil changes help to prevent corrosion and excessive wear on the engine which can lead to poor fuel economy, power shortages or complete engine failure. Be sure to change the oil filter as well to help keep everything moving smoothly. Most filters are not sold with the oil already applied, so don’t forget to add it.
"Anyone that has spent a day on dusty trails and then taken a look at their air filter can attest that the foamy exterior is likely covered in dirt and debris," says Travis Hollins, Yamaha's ATV product planning manager. "You need that moist, sticky filter oil to catch the dirt and other particles that otherwise can foul up the engine and cause long-term damage."
- Check all fluids
We’re talking about the fluids of the engine here, not the level of your beer. But if you need another one, now’s a good time to get one. Check the levels of the coolant, 4wd, transmission and brake fluid. Refill or flush as needed.
- Perform a once-over on all movable parts and innards
Depending on what powersports equipment you have, you will need to adjust this step accordingly. All ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles and watercraft need to be thoroughly inspected each season. Check the carburetor and injectors to make sure they’re clean. Clean the chain (if applicable) and re-apply a fresh coat of lubrication to it. Adjust the chain if needed. Check and clean your engine’s belt and adjust if needed. Check radiator hoses for dry rot or loose fittings.
- Inspect or replace spark plugs
Replacing them will help ensure that your machine will start up nicely for you after an idle winter. If you do replace them, don’t forget to check your manual for the proper gap setting. This step is critical in proper spark plug installation. Also check the spark plug wires to ensure there is no residual dry rot.
- Check the battery
If you had a battery tender hooked up over the winter, you should be good to go. Check out our supply of battery tenders and battery chargers at GearUp2Go. Both items are handy to have as part of anyone’s treasure trove of tools and supplies. We recommend one tender per motorsport machine. Check the battery connections for corrosion and clean them if necessary.
- Test the brakes and lights
If you didn’t check the brake fluid level earlier, do that now. Check the brake levers to ensure they have good response and pressure. If necessary, ask a buddy to squeeze the front and rear brake levers so that you can verify the lights are working properly. Test turn signals at this time too.
- Test throttle control
Stopping is important, but so is the ability to get up and go when you want to! Check the throttle to make sure it snaps back accordingly. Adjust it as needed so that it has the proper amount of play. Too much and you could be left in the dirt while your UTV, ATV or motorcycle takes off. Too little and you could be cranking on that throttle to an uncomfortable degree before the machine responds.
- Check tire pressure
Refer to your manual or to the tire specifications written on the rim of the tire for proper pressure setting. Check the tread for wear and scan the tire for any signs of dry rot or hardened spots due to freezing. Often times these hardened spots will work themselves out once the tires warm up, but make note of it just the same in case there should be need to replace a tire. If you notice a leak, GearUp2Go sells SLiME Tire Sealant to get you going.
- Check panels and fittings
Scan all bodywork for any cracks or damaged areas that may need repair. All panels and fittings should fit snugly. Ensure that all panels and fittings are secure by checking and tightening all bolts. Also check all joints for any seams or cracks that need to be addressed.
- Add a little spit-polish
This is, of course optional, since you may prefer that “used and abused” look, but personally, I like to shine up my powersports machines each season by hosing them down and shining them up. GearUp2Go offers an awesome product that makes this step easy. It’s called Qwik Shine. Check it out! (Hint: It even works on gear!!) I love seeing my garage full of sparkling clean toys, just begging to get dirty. How could you NOT get excited about that?!?
- Pat yourself on the back
You’ve done it! You've complete the spring maintenance checklist and you’re all set. Now you just need Mother Nature to cooperate! Good luck! Be safe and have fun! Maybe we’ll see you out on the trails sometime.
Author, J.M. Stickney is a powersports enthusiast working as the Digital Marketing Manager at GearUp2Go. She loves to ride her Suzuki GSX-R600 on the street or at the track. While not on her bike she spends a lot of time outdoors, writing, reading, running or playing with her family.