How to Bleed the Brakes on Your ATV

With any vehicle, brakes are one of the most important parts. Your ATV brakes should be at optimal function for the safest ride. It is important to know how the braking system on your ATV works so you can recognize common problems – like when the brake is not engaging properly or the brake lever keeps closing even after the application of the brake.

ATV Brake Function

ATVs have disc brakes operated by a hydraulic system. This means that when you squeeze the brake lever, oil or brake fluid is pushed through the lines to activate the brake. The fluid pushes a piston at the end of the line that engages the brake pads and disc against the wheels. Since brake fluid is a liquid, it is not compressed and the same amount of push is transferred to the end of the line.

The braking system will malfunction when air get into the brake lines. As opposed to fluid, air compresses easily, so the pressure applied does not translate to the same force at the other end. This reduces the level of force on the brake pads and the brake disc does not engage effectively. The only solution is to remove the air bubbles, which is called bleeding the brakes.

How to Bleed the Brakes on an ATV

Bleeding the brakes on your ATV is a simple procedure, and it should not take more than twenty minutes. First, locate the reservoir containing the brake fluid, and the valve meant for bleeding. Usually, the reservoir for the front brakes is installed near the brake lever on the handlebars. The reservoir for the rear brakes could be in different places for various models; but is usually located under the body panel, at the point where the brake pedal is hinged. The bleeder valve is easily noticeable and will be capped with a rubber boot.

Remove the rubber boot and clean the cap of the brake reservoir before opening it. Do not allow the top dirt to get into the brake system, since it can cause a blockage. Once you have cleaned and dried the cap, remove it and check the level of fluid in the reservoir. When air is present in the lines, the reservoir level will be low. Top the reservoir with new brake fluid. While filling the fluid, tap the reservoir sides with a wrench or screwdriver to dislodge air bubbles that have formed at the top of the line.

Now ask someone to squeeze the brake lever or pedal fully about twenty times slowly. At the last press hold the level down all the way, and open the bleeder valve halfway. This will allow the air to escape along with some brake fluid. Tighten the valve and loosen it again. Repeat the whole procedure until you find only fluid coming out of the valve. Refill the fluid if the level has dropped, and you are done.

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How to Free an ATV Stuck in the Mud

It’s a fact: ride your ATV long enough, and you’ll find yourself in an unpleasant situation. In order to prepare for this eventuality, you’ll need appropriate tools (and skill) to get you and your ATV out of a bind.

Tools to Free a Stuck ATV

ATV Winch: When your ATV is stuck in the mud, a winch is your best friend. It’s hard to come by a decent winch for less than $100, but quality will get you out of deep water and mud. For more reasonably priced ATV winches, Amazon offers a decent selection.

Remember, when you attach the winch to a nearby object, make sure the object is sturdy, like a large tree.

Pull Strap: A pull strap and a second ATV can help if your vehicle is near compact ground. If the second ATV can get enough traction, use the pull strap to pull yours out of the softer ground.

A Shovel: If you are stuck in snow, and your ATV isn’t buried too deep, then a shovel may get you out. Shovel until your tires are no longer surrounded in snow.

ATV Storage Box: A storage box allows you to stock your ATV with the tools to get you out of a tough spot.

Tips for Getting Your ATV Unstuck

When you’re in trouble, you may need more than expensive ATV tools. You need a combination of the right tools and skills to help you when your ATV gets stuck.

Apply Speed: Clearly not a tool you can purchase at the store, but it’s valuable when your ATV gets stuck. This requires a lot of skill on the rider’s part. Right as you feel your ATV dip into a mud hole, accelerate to apply the momentum needed to get out of the hole as quickly as you dipped into it. If  you didn’t gauge the problem quickly enough, and you’re plain stuck, do not apply gas. This will sink you deeper into the mud.

Keep the Engine Running: When you’re in a deep mess – where your ATV is encompassed by mud – it’s best to keep the engine running. Otherwise, the mud may seep inside the ATV and rust the interior.

Straighten your ATV: Not every ATV gets stuck in a nice, straight position. If your ATV is at an angle, use your body weight to straighten it. Rock it several times. Patience is key, because it won’t straighten right away. If you see no improvement, call for help. (If you are only a little stuck, rocking from side to side applies weight to the wheels, which could release you without the need for tools. Try this before any other method).

ATV Mud Tires: This is a tool and a skill. Having knowledge about the best ATV tires for muddy terrain can prevent some unpleasant situations. For example, if you live in Northern Oregon, which sees more rain than sunshine, outfit your ATV with quality mud tires (which are also good for snow). If you live in a state that sees rain, snow and sunshine in equal parts, look for som rugged all-terrain ATV tires. I often recite this phrase, but for a good reason: specific ATV tires are crucial when riding. You need to know which tires to buy, and always purchase the best quality.

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5 Websites for Selling Your ATV or UTV Fast

It is more common these days to sell products online than in the newspapers. It is a faster and more effective way to sell your ATV or UTV, because you are targeting a larger group of readers. But if you’ve been sitting on your “for sale” ATV for months, wondering, “Is something wrong with my vehicle?” It’s probably your selling technique or the website you’re using that is the problem. To ensure that your ATV sells fast, start by choosing good websites.

Popular Websites For Selling your ATV Quickly

  1. – One reason I selected Craigslist is because it’s free. You can upload pictures and keep the ad in circulation without paying a dime. But the main reason I chose Craigslist is because it works. Craigslist sees millions of traffic every week. With good photos and descriptions, riders can sell their ATV fast.
  2. – This is a popular site for buying, selling and learning about ATVs. The process to sell your quad is simple: choose the ad you want, upload photos and add a description. You can publish your ad for free, but the ad does expire after one week.
  3. – This online classified site is a lot like ATV Soup…but better. You get a better package when you choose free publishing – you have 12 days of exposure, and you can upload four photos. But if you can’t sell your vehicle in those 12 days, you have to upgrade (and pay) for more exposure.
  4. – You can buy and sell just about anything on this website, including ATVs. You have to sign up, which takes several minutes and might be a pain for some. But once you’ve signed up with Want Ad Digest, you’re able to sell your ATV in a clean and appealing format that makes products sell quickly. You have to pay for the ad time, but even so, it’s a popular choice.
  5. – Here, you can post an ad for free or upgrade with perks for a small fee. Like Want Ad Digest, you have to register before you can get started.

You can try one, or better yet, all of these websites to sell your ATV or UTV. One of the biggest questions riders ask is if they should pay extra for the perks. Not necessarily. If you utilize all of these sites and then promote your quad with photos and social media, you don’t have to pay a dime to sell your quad fast.

Sell it Faster with Social Media & Photos

You can sell your ATV by creating an ad on a website, and then sit back and see if the offers roll in. Or you can take it a step further and promote your item through social media. Go onto Facebook and let your friends and other people know what you’re selling. If you have a Twitter account, write a few tweets each week until your quad is sold. If you’re a registered member on an motorsports message board, this is good for promotion, too. But always remember to add a good description, a price quote and plenty of images.

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Tips for Buying ATV Tires Online

When it comes to outfitting your quad with new tires, many riders take to the internet for their purchase. It’s fast, accurate, and tracking your order couldn’t be simpler. But there are a few dangers to watch out for with online purchases. The greatest danger is that your chance of identity theft goes up  with any online purchase. And let’s not forget that the wrong ATV tires can ruin your quad’s performance. Making an online purchase increases your chance of getting the wrong fit, design or the wrong tires for your terrain.

There is a right way and a wrong way to buy ATV tires online. Follow these helpful tips to make a smart and safe tire buying decision.

Know your Tires

What terrain do you most frequently you ride on? Many all-terrain tires will support you no matter the weather or terrain – as long you as purchase from a top-rated brand. For some riders, tires designed for specific weather conditions are the best way to go. If you live in the mountains, tailor your search for a good set of snow tires. If you live in a state where it’s always raining, mud tires may get you farther than any other tire. This part of buying ATV and UTV tires online may seem elementary, but it’s the most important decision in terms of performance.

ATV tire size examples

How to Pick the Right Tire Size

When you’ve figured out the best tire for your terrain, now it’s time to consider that not every tire will fit every ATV. The best way to do this is to know tire sizes. An important trick is to understand what the three numbers in ATV tire sizes mean. The numbers are defined as followed:

  1. First number: the overall height of the tire (mounted and inflated)
  2. Second number: Overall width of the tire (mounted and inflated)
  3. Third number: The diameter of the wheel (or rim diameter) the tire will mount to.

This Kenda Bearclaw K299 ATV mud tire has a size of 22-12-8. From the list above, you can see that this tire is 22” tall, 12” wide and can be mounted to an 8” wheel.

Understanding the tire size couldn’t be simpler. For a more detailed explanation, check out the tire chart at

Shop Around

One of the benefits of shopping online is that you don’t feel pressured to buy accessories you don’t need. You will also see reduced prices online. The reason for this is that online purchases are generally cheaper for the retailer. This market is extremely competitive, which makes it easy to find a good deal. When researching ATV tires, make sure you go to a credible source.

Where to Buy ATV Tires

Before you commit to any web site, make sure you read their reviews. Were their previous customers happy with the product? How about the service and the ordering time-frame?

Customer service is almost as important as the quality of the product. Make phone calls or utilize online chat when you have questions. Get to know the seller; share your concerns and let them answer your questions. Seek advice if you don’t know the best decision to make.

Identity Theft: How to Avoid Frauds

Secure websites make it safer to buy online, but there are exceptions. Phishing is one of these exceptions. Phishing is when you get a fake email, asking you to log into your store account. You are then lead to a page that looks similar to the website you know and trust, but when you type in your username and password, this information is transferred to those who created the spoof email. In order to avoid these scams, call the company if you receive a suspicious email; and don’t type in your information unless you are on a secured page, which you reached by typing in the store URL yourself.

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Tips For Customizing your ATV

Your quad runs well, and now you want it to look as good as it feels. Or maybe you’d like to customize your ATV to enhance it’s performance, like adding a dolly to help with your workload. There are many options for customizing your ATV – and many ways to go wrong. Here are some tips to steer you in the right direction.

ATV Customizations & How They Improve Your Machine

honda fourtrax

photo via bambe1964, Flickr

Tire Upgrade – You can never go wrong with new ATV tires. They give power and control to the quad, making them as valuable as the engine. Depending on the style, tires can even improve the appearance of your ATV. So when customizing your quad, think about your tires. Could they be swapped in for a better set? If you ride for pleasure, look for a good set of all-terrain tires. If your ATV is more of a utility vehicle, mud tires are the way to go.

Paint – After oggling the tires, your fellow riders will take in the paint job. This is where to go bold, if that’s your style. Bright red, yellow and orange finishes can be found on some of the most popular ATVs on the market. It’s the most important customization to improve your ATV’s appearance. It gives life to the quad in ways an engine can’t. Don’t go crazy. Fire on the sides wasn’t even popular in the 80’s. Go bold with discretion.

Replace the Lights – For safety purposes, riders can really benefit from new headlight installations. You can swap your old headlights for smooth OEM headlights, or another brand to catch your eye.

Add More Speed – Many people like to customize their ATV by making it go faster. You can do this by swapping out your old air filter with a K&N filter. K&N oiled filters do a great jo of creating extra speed. Another suggestion is to buy an AA exhaust pipe that’s used for racing.

Accessorize – Adding accessories to your ATV goes farther than decals and logos. You can accessorize in a way that helps you every time you ride. Many riders add a trunk (rear storage) for food, tools, or just about anything. Some riders add ATV cabs as defense against the elements.

Customize with Discretion

Don’t overdo it. An ATV customization is fun, but people who try to “go big” sometimes go too far. Target parts of your ATV that can really benefit from a customization. Focus on the quality of customization over how quickly you get the job done.

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7 Fun Gift Ideas for ATV Riders

The holiday for chocolates, roses and heartfelt letters has now come and gone; and if you are thinking that ATVs and V-day are not really synonymous anyway, you’d be right. But in the spirit of showy gift-giving, here are seven gift ideas that your favorite ATV rider might appreciate (whatever the occasion).

ATV Decals

Decals are the perfect way for a person to tell everyone their brand allegiances, interests and hobbies. Let’s keep the tradition alive with some ATV decals to slap on their ride. Or go big with a wall decal – perfect for a child’s bedroom.

ATV Keychain

Keychains are a subtle way of taking your passion with you wherever you go. Sport fans have lanyards; riders have cool ATV keychains supporting ATV brands or events. Other keychains get straight to the point by flaunting the image of an ATV.

ATV mugApparel

Probably the most tasteful way to represent something you love is with apparel. Students rep their universities, activists rep their causes and ATV riders rep their love for the sport.

Coffee Mug

There’s no better way to get energized for an ATV event or ride with the gang than a cup of strongly brewed coffee. You could give your ATV rider a cup with some personality. Go simple with a popular “I Love ATV” mug, or buy something with a bit more personality.

Arizona ATV Trails Guide ATV Trails Guide Book

For adventurous types, ATV guidebooks on trails in their state is as useful a gift as it is thoughtful. Charles A. Wells has authored quite a few guidebooks on ATV trails in the U.S. that are worth checking out.

ATV Video Games

For gamers, an action packed video game can help ease the cabin fever during the off season. Mx Vs ATV Untamed is a good option.

These are just a few entertaining, informative and goofy gift ideas to show the ATV rider in your life how well you know him/her.

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5 Must-Have’s for ATV Mud Riding

ATV muddingThe 2014 GNCC kicks off next month in Bunnell, Florida at Mud Muckers park – the (self proclaimed) world’s largest off-road family mud park. In honor of the ATV mudding world and upcoming GNCC races, has compiled a must-have list for ATV mud riding.

Mud Tires

Although recovery ropes do come in handy, let’s give power back to the rider with a good set of mud tires. ATV mud tires are unmistakably the most important asset to keep you from getting stuck. Their deep ridges offer better traction and more control, so you may never end up in a rut.

ATV Winch

There’s no denying the power of a muddy terrain. At times, it can devour your ATV like quicksand. Match the power of the terrain with your own ATV winch. The right ATV winch has all the power you need to pull your vehicle out of an unexpected mess.

Handlebar Grips

Control, control, control. During mud riding season, ATV riders can never have too much control. Mud riding is unpredictable. Holes will be deeper and trails more slippery than you ever imaged. So if your tires start to slide, your handlear grips, with their conveniently placed grooves, provide extra support.

Mud Appropriate Attire

You can’t enjoy the mud when you’re uncomfortable – and discomfort is inevitable if you don’t have the proper attire. You should always wear:

  • A helmet – to protect your brain
  • Goggles – to keep mud and debris out of your eyes
  • Waterproof boots – to keep your feet dry and comfortable
  • Water resistant/moisture wicking clothing – wet clothes get sticky and heavy (not fun)

Simple Green Cleaner and a Hose

Because your ATV will get messy. Really messy.

A brief list, but a good start for mud riding. If I were to add a sixth must-have, it would be specifically for your ATV: TLC. Give it extra attention during mud season. Check your tire pressure, clean the air filter, and give it all the care an ATV needs before and after a ride. We’ve said it many times before, but these maintenance tips can use reiteration.

The GNCC races begins March 8th at Mud Muckers. For the full schedule, go to the GNCC racing web site.

Ria Rankine

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Top 3 Destinations for Winter Camping

Camping in the winter is not just an exciting adventure, but also a photographer’s dream – with an opportunity for some brilliant sights. And don’t underestimate the peace and quiet to be had on a winter camping trip. Take a moment to brush up on the best winter camping tips for staying warm on your outdoor adventure, and then choose one of these must-see destinations.

1. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

This is the perfect destination for those who want peace, nature and adventure rolled up into one attractive sight. The Great Sand Dunes National Park offers the tallest dunes in North America, making it a perfect spot for skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding. In the summer, the national park is a hot spot in Colorado, but is often overlooked during the winter. If it’s tranquility you seek, then look no further than this ATV camping destination.

2. Mount Hood Forest, Oregon

ATV riders are very familiar with Oregon’s natural attractions, such as the beaches’ sprawling sand dunes. But you don’t have to be an ATV rider to appreciate what Oregon has to offer. Just pack up your tent and camping equipment, and head for Mount Hood’s National Forest. There, you’ll never be want for an adventure: Mount Hood offers a landscape that’s ideal has for winter activities like snowboarding, skiing and snowmobiling. Of course, don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the beauty of Oregon’s forest in the winter.

3. Redstone, Colorado

Redstone is a beautiful destination for winter camping, as it’s surrounded by a national forest, famous rivers and challenging trails for winter backpacking. There are many winter activities to enjoy, including snowshoeing; and a friendly town to explore that is full of art and culture. If Redstone doesn’t become a winter camping destination, then at least visit the small town for the view, history and friendly people.

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10 Reasons to Join an ATV Club

atv club by hmcfabulous on FlickrAre you an ATV rider who wants to find the best trails in the country, or even the world? Are you interested in finding riders as passionate about ATVs as you? Are you often searching for info on the latest ATV gear and accessories? If you answered yes to these questions, you now have three reasons to join an ATV club.

Through an ATV club, you’ll meet like-minded people looking to have a good time on four wheels, stay updated on events, and get together for memorable trips. But before I give away every reason to join an ATV club, here are the top 10 reasons you should join one today.

  1. Information
    Riders learn more about ATVs in a club than they do on their own. Many of these clubs provide information on ATV safety, equipment, proper maintenance and tips on buying and selling ATVs. Beginner riders benefit by having all of their questions answered by a resourceful and trusted community.
  2. The Best Trails
    This could fall under “information,” but learning about the best trails near you is in a league of its own. With this knowledge, you and your friends can take your ATVs on a weekend or vacation of a lifetime.
  3. Activities
    Many ATV clubs organize activities big and small for ATV riders. Some are sponsored ATV races, while others are low key gatherings where riders, their friends and family can get together and have a good time.
  4. Classes
    Most ATV clubs also serve up weekly classes where you can refine your old tricks, learn a few new ones and get to know your ATV all over again. Sounds cheesy, but understanding your ATV through in-depth classes allows you to become a better, safer rider. And who doesn’t want to learn more about their ATVs?
  5. Swaps
    An ATV club is a community of trustful individuals, an atmosphere that’s perfect for selling or swapping ATV gear and accessories; or even for trading ATVs jsut for the weekend. Maybe you own a utility ATV, but are interested in getting a sport quad…Or maybe you have always been curious to see how the Maxxis Mudbug performs in mud. A club makes it possible to take others’ vehicles a spin so you can try out those tires or other vehicle types before you buy them.
  6. Exciting Friendships
    In any club, it goes without saying that you’ll create lasting friendships. But when you get together with friends who are passionate about ATVs, taking risks and creating new adventures, then you’ll never be for want of a good time. ATV Safari tours in Africa won’t seem so farfetched now that you have a group accompanying you.
  7. You Save Money
    If you’re in a club, you have access to resources that can save you money in the long-run. Not only do you receive information about the best ATVs, tires and equipment to withstand time and the elements; but as a club member you may get deals at mechanics and ATV shops. As long as you show proof of membership, you may be entitled to a discount. The same holds true for park access – you may qualify for a discount on seasonal and day passes.
  8. Private Trails
    One of the sweetest perks about joining an ATV club is having access to private trails owned by your affiliated club. Many ATV clubs use membership fees to create riding areas accessible to members only. When looking for a club near you, this is one incentive to look out for.
  9. Education
    We touched on the importance of education through safety and knowledge; but clubs also provide state-specific information like riding restrictions, state rules and lots of other valuable information needed before hopping on an ATV.
  10.  Networking
    The more people you meet through your club, the more likely you are to find influential people who can help you in a number of ways: from finding the best deals at a local mechanic, to kick starting your business ideas. Every club offers the chance to network and better your image in the social and business sectors. ATV clubs are no different.

You can find a comprehensive list of ATV clubs in your state at ATV Source, which offers a frequently updated list of clubs across the nation. So now you know why and where to join an ATV club. What’s stopping you? Join a club today.

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Winter Tips for your ATV Tires

For the better part of the U.S., winter means snow, ice and frigid temperatures. Without the right precautions, this can make for a bad experience for ATV riders who aren’t looking to hibernate their ATVs during winter. Your ATV snow tires are your number one defense against the elements, so it’s important to keep them in prime condition. For the winter riders, ATV Tires blog has rounded up a list of the four most important tips for taking care of your ATV tires this season.

Test your Tire Tread

Better traction begins with a good tread pattern. If your treads are worn, tires will lose their grip and jeopardize the safety of the rider. Use a tire tread depth gauge to compare the current tread depth with the depth the tread had at purchase.

You can also check the safety of your tread pattern by seeing if all wheels are aligned. If not, it’s likely that your tread pattern is uneven, and the tread depth might vary per wheel. For the safest ride, the tread should be worn evenly on all four tires.

Studs & Tire Chains

Even the best winter ATV tires can use extra support. Depending on the conditions, studded tires can aid in better traction and stability. You can place studs at the outer edge of your tires for better grip in snow and icy conditions. Applying several studs on the outside of your tires also prevents snow, ice and mud from accumulating inside the tire.  You can purchase winter tires that are pre-studded, such as the ITP Tundracross Studded ATV tires – which is the more convenient alternative, but also more expensive.

For the best in traction, look into applying a set of tire chains to your ATV tires. Chains are popular among riders because they’re effective and affordable. Even during peak season, when the weather is at its worst, ATV riders can find tire chains for just $50. Installing tire chains may be a pain, but chains only have to be applied once during the winter season. Riders are often advised to purchase a good set of winter tires for the cold months, but tire chains offer the option of saving money while keeping riders safe on the trails, or at work.

Keep it Clean

Rigorous cleaning of ATV tires isn’t just for mud riders. It’s easy to neglect the small things when riding, especially in the winter when your ATV demands extra TLC. However, mundane tasks such as cleaning your ATV tires can evolve into a serious problem once neglected. Dirt and water are a tire’s kryptonite. If you’re riding for work or fun this winter, make sure to keep those tires and wheels dry to avoid rust and premature corrosion.

Check Air Pressure

Each day, tires lose air pressure, so it’s important to check your tires pressure routinely. As temperatures drop, the air pressure goes with it. On average, tires lose roughly one pound of pressure per month in the winter. Since air pressure is paramount to the longevity of your tire, diligence is necessary when the weather gets cold. It’s advised to check your tires once a month, and when pressure is low, add the amount required for your particular ATV tire.

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