Buying an ATV for the first time can be a great experience, but it's easy to get wrapped up in all of the excitement and overlook the importance of safety. Before you take that new ATV out on the trail, it's important to ensure that it is safe and ready to ride. Here are the things you need to address before each ride.
Top Off the Fluids
Always check the fluid levels in the ATV before heading out. Low levels of oil or coolant can destroy the engine. You might think that there's no need to check these things on a brand-new ATV, but you can't be sure that it was shipped with the proper levels of fluids to begin with, so you need to double-check. You should also check before each ride in case there's a leak that you haven't identified.
Check the Tires and Lug Nuts
Make sure all of the tires have tread on them and are properly inflated. This is important because the tire inflation will directly affect how the ATV handles on the trail. While you're at it, make sure all of the lug nuts are tight. Even if they were torqued at the factory, the vibration in transport may have jiggled them loose. You should check them before each ride too, as vibration from the trail may cause them to loosen.
Set the Clutch and Shifter
Before each ride, test the engagement of the clutch. Make sure it's engaging where it is comfortable for you. You can often adjust it so that the clutch engages without your having to let go of the handlebar completely. Just move the adjustment wheel a little bit as you test the engagement to find the right spot for your comfort.
The shifter, positioned by your foot, is usually installed in a default position. That isn't always the best for riding. Wear the boots you'll wear when you ride, and then sit on the ATV. Check the position of the shift lever and make sure you can comfortably engage it without getting the toe of your boot stuck. Adjust the lever if needed.
These are just a few of the things you need to check with your ATV. Talk with the sales staff when you buy it to find out if there are any other features you should be concerned about, and ask about routine maintenance needs and other issues. The more attentive you are to the mechanical features, the safer your rides will be. If you find you need to buy replacement parts, talk with an ATV parts vendor near you.