Wecome To RVs and OHVs

This blog is all about RVs (recreational vehicles) and OHVs (Off Highway Vehicles), camping, and survival
and how they work together to provide wholesome family fun and great learning opportunities.
Many posts are intended to familiarize novice campers and RVers with RV systems and basic camping and survival
skills. But even experienced RVers and campers will enjoy the anecdotes and may even benefit from a new
perspective. Comments, questions, and suggestions are encouraged.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

OHV Mechanical Maintenance

Like any other piece of machinery, an OHV is going to require a certain amount of maintenance.  Without it you will experience premature wear and equipment failure.  The last thing you want is for your dirt bike or ATV to break down when out on some remote trail miles from nowhere.  Performing regular maintenance will help minimize the chances of that happening.

Each machine is going to have its own maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer.  The maintenance schedule will be included in the owner's manual.  If you purchased a used machine and didn't get an owner's manual you may be able to find one at your local dealer or on the Internet.  In the meantime, there are many routine maintenance tasks you can perform to keep your machine in top shape.  You may have to guess about period between major tasks like changing engine or transmission oil or servicing hydraulic brakes and clutches but it wouldn't hurt (except perhaps in your pocketbook!) to do them once a year.  Engine oil should be changed more often, especially if the machine is getting lots of use.  2-stroke engines rely mostly on the oil mixed in the gas and don't have oil in the pan.  4-stroke engines do have an oil pan and pressurized lubrication systems and you need to keep an eye on the oil level (check it before every ride).  If when you check it is gritty or smells burned, it needs to be changed regardless of how recently it has been done.   Black oil is OK.  Most oils contain detergents to keep the engine clean so fresh oil can quickly become black soon after an oil change.  Other lubrication should be done as needed.  Drive chains should be lubricated before every ride and after they have been cleaned.  Wheel bearings and suspension should be lubricated several times a years, more often if your rides include water crossings.  Throttle, brake, and clutch cables should be lubricated frequently.  Because they are enclosed they probably don't need to done for every ride, but once a month would not be too often.

If you have the owner's manual, or can copy the maintenance schedule from someone who does, be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

Another significant part of routine maintenance is checking for and tightening or replacing loose or missing fasteners.  The constant vibration and sometimes jarring impacts OHVs experience causes bolts, nuts, and screws to work loose.  Using a thread locker like Loc-Tite will help keep them secure but is no substitute for checking them often (at least before every ride).

Some, but not all, OHVs have electric starters.  If yours does, it will  have a battery.  You will need to monitor the battery condition and make sure is properly charged for each ride.  Check the electrolyte level at least once a month and top it off with distilled water if it is low.  Use a "trickle charger" to keep the battery fully charged when your equipment is in storage between outings.

Brakes and clutches need regular adjustment to function properly.  Brakes that are too tight or clutches that are too loose will slip.  When that happens not only do they not function right, they will wear out quickly.  Brake pads or shoes can usually be changed by a fairly handy DIY mechanic at home.  Clutches often require special tools and techniques, but many riders learn how to do this themselves too.

Spending a little time and money doing routine maintenance will pay back many times over in avoiding expensive and inconvenient breakdowns out on the trail.  Maintenance may not be as much fun as using your OHV, but its a lot more fun than pushing it when it breaks down due to poor maintenance!

Work it!

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