Are you performing a pre-ride inspection? An easy way to remember what to check before riding is the acronym T-CLOC.
|T - Tires and Wheels||1. Air pressure – Always maintain the recommended tire pressure. If the tire pressure on one side is higher than on the other side, the vehicle may pull to one side.
2. Condition – Check for cuts or gouges that could cause air leakage.
3. To avoid loss of control or injury, make sure axle nuts and wheel nuts are tightened and secured by cotter pins. Check these before every ride.
|C - Controls and Cables||
1. Controls - Check the location of all the controls by sitting on the ATV. Make sure they work properly.
2. Throttle and other cables – Make sure the throttle moves smoothly and snaps closed with the handlebars in any position. An off Controls and road environment is hard on cables.
3. Brakes – Do the controls operate smoothly and are the controls adjusted according to the owner’s manual? Are they positioned for easy reach? Your brakes are a crucial part of riding and must always be in tip-top condition.
4. Foot shifter – Is it firmly attached and positioned for safe operation?
|L - Lights and Electrics||
1. Ignition switch (if so equipped) – Check the condition of the switch and make sure it works properly by switching it off and on during your warm-up period.
2. Engine stop switch – Does it turn off the engine?
3. Headlight and taillight (if so equipped) – Are they working? You could be caught out after dark.
|O - Oil and Fuel||
1. Do not get stranded because you are out of oil or fuel. Know your ATV’s cruising range.
2. Check the oil level with a dipstick or sight glass while the engine is off. Check your owner’s manual for procedure.
3. Always start your ride with a full fuel tank.
4. Check for fuel or oil leaks.
5. Take off the air filter cover and check the condition of the filter element. Be sure it is clean and not torn or blocked.
|C - Chain and Drive Shaft Chassis||
1. Chain – Inspect, adjust and lubricate the chain regularly. Your chain is the vital link from the engine to the wheels. Check for chain slack or free play so that it is within specifications as described in your owner’s manual.
2. Driveshaft – If your ATV is equipped with a drive shaft rather than a drive chain, check for oil leaks. Maintain its oil supply as outlined in your owner’s manual.
3. Nuts n bolts – Riding in rough terrain will loosen parts. Look and feel for loose parts while the engine is off. Shake handlebars, footrests, etc., before each ride and periodically check fasteners.
Emergency situations can arise with any motor vehicle: running out of gasoline, a burned-out headlight at night, or unknown hazards on the trail. These situations are not only inconvenient but can result in unsafe conditions for ATV riders.
Riding off-road is not like being on the freeway with your car–the towing club is not just a phone call away. Since ATVs are for off-road use only, riders must be prepared by taking the right safety precautions. Fortunately, most ATV problems can be fixed on the trail if you carry a minimum assortment of tools and spare parts and know how to use them.
Each ATV comes with a basic set of tools. On extended rides or long trips, more than the basic tools should be carried to help make repairs, such as a spark plug, tire repair kit, electrical tape, spare bulbs, mechanic wire, duct tape, knife, and a flashlight if you ride after dark and a tow strap or length of rope that can be used if repairs are not possible. These items should be carried in addition to a well-stocked survival kit.
Following your owner’s manual maintenance schedule will help prevent most breakdowns, but once in a while, your ATV may fail. If you are riding kilometres from help, carrying the above items could save you a long walk. Remember you will not have your tennis shoes on!