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How to Keep Your ATV from Overheating

How to Keep Your ATV from Overheating

When you want to hit the trail, there is a lot of prep work to be done before your all-terrain vehicle is ready to venture deep into the wilderness. Most riders have a checklist of chores to do before taking their ATVs for a ride, not to mention a number of accessories to pack. In all the chaos and excitement of getting your ATV ready, you might easily forget to inspect your engine’s cooling system. From California to Florida, the heat can be sweltering and may even put an ATV at risk of overheating. Luckily, a little preparation can help you from running into any heat-related trouble on the trail.

How to Keep Your ATV From Overheating

There are two things you must inspect to see whether the cooling system of your ATV’s engine is in good enough shape to ride: the radiator and the coolant. As the largest cooling component in your engine, it is important to inspect and clean your radiator on a regular basis. After all, radiators can become clogged with dirt, grass, mud, and other debris while you’re exploring an untamed landscape. When a radiator becomes soiled, it loses its ability to keep the fluid cool and becomes less efficient as a result. If a radiator becomes obstructed, it may not even run at all. That’s precisely why you have to take the time to inspect your radiator before you ride. Make sure the radiator is clean and free of debris. You must also make sure the coolant doesn’t need to be replaced. Radiator fluid, also known as coolant, should be changed every two years or as needed to prevent corrosion. You should check your coolant at least once per month and check its condition using a coolant tester. If the fluid needs to be replaced, it can be done in less than an hour!

  1. Remove the drain bolt and the cap. Double check the owner’s manual to confirm the exact location, but both the drain bolt and cap are typically located at the bottom of the radiator. To prevent slips, trips, falls, and other hazards, simply place a drip pan under the drain to catch draining fluid.

  2. Remove the water pump’s air bleeder bolt and place a drip pan under the pump to catch draining fluid. As with all automotive fluids, coolant must the disposed of properly at a recycling plant or your local landfill. You should not dispose of used coolant in the home garbage, down the drain, or in the backyard.

  3. Screw in the air bleeder bolt back to the water pump and the drain bolt to the radiator. Fill the radiator with water, remove the bolts again, and let the water drain. Repeat this process until the water draining from the radiator is completely clean.

  4. Pre-mix the radiator fluid with distilled water, a 50:50 mixture. If needed, you can also add antifreeze or an additive that doubles the wetting ability of water. You should always refer to the owner’s manual to check for correct ratios depending on the climate where you ride your ATV most often. Every kind of ATV will have different specifications.

  5. Place a funnel in the coolant tank and pour the coolant-water mixture into the funnel. There will be lines on the side of the tank indicating the correct level to pour. Replace both caps and the rubber gasket once the tank is filled.

Many things can happen to your machine in the spring and summer, but overheating doesn’t have to be one of them. Whether exploring potential hunt locations or completing your daily chores, it is important to keep your engine cool and running smoothly. If problems persist, you may have a damaged radiator or a bad water pump on your hands. Don’t take off for a ride if you know the coolant level is low, which will almost always spell trouble.