If you're looking to buy or finance an ATV but don't have the space to store it inside - this is the post for you! Here are some tips that will help you safely store your ATV outside while limiting damage and ensuring your rig is as good looking (and valuable) as the day that you bought it!
If you're storing an ATV outside, a breathable cover is the best protection you can get. Without one, you may start to experience common issues like premature battery failure, blown light bulbs, electrical control switch failure, ignition switch failure, wiring corrosion. seizing brakes & controls, fastener corrosion, and UV damage to your plastic components. All of these problems come from moisture, and a plastic unfortunately won't help the cause. It will actually cause more damage in the long run as condensation builds up on the components. With that in mind, it is important to invest in a really good quality beathable cover - even in a dry climate, where the cover will protect from sun damage to the rubber and plastic components.
WD40 penetrating oil is an amazing product with numerous great properties. It repels water and moisture, guards against corrosion, and shields plastics and rubber from UV damage. If you're storing your equipment in the elements, you'll want to shield it from rusting. It is important to make sure that your components are cleaned and dried before applying WD40, since the oil can trap moisture in if your materials are still moist. I usually spray it on all of the electrical components, controls, bodywork, and engine. Honestly it works pretty much everywhere aside from your brake rotors.
This is absolutely one of the most important tasks that you'll tank to ensure your ATV runs after a long period of outdoor storage. Gas tanks in ATVs are vented through the gas cap. The air draws in as gas levels in the tank drop, creating moisture buildup over time if the ATV is idle for long periods. This moisture can corrode components in the carburetor. To prevent this, use a gas stabilizer and keep your tank full. A stabilizer is an additive you mix with the gas and prevents the gas from staling and buildup. Gas with ethanol mixes can also attract moisture and cause running issues, so be sure to drain the tank and flush the carburetor.
When storing your ATV outdoors for a long period of time, it is advisable to take out the battery and keep it indoors. Batteries are susceptible to cold temperatures and, once completely discharged, may be damaged beyond use or repair. Investing in a smart charger to keep the battery in top condition is recommended. Good ones can cost in and around the $100 mark, but it's worth it, especially if your ATV is not used frequently throughout the year.
These simple steps will help keep your ATV in good condition and make sure it is ready for use when you next need it. Remember, if you're taking the time to hibernate your ATV, it's worth taking extra steps, even beyond these, to ensure it remains in good condition for when you next use it. You may consider axle stands to keep the loat off of the tires, plugging your muffler to protect against rodents and refitting & lubing up your spark plugs. Thanks for reading and happy mudding!