If you own a quad bike then our Quad Bike & ATV Owners Guide is just what you need, take a look through this guide, it was compiled by our members here at Quad Heaven and has some very interesting information on general maintenance, things to look out for and much much more.
Perhaps you have something you would like to add to this list, if you do then, please feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to add it to the list.
Click the links below to go directly to that section of the guide:
Always use at least 2 tie-downs when transporting your quad, if your only use one and it snaps, you’ll be sorry.
Engine oil, the general rule of thumb is 10/40 in cold and 20/50 in the hot.
Set the chain tension as per manufacturer’s instructions - Half to one and a half inches slack.
Check tire pressure before every ride and make sure they are all even, quad tires can be a bit leaky, uneven pressure from tire to tire can drastically affect handling.
Properly snug all the controls on the handle bars, there’s nothing worse than grabbing a clutch or brake or pushing on the throttle only to have them shift around the handlebars. Don’t over tighten them, you should be able to pound the clutch or brake leaver with your fist and have it rotate. They will be less likely to break in a crash if there is a little give.
Check your oil level before and after each ride, this way you can easily gauge if and how much oil your machine is burning.
Adjust the handlebars so you’re comfortable, sit on the bike and adjust the bars so your wrists are straight, you don’t want them pitched forwards or backwards.
Old toothbrushes make good small parts cleaners and detail brushes for small nooks and crannies.
Plug the exhaust when pressure washing your bike, if water gets into the exhaust, tip your quad on its rear end for a few minutes to allow water to drain out, then run to the quad warm up and evaporate any remaining water.
When pressure washing do not blast directly at the seals (swing arm, axle carrier etc) as all this does is blast the dirt into them. A safe bet is to clean the area with low pressure wash and brush.
After washing your bike, always lubricate the chain by spraying WD40 over it, completely cover the chain well, ensuring you roll the bike back and forward to get to the areas where the chain is hidden. WD40 is cheap, non-sticky, and won’t attract the dirt, if you prefer you can purchase specialist chain lubricant to do this, however, favourable results have been found using WD40. Do this after a ride while the chain is warm as the lubricant will penetrate better.
If your quad is equipped with drum brakes and you ride in deep mud often (enough to bury the brake housing in mud) disassemble the brakes and clean them after every ride, it may sound like a lot of work but it will make the brakes last a lot longer.
Inspect your quads shocks after every ride, if the seals show any sign of oil release, get them service/maintained as soon as possible.
Swing arm bolts need grease, they have a tendency to lock up solid if they aren’t properly lubricated, this can also happen if you pressure wash your machine all the time, remove the swing arm bolt regularly and lubricate it with lithium based soap grease.
After washing your quad inspect the headlights to make sure no moisture is built up inside the housings, If there is disassemble it and dry it out and reseal the housing with waterproof silicon sealant.
After you wash your quad, dry it off, inspect all the fasteners and levers and ride the bike for a short while to dry it out. Apply wd40 to all the pivots, levers and the exhaust pipe to prevent rust and premature wear.
If you plan on storing your quad for a long period of time; i.e. winter months, always drain the fuel from the tank and carburettor boats completely.
Get a stand or lift for ease of maintenance. Your back will thank you.
If you ride regularly then every few months pull the shock bolts and make sure they are greased properly.
Change the oil often, approximately every 500 miles, modern 4 stroke engines can break down the additives in the oils fast.
Replace the antifreeze in your quad every 1-2 years as it degrades.
Use Scotchbrite on your brake discs to resurface them.
Scotchbrite pads are effective for removing stubborn gasket remnants as well as rust from exhaust pipes.
Lubricate your clutch and brake cables on a regular basis, spray a quick burst of wd40 into the cable housing to help keep action free.
Grab the tops of your quads front tires from the side and pull outwards on them to check the condition of the ball joints and wheel bearings.
Any corrosion on the battery terminals can be neutralised with a mixture of baking soda and water.
Lubricate the A-arm bushes, remove both the upper and lower a-arms to get to the bushes.
Ensure the rear brake caliper "floats" properly on the pins, disassemble the caliper and regularly grease the pins.
Grease the pivot points in your quads swing arm linkage. If neglected your quads suspension performance will suffer.
Use dielectric grease on all electrical fittings, it prevents corrosion and helps waterproof the electrical system.
Have someone press the rear brake pedal as you stand behind your quad, watch to make sure the caliper pivots float properly.
Replace hydraulic brake and clutch fluid once a year to prevent gum and deposits from fouling the system. Corroded calipers sometimes cannot be rebuilt, only replaced at high cost.
Keep an eye out for torn cv covers as once they tear there is no protection from mud and water to the cv joints.
The bearings/bushes in your quad’s steering column need to be checked regularly. Grab the bars and wiggle them both forward and backwards as well as up and down to see if there is any play.
Check the rear axle nut to ensure it’s properly tightened, the last thing you want is it to spin loose when you’re out riding.
Check your steering stem for signs of movement, if the stem rocks back and forth, replace the bushings in the upper mount or the lower bearings.
Always check the exhaust mounts for cracks, ensure the bolts are tight as they are prone to loosening from engine vibration.
Check the engine mount bolts to make sure they are tight, if they are lose apply red loctite to them before replacing them, this will ensure they stay tight in place.
Change your fouled spark plugs regularly, this will ensure your engine runs in perfect condition, 2 stroke owners should change them every couple of months.
Check the gear fluid in your quad often, the diff works hard so change the fluid on a regular basis.
Regularly inspect your chain roller, look for worn guides, bushings, the counter sprocket roller or even missing rollers.
Raise the quad off the ground and turn the bars to the left and right to check for any binding in the steering, make sure the clutch and/or throttle cables aren’t restricting the steering.
Check the condition of the gear lever, is it loose, is there any play in the lever? If so replace it, keep in mind though that in most cases the shifter shaft actually needs replacing not the shifter, that can almost always be done without splitting the cases.
Grab the rear grab bar with one hand and the axle with the other and move the quad up and down to check for a worn out suspension linkage.
Inspect your quads front end for bent tie rods, make sure they are tight with no slope or free play in the ends.
With the quad running turn the bars to full left and right to make sure the throttle does not stick at all, if the engine revs up then you need to adjust the throttle cable more to give it more play. If you have twist throttle make sure it is not pushed on so far that the end of the throttle tube rubs on the end of the handle bar.
Check cables for proper free play, clutch cables should have 2-3mm of play, If the cable is set too tight the clutch will slip and then prematurely fail, set throttle free play at 1mm, if it is set too tight it will keep the carburettor open and too loose and will not open the carburettor all the way.
Look for cracks in your nerf bars, they take quite a pounding and are made from aluminium that can develop hairline cracks.
With the quad jacked up off the ground, grab a wheel and gently pull the wheel towards you to see if there is any play in your axle carrier bearings.
Check the coolant level before every ride, sometimes you can’t tell if your bike has overheated until you look in the radiator.
Check to see if the swing arm bolt is tight, if the bolt loosens up it could stretch out and oblong the quads frame.
To check your quads axle bearings pop the axle out, stick your fingers into the bearings and rotate them. If they feel good they are good. The chain side tends to wear out faster.
Replace your nerf bar nets once they start to sag or become frayed.
Repack the exhaust silencer when it starts getting loud, the noise indicates ear pollution and a loss of engine performance.
When changing your rear brake pads look at the pins to see if they are grooved, If they are replace them as pads wont move freely on grooved pins.
When installing a new chain lay it over the sprockets and measure it to make sure it fits properly, remember to position the carrier all the way forward when you make your mark before "breaking " the chain.
If you plan on adding an aftermarket pipe, you must also add an aftermarket air filter kit and rejet the carburettor for maximum performance.
When you replace the clutch friction plates, scuff the metal driven plates on flat concrete or sandblast them, this will give the clutch more bite and extend the friction plate life.
When removing bearings from cases use a propane torch to heat the case or housing as this will make the housing let go of the bearing. Freeze the new bearing prior to installation, it will easily drop into its bore.
If you powder coat your frame or other parts make sure you don’t coat any threaded areas or bolt holes if you powder coat the frame grind down the coating to the metal in the area where the earth wires attach, otherwise it is likely your bike won’t start.
If your quad is more than a few years old have the compression tested. A drop in compression will result in a significant reduction of power.
Tire slime works well on pinhole sized punctures, it’s a good rule of thumb to use a plug if your tire has a nail-size or bigger hole.
You can pound out small wheel dings using a ball peen hammer or mallet. Some people place a rag on the wheel to protect it, but its been found to be unnecessary.
If you are having steering problems, and your steering is binding, check the bushings and lower bearing to make sure that they are properly lubricated.
Always buy good fuel, high performance quad bike engines requires 92+ octane fuel.
Cable tie all loose wires together to keep them out of harms way.
Your shocks should have a certain amount of compression and rebound regardless of the type of shock, push and pull on the front and rear end of the quad, if it bounces like a pogo stick the shocks need attention.
Keep all foot peg bolts tightened.
TIPS AND TRICKS
After draining the oil from your quad bike drag a magnet through the used oil to see if there are any metal shavings in it. Keep an eye out for large amounts of shrapnel. If there is any then this may indicate a problem inside your engine.
If you need to take apart your quads rear suspension but want to keep all the bushing in the linkage intact then thread a cable tie through them to keep things tight.
Cracked plastics can be stitched back together using cable ties.
Use anti-seize compound on all brake calliper mounting bolts, axle nuts, hub nuts and anything that requires a torque wrench for assembly, this will make torque readings accurate, you can also use anti-seize compound on any fasteners that may interact with water.
To keep your handlebar grips from slipping off use safety wire to secure them.
Dip your finger in some light cooking oil and coat the outer edges on the foam on your goggles (not on the side that rests on your skin). The oil will keep fine dust particles from getting into your eyes through the goggles.
Eat before working on your quad as hunger tends to diminish concentration.
Use a good floor polish on plastics to keep them shiny and slick so mud will fall off. Don't get any on the seat or you will slide off!
You can straighten out bent clutch or brake lever by putting them gently in a vice, gently close the vice until the lever is back to its original position.
DO NOT leave your machine in gear to keep it from rolling in the back of your van/trailer as this will damage the quads gearbox in a hurry. Put the quad in neutral and utilise the parking brake. If it doesn’t have a parking brake then cable tie the front brake lever to the handlebars.