ATV Spring Mud Maintenance Tips

Prepare for the new season

With spring just about to um....spring, and the heart of mud season just around the corner, our mud maintenance tips should certainly provide a good starting point to get your mud rig ready to roll. In a perfect world, It's a good idea to do most of these after every serious mud ride. However, in the event that your ATV/UTV maintenance schedule happens only as often as Donald Trump apologizes, you've got some work to do buddy! With much of the northern and high altitude parts of the country about to head into a mud-inducing spring thaw, do yourself a favor and pamper your machine by checking the box on them all.

Bath Time:

It's a phenomenal routine to wash your machine well before any service is done. I like to use Simple Green and a pressure washer. My pressure washer is an electric Karcher, which is more powerful than a garden hose, but not nearly as powerful as some of the higher quality gas washers. In the case of pressure washing an ATV, less is more. Lower pressure will not only help from forcing water into the bearings, it will also help from blowing the stickers off the plastic. The added benefit of working on a clean machine helps eliminate the risk of debris entering components during fluid changes. See our separate tip below about washing the radiator!ATV Rider

Dielectric grease:

Your ATV or UTV has a great deal of electrical connections that can become the achilles heal when mudding. With connectors that are subjected to mud and water, a generous coating of dielectric grease can help prevent electrical gremlins. I like to unplug the connector, slap on some grease, then reconnect.ATV Rider

Change Engine Oil and Filter:

Modern four-stroke engines are much more resistant to water than two-strokes. WIth that being said, long-term exposure to moisture is bad news. Since changing the oil and filter is both cheap and easy, swapping it out when any danger of water exposure is possible should be a no-brainer.ATV Rider

CVT Service:

The CVT drain plug should be opened up after every mud ride. If any water ever came out, a good CVT service is imperative. With the CVT cover removed, check the belt for damage and glazing. I like to use my air compressor to blow the primary and secondary clutches out. Black dust is normal and should escape. If water or rust is observed, removal of the clutches for further cleaning should be a real consideration.ATV Rider

New Grips:

If spring is a time for regrowth, then I think it's also a great time to replace the grips. A new, sticky grip will undoubtedly make it much easier to hold onto your steed when the going gets tough. Don't forget to secure the grips to the bars with some good quality grip glue or 3M Weatherstrip adhesive.ATV Rider

Unspool, Inspect, and Spool Winch:

A winch is a mudder's best friend. Therefore, this vital piece of equipment deserves your attention. Put the winch in free-spool and pull the whole winch line completely out. Inspect the line for any damage and replace if there is any question. To spool the winch line back in, the cable must have pressure on it. This will either require a helping hand from a friend, or if you have no friends, hook the line around an immovable object. I prefer to use the hitch on my truck when doing it alone (followed by crying myself to sleep), then lightly hold the brake on the quad and allow the winch to pull the spool tight.ATV Rider

Service Disk Brakes:

Mud and crud are super hard on disk brakes. I like to pull the wheels off and spray water around the area of the rotor and caliper. Grease and oil can sometimes get flung onto the brakes. In that case, I utilize brake cleaner to spray the area until clean. Inspect the brake pads and if they are worn, replace them.ATV Rider

Service Air Filter and Airbox:

If you're running in the mud, hopefully you're using a quality oiled foam filter like Twin Air or Uni. Cleaning and re-oiling the filter is the first step. Before putting the filter back in, I like to place a rag in the intake for protection, then wipe out any debris with a paper towel and Simple Green. Finally, I break out my Shop Vac and suck up any debris on or near the rag protecting the intake.ATV Rider

Grease it Baby:

If your machine has grease zerks, do yourself a favor and find them. WIth a quality grease gun and water resistant grease, the service life of those joints increases exponentially.ATV Rider

Inspect CV Boots:

Ripping through the murky mud helps raise the possibility of inadvertently tearing the boot on the CV axle joints. Inspection of the CV axle boots is imperative. A ripped boot will let grease escape and allow mud and water to infiltrate the joint. Eventually, the joint will fail and leave the machine inoperable. When caught early, a new boot can be replaced before the whole axle is destroyed.ATV Rider

Inspect Bearings, Bushings:

Swingarms, A-arms, steering stems, spindles, and sway bars are just a few parts that utilize bushings and bearings. With the vehicle jacked off the ground, wiggle those parts to check for "play". Any significant play spells trouble, and those inexpensive bushings and bearings should be replaced to help prevent more expensive damage from occurring to their accompanying parts.ATV Rider

Check Tires:

Lower tire pressures (3-4psi) provide better traction than highly inflated tires. Low tire pressure makes it easier to pop a bead, especially with tall set of tires. Beadlock wheels prevent the beads from popping and allows the tire to be run at lower pressure. If you don't have beadlocks, you just need to figure out your sweet spot for pressure. If any of the tires have leaked down, check for punctures, leaking around the bead, or leaking from the valve stem.ATV Rider


I love WD-40. WD-40 is probably best known for lubricating moving parts, but it has other uses as well. WD-40 dissipates moisture, so it will actually help repel moisture from he nooks, crannies, and nether regions of your machine. WD-40 is also awesome for helping to prevent mud from sticking. Before every ride, I spray everything but the seat, handgrips, throttle, and brake levers with WD-40 to help keep the mud off and make cleanup much easier.ATV Rider

Flush Radiator Fins:

Washing your ATV or UTV is pretty straight forward and really doesn't require much instruction. However, special attention should be paid to the radiator. I refrain from using a pressure washer for the radiator due to the possibility of high pressure bending the fins. I instead use a standard hose and begin to squirt water at the top, from both the front and rear of the radiator. Working my way from the top down, I make sure to keep spraying the radiator until no more muddy water flows out. After a long day of mudding, I've spent as long as ten minutes trying to get the radiator clean!ATV Rider

Front and Rear Differential Service:

Good differential lubrication is as essential and important as good engine and transmission lubricant. Take the time to change both the front and rear differential oil frequently when exposed to mud and water.ATV Rider