Last Updated: August 15th, 2023

ATV Repair Guide: DIY Step-By-Step Maintenance Guide

Atv Repair Guide: Diy Step-By-Step Maintenance Guide

ATVs, being a perfect off-road vehicle, undergo a lot of beatings from the rough terrains and might often get some small hiccups that would need some attention in the form of repair.

Especially when you are new to ATV riding, the chances of slight repair requirements will come up easily. This would frustrate you, and the quick repair charges might add up to a lot at the end of the month.

As you try to learn more about your All-Terrain Vehicle, the knowledge will help you to handle your ATV on rough roads in such a way as to cause less damage. Common repairs would also make you wait for the ATV, and you won’t be able to go on an adventure even if you have time.

If you learn how the ATV system works and use the DIY techniques in the right way, a lot of problems will disappear for you. However, experts recommend sticking to the easy and common repairs only.

If it’s anything else besides the simple ones, then it is not suggested to try for yourself. Knowing the parts price and the market charges of an ATV professional repairer will help you assess the costs better.

You need to make sure that out of fear, you don’t cut slacks off your adventure in the wild.

If you drive extremely slow and carefully through terrain with the constant lookout for any kind of threat that might cause slight problems to the ATV then the adventure would be ruined for you.

The ATV problems which occur often

According to various ATV communities, it can be concluded that there remain several problems that are more common to occur in your ATV than the other problems.

At the top of the list remains the failure of ignition, which means your ATV is not being able to start. The spark plugs also might malfunction several times.

Besides this, the carburetor might also show signs of defect sometimes.  Thus, first, you need to at least learn what every part of your ATV is called.

The battery you will be able to easily identify which also goes dead sometimes. The clutches along the handle might also need repair often due to the rough handling.

The suspension of the ATV also might be displaced, which would require the attention of an expert. There isn’t much to worry about the tires as they are made for off-road traveling, but in rare cases of sharp nail infusion or barbed wire, the tire might get damaged.

Now not every problem you would be able to solve for yourself, but atv repair should be learned by every ATV owner for at least the basic fixes.

There remain two procedures of routine atv repair or maintenance which every ATV owner can learn and is simple to remember. The two processes are changing the oil and changing the air filter.

There is more to the routine procedure than the urgent repairing sector. You need to first gather the information and then start with the slow practice of the steps involved in the changing process. The oil needs replacement so that the sludge can’t settle over the engine, creating malfunctions later on.

Oil Change DIY

The experts suggest the rule that the oil should be changed after the time when the ATV has reached or crossed the one-hundred hour of riding time. The following items you will be needing before changing the oil:

  • Specific filter as mentioned by the brand.
  • An oil pan.
  • New and clean oil.
  • Wrench specific to the oil filter.
  • Some cloth to clean dirt.

The first step in atv repair through an oil change is to start the engine of your ATV and wait for a few minutes. This will warm up the system, and the oil will flow freely.

After ten to twelve minutes, it’s time to turn off the engine. Now pull off the seat and other panels which are necessary to have access to the oil filter.

Then it’s time to remove the dipstick, but before you do that, use the cloth to clean the space and remove any debris which might be stuck in there.

You should be able to find the plug, which will be present under the carriage for draining purposes. After placing the oil pan in the right position, it’s time to pull off the plug and let the battered oil get poured out.

You need to remove the oil filter as well, along with a wrench, and abandon it too. Now it will be required to replace the drain plug. Then the oil filter, which is new, needs to be fixed after putting some oil around the O-ring and then screwing in position properly.

After placing the dipstick, you are quite finished. Just pour the new oil and let it heat, and find its way around the system by leaving the engine started for five minutes.

Cleaning the air filter of your ATV

Learn to fix your ATV for the basic changes at least so that you can save some money and learn more about your ATV.

Taking care of your ATV by doing the simple repairs would make you more attached emotionally to the vehicle and will feel like a friend even if you are riding along empty terrains. If you have been wondering recently on the question- How to repair ATV?

Then you have found the right place to gather the information and try your hands with the process.

You might have already enlightened yourself to the knowledge of replacing the oil of your ATV. Now the other most common ATV problem besides that is cleaning the air filter.

Firstly you need to find the air filter below the seat.

You need to use the latch towards the back of the vehicle and focus on the work to avoid flaws.

When you are trying to do the task of replacing or cleaning the filter, you must do it in the morning or a place where the availability of light is plenty. Make sure that the wind is not very strong so that more dust or debris enters the vehicle system.

After removing the air filter, it needs to clean carefully with dishwashing liquid and water just in the way you would clean your dishes. Leave the air filter to dry in an open place.

Let it dry naturally without using sunlight. You should also try to clean the filter with a dry cloth and your bare fingers.

This would help in much better cleaning, although wiping the filter is necessary before the wash and after the wash. When the air filter has dried, be careful about replacing it in the vehicle, as the gasket present is delicate and might get damaged if you are not careful.

Belt checking and repairing on your own

The presence of transmission belts in the ATV allows modern-day riders to ride through without the use of the manual clutch. This transmission belt allows the rider to shift ranges with ease.

But these belts undergo a lot of stretch and strain and also depend on the rider’s control capacity and maneuvering. The road matters the most to the transmission of belts.

If it repeatedly has to handle extremely rough roads with water streams, regions with stones, and mud filling, then the belt would require regular checks after the ride finishes. It is not at all easy to check the transmission belt, and it might get very troublesome for you.

But don’t worry, and there are other ways to guess the condition of the belt. The signs to read for damaged belt condition:

  • Shifting the vehicle would become much more complicated.
  • There would be a disturbance in the performance of the vehicle, and it would not seem smooth to operate.
  • Often you would get a burning rubber-like odor but would be able to identify the spot.

Although belt replacing is more of an expert mechanics task, you can at least identify if the belt needs replacement or not.

If you want to try a step further, you should try taking off the belt from the vehicle.

First, you should remove the cover of the belt with the help of an ideal screwdriver. The cover you will find on the left portion of the engine.

Look for manufacturing marks before taking off the belt to be sure about the positioning of the new belt. If there are no marks or you don’t find it for some reason then use chalk to help yourself.

Applying pressure on the sheave present on the inner side of the driven pulley. You will find this pulley on the right side when you are facing the ATV.

You need to rotate the pulley in a precise clockwise direction to make the pulley halves separate. It is time to roll the belt from the pulleys as the belt would be free from the physical tension and would loosen much. By following the steps, you will learn to fix your ATV.

But if you are willing to replace the new belt on your own, then you can give it a try as well. Only replace it if you find all the signs of damage are present and you are easily able to take it off.

Trying out the answers to the questions like ‘How to repair ATV?’ is a clever decision, but you should force trying to fix everything on your own.

But if you are good at it, here are the steps to fixing a new belt:

  • Watch out for the manufacturer’s markings or the chalk marks you made for correct positioning. Then place the new belt on the left pulley, then try to roll the free side of the belt over the driver pulley, which you already know is on the right side. Now rotate the sheave on the inner side only in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • When the belt is totally in an ideal position, then you need to release the inner sheave off the driven pulley on the right. You can now replace the cover and put the screws in with the screwdriver.
  • After starting the ATV, you need to raise the throttle slowly. You will be sure of proper installation when the drive belt involves the drive train.

You should be aware that the above-mentioned procedure is ideally stated for a Polaris atv so there might be some changes in positioning for other ATVs. But most of the facts would still be the same with all ATVs.

Tire repairing

The tires used in ATVs are special balloon tires that are made for rough terrains. But rarely on the off-road tracks, there might be sharp objects like nails, spikes, or wood scraps.

So in rare cases, the tires do get damaged and, like any other vehicle, will require a tire change. When the damages would occur, you might not notice immediately as the ATV tires won’t go into a total puncture just then.

So you need to check every time after your ride completes. You should also check the tires beforehand for inflation. If the tires don’t have sufficient air, they would much more easily get damaged. These very basic and easy checks would keep your ATV healthy and perfect in function.

Along with a mini air compressor in your home, you can always maintain the tires at ideal pressure. Try avoiding a tire gauge for checking the tire pressure of the ATV. ATVs are special tires so they require a tire gauge for the low-pressure feature.

When your tire gets a puncture spot, you will definitely need a tire plug kit to take care of it on your own. The first task would be to identify the location of the puncture on the whole tire. The use of soapy water will help you identify the spots much sooner.

Use the ream from the tool kit for the reaming purpose of the tire. The plug will need to be attached along a rough surface.

After you have made the surface elongated so that the plug can be fixed, clean the mouth of the plug with a cloth and place it on the hole and push it inside using a tool installer from the kit.

After the plug goes inside and the work of the plug is completed. Then using adhesive for the finish-up would help a lot.

Rescuing from the mud trap

It has often happened that riders have got their ATVs into a terrible space of mud and water where the ATVs have sunk by half.

But as these risks of ATV damage are common when riding through extremely muddy terrains, you should also know what to do when such a terrible scenario occurs with your ATV. Just looking at your ATV in a sunken critical state would provoke a lot of panic.

But don’t worry because whatever damage will occur it can be fixed, and your ATV will not be totaled by such incidents.

If you notice water seeping into the engine as well along with other parts, then it is time to call for help. Turn off the engine and leave the vehicle in that spot by jumping out.

The first task is to find the easiest way to get the ATV out of the mud and water. Do not try to start your engine back, as modern vehicles have a system of being hydro-locked.

This means the engine is trying to save itself, so trying to fire up the engine and get it out would make your ATV sink further, digging into its surroundings.

Drain the air filter

It is highly probable that the air filter will be contaminated with water and mud. The air filter box needs to be cleaned as soon as possible to prevent water seeping into the engine.

Take off the seat carefully and remove the air filter after opening the box. If your ATV is from Honda, you will also likely have a crankcase filter, and you need to remove that as well easily.

If you see signs that the filter has been severely damaged, then remove the whole air filter box. Clean off the mud and water with a dry cloth, and be very careful if your filter is of the foam kind. Let it dry in the open, and find some oil suitable to apply to the filter body.

If your ATV has a paper filter, then it will not be in the reusable state; you need to replace it with a new one. Place the whole airbox under a strong LED to check the spots where mud might still be stacked in little portions.

Pull the entire ATV into a different position

You need to change the normal position of the vehicle so that you can have more access and a better view of the damages.

Also, portions in the vehicle might haven’t been cleaned or drained of the water. You need to get some friends and use a strong rope with a towing jack to carefully pull the vehicle into a ninety-degree position.

You need to carefully pull the rope by hand and have a strong fellow standing much closer to the ATV to block the extra force that might make the ATV stumble a fall on its top.

Don’t be surprised if your ATV starts rinsing out water from its rear in a vital amount. The water obviously could have reached places where your fingers couldn’t, so let the ATV stay like that for more than ten minutes.

Have two friends hold the vehicle opposite where you will be cleaning the extra mud off. It is very important to remove the water from the system so that the engine and the exhaust can start healing.

Check the tubes and stator.

Proper cleaning of the air inlet and breathing tubes is very important. No mud or debris should remain in the portion, or otherwise, it might get further sucked into the engine when the vehicle is started again.

For ideal cleaning of the breathing tubes, you need to take off the breathing tubes and rinse them in clean water. After applying pressured water through the tubes it would become clean.

But only fix them back after applying the tube has totally dried.

If your ATV has been in the water for a long time then it is highly probable that the water would have entered the stator housing as well.

Identify the stator cover and remove only the cover to let the trapped water come out. The air compressor you would be using for inflating tires might be of great use for other purposes too.

Using the air compressor in intelligent angles around the stator and other parts of the vehicle, you can get any water out that might still be stuck.

You can even take the help of the hairdryer inside the house and use it in low intensity on the outer parts mainly. After the stator dries out, don’t forget to put back the cover.

Not all ATVs have a belt-driven transmission, but if you have it in your vehicle, then you are lucky. You will probably find a drain plug at the bottom of it that can be opened easily.

Otherwise, you need to open the belt housing cover to clean it. The cooling system in the ATV also will need flushing if your ATV has been into a submerged state in the mud.

The overflow dent can be opened for the muddy water to enter.


Why is it beneficial for ATV owners to learn basic repair and maintenance procedures?

Learning basic ATV repair and maintenance procedures can save owners money in the long run, provide a deeper understanding of their vehicle, and ensure the ATV remains in optimal condition. It also reduces the dependency on professional mechanics for minor issues and enhances the overall ATV riding experience.

What are some common problems that ATV owners might encounter?

Common problems that ATV owners might face include ignition failure, malfunctioning spark plugs, carburetor defects, dead batteries, clutch issues, and suspension displacement. Additionally, tires might get damaged due to sharp objects on off-road tracks.

How can one perform an oil change on their ATV?

To change the oil in an ATV, start the engine and let it run for a few minutes to warm up the system. Turn off the engine, remove necessary panels to access the oil filter, and clean the area around the dipstick. Place an oil pan under the ATV, remove the drain plug to let out the old oil, and then remove the oil filter. Replace the drain plug, install a new oil filter, and pour in the new oil. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes to circulate the new oil.

How can one clean the air filter of their ATV?

To clean the air filter, locate it usually below the seat, remove it, and clean it with dishwashing liquid and water. Allow the filter to dry naturally, wipe it down with a dry cloth, and then reinstall it. If the filter is made of paper and is severely damaged, it should be replaced.

What steps should be taken if an ATV gets stuck in mud or water?

If an ATV gets stuck in mud or water, it’s essential not to start the engine as it might cause further damage. Call for help and try to move the ATV out of the mud. Once out, drain the air filter, check tubes and the stator, and ensure no water has entered essential parts of the ATV. Clean and dry all affected areas, and if water has entered the engine or other critical components, seek professional assistance.

How can regular ATV maintenance help in reducing repair costs?

Regular ATV maintenance can prevent significant, costly, and complex repairs in the future. Routine tasks like following the recommended break-in procedures, changing the oil, maintaining a clean air filter, monitoring tire pressure, and checking the coolant level can maximize the lifespan of the ATV and ensure smooth performance.

What steps should be taken if an ATV engine is not starting?

If the ATV engine doesn’t start, begin by checking the battery with a multimeter. If the battery is functional, ensure the engine gets enough gas and spark. Potential issues might include the need to replace spark plugs, check the fuel pump and filter, or inspect the carburetor and injectors.

How can one address faded or scratched plastic parts on an ATV?

For faded plastic parts, options include sanding down to a new layer of plastic, using a heat gun, or employing a plastic restoration kit. Minor scratches can be sanded down and treated with a plastic restorer, while deeper scratches might require a plastic bonder or filler before sanding and finishing.


Atv repairs doing yourself can be an exciting affair. It would teach many things about the vehicle which you couldn’t have known only by driving.

Knowing the basic maintenance procedures and repair techniques would always keep your ATV in the best condition without worrying about underlying problems.

The saved money would sum up to a lot at the end of the year, and your DIY procedures would be totally worth it.

Now that you have already known the answers to How to repair ATV?

It is time to try your hands in the process. After you learn to fix your ATV, it is suggested by experts to at least leave the complicated ones to the experts.

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