While ATVs can be incredibly fun and useful in the winter, many people don’t have a use for them until spring comes around. If this is the case for you, your best option is to winterize your ATV. If you are going to be using your ATV throughout the winter, there’s no need to winterize it. But if your vehicle is going to sit for more than a month without use in the cold weather, it’s really best if you perform the right maintenance tasks to ensure your vehicle doesn’t get damaged by the cold.

In this post we are going to walk you through the right way to get your ATV ready for storage, whether you have a heated garage or you have to leave it outside, there are maintenance tasks you can do to decrease the chance of problems the next time you go to use your ATV.

Where Should You Store An ATV?

If you know you aren’t going to be using your ATV for more than a month, you are going to want to ensure you have your vehicle in the most protected area possible.

Storing an ATV in a Garage

If you have space in your garage, then you should store your ATV there as much as possible. Keeping your ATV from the harsh elements is the best thing you can do. If the flooring of your garage is concrete, it would be smart to get some wood blocks or pallets to put under your ATV’s tires. If you are going to have your ATV sit in a cold garage all winter, the concrete can get so cold that it may actually damage your tires. The wood blocks won’t get as cold so they should decrease the chance of ruined tires.

Storing an ATV in an Outdoor Shed

An outdoor shed is another perfect place to store an ATV. It may be slightly colder than a garage, but as long as the vehicle is away from sun, snow, rain, and wind it will surely help decrease the likelihood of damage during storage. Similar to a garage, if the flooring of your shed is concrete or metal you should grab some wood blocks or planks to prop the tires up on. Being off the ground will help the tires hold their air and will likely prevent damage.

Storing your ATV Outside

While you should ALWAYS store your ATV indoors if that’s possible, we know that may not be an option for some. If that’s the case it is incredibly important you get a cover for your ATV. A high-quality ATV cover will help keep the elements away from your vehicle. Make sure you get a waterproof cover that won’t let rain or snow trickle through. A nice thing about a high-quality cover is you can get one that is trailerable, so you can keep it on your ATV when you are towing it. This will help keep it out of harm’s way on the road.

Similarly to a shed or a garage, propping your ATV’s tires up on a wood block or plank will help decrease the likelihood of damage.

Clean Your ATV

While having a dirty ATV is a rite of passage, it can actually lead to irreversible damage. While dirt and mud might seem like not a big deal, they actually expose your vehicle to humidity. Mud and dirt trap moisture that can then break down and rust your ATV’s parts. If this happens over the winter, this can lead to an unusable vehicle when you try to use it in the spring.

This is why it’s important to thoroughly clean your ATV before storing it. Hose your ATV down, wipe and scrub off all dirt, mud, and sand. This will ensure you aren’t going to be a victim of preventable damage.

ATV Tire Storage

As we mentioned, you should prop your tires up on wood when you’re storing your ATV. There is actually a better way to ensure your tires stay in top shape. And that would be taking your tires off your vehicle completely. To do this you of course would need to prop your ATV up off the ground for the entire winter.

If you are able to take your tires off your ATV and prop your vehicle up, you will want to bring your tires into a mildly dry place. This way they won’t experience any wear or tear the whole season. This is because it’s the pressure from the weight of the vehicle mixed with the cold ground that can cause damage.

If you don’t want to take your ATV’s tires off, the next best thing is to make sure you fully inflate your ATV’s tires when you winterize your vehicle. You could also give them a boost of air throughout the winter, this way you can prevent the tires from going flat and getting damaged.

Preparing Your ATV Battery for Storage

When you go to store your ATV for the winter, the battery is a key part to not forget about. While there are a couple of options for preventing damage to your battery they each have their own pros and cons.

Removing Your ATV Battery from Your ATV

Similar to your ATV’s tires, the best thing you can do is disconnect your battery and move it to a cool dry place. You don’t want your battery getting too cold or hot while it’s being stored.

ATV Battery Trickle Chargers

If you want to truly ensure your ATV’s battery doesn’t get damaged you can get a trickle charger for the battery. A trickle charger will ensure the battery never goes empty and stays charged the whole time. Most trickle charges come with auto-off switches which makes sure they don’t get overcharged which also damages batteries.

One last thing to mention if you are going to take your ATV battery out of your ATV, is to not store it on concrete. Concrete can get very cold and will damage the battery. Just like your ATV’s tires, it’s best you store the battery on a wooden block.

Disconnecting Your ATV Battery

If you don’t have a place to store your ATV’s battery during storage then you need to at least disconnect the battery entirely. If you don’t disconnect your battery from your ATV battery wires you will definitely come back to a dead battery that might not function properly.

If possible, you could still hook up a trickle charger even if your battery is in your ATV. This is the best way to ensure it won’t die during storage.

ATV Fuel Maintenance Before Storage

Of course, your ATV’s fuel is important. You don’t want fuel going bad and possibly corroding in your tank. This won’t only ruin the fuel that’s currently in your tank, but it may taint any other fuel you pour in. Your ATV may have different types of fuel depending on the model. Each type of fuel has an ideal way to store it.

ATV Gasoline Storage

A major factor in how to deal with gasoline storage depends on what material your fuel tank is made out of. ATV fuel tanks are either made out of plastic or metal.

ATV Metal Fuel Tank Maintenance

If your ATV has a metal gas tank you will want to fill it up before storing it. Once you’ve filled your tank with gasoline, you should add a fuel stabilizer to it. Of course, look at your ATV’s owner’s manual to know which stabilizer is best for your vehicle. Adding a fuel stabilizer will help prevent the fuel from degrading while it’s sitting.

ATV Plastic Fuel Tank Maintenance

If your ATV has a plastic gas tank it’s recommended to entirely empty the tank before storing your vehicle. Emptying your fuel tank will help keep your tank corrosion free, so you won’t taint the fuel you’ll put in after storage.

What you should do with that fuel depends on a few factors. If the fuel is new, you could use it for a different tool or machine. If it’s been sitting in your ATV for a while, it’s better to bring that fuel to a place to dispose of it. Most dumps have fuel recycling that won’t be expensive at all for the small amount an ATV holds.

ATV Oil Maintenance for Storage

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that you shouldn’t leave old oil in your ATV over winter. You don’t want oil going bad, and allowing corrosion to spread throughout your vehicle.

Replace Old ATV Oil

If your ATV has oil in it that’s more than a month old, it’s best you drain it. Of course, this will depend a lot on how long you will be storing your ATV, if it’s only going to be a month, your oil will likely be fine, but if you’re going to be storing your ATV for many months you are not going to want old oil sitting in it.

After you’ve drained the oil, go ahead and fill up your ATV with fresh new oil. This new oil should be perfect for storage. It will ensure no corrosion is spreading, and that nothing is drying up.

Better Safe Than Sorry With ATV Fuel

While all this fuel maintenance may seem over the top and not worth it. Having an issue with your ATV’s fuel will cost you a lot more than this maintenance. The couple hours of fuel maintenance before storage can save you thousands of dollars of repairs that are entirely avoidable.

Taking Care of Your ATV

ATVs are incredibly fun and useful vehicles. They can last more than 10 years on average if cared for properly. If you follow these maintenance tips before storing your ATV, you’re going to be ensuring your vehicle lasts a lifetime. You’d be surprised how long a well-cared-for ATV can last.