If you’ve been a side-by-side enthusiast for a while, you’ll probably understand how important maintenance is for your budget and safety. Taking the extra time before and after trips to check your machine can pay dividends in the long-run for what can already be an expensive hobby. Here are some general guidelines from our UTV shop to help you maintain your side-by-side:
What to Check and When
One of the best parts of owning a side-by-side is being able to customize it, but that also means you may have (probably have) special considerations that won’t be covered here. However, in general, every UTV owner should check on the following parts throughout the riding season:
Oil, Transmission, and Nitrogen
Oil: With regular riding, oil should be checked before each trip and changed every 25 hours.
Trans: UTV transmission fluid can last between 50 and 75 hours before needing to be changed.
Nitro: You should check your nitrogen roughly every 500 miles or so for proper functionality.
Your Drive Belt and Air Filter
Getting a great side-by-side drive belt with a fantastic warranty can help with maintenance costs. Before each trip, visually inspect your machine’s drive belt for imperfections like nicks and cracks, or for a glazed look that can cause slipping and breaking.
Air filters are fairly low maintenance as long as you check them frequently. Check them every two to three trips, especially in dusty terrain. You may have a reusable air filter that simply needs to be cleaned. We like the K&N reusable air filters if you have a RZR or Can-Am that fits them.
UTV Tires, Shocks, and Brakes
Tires are an extremely specific UTV part because of different riding styles and terrains. Check the tire tread before each trip and make sure your tire pressure matches what you’re doing. In general, a 14 PSI tire pressure is good (8-10 PSI for beadlocks).
Your suspension system is impacted by the quality of your shocks. Before each trip, check your shock seals for leaks, and make sure your shocks don’t look rusted or overly compressed.
Brake pads can be checked during tire rotations, which you can do during each oil change for an easy way to check off these crucial maintenance pieces. (That’s every 25 hours of use.)
Zerks, Lights, and Accessories
Make sure you grease your zerks to avoid your driveline seizing up. Check for adequate grease once or twice a year, depending on how often you use your machine.
To stay safe, check your lights before each trip. Going off-roading at night is a blast, and it’s always a bummer when you can’t go out safely because of a bad brake light.
Any accessories you’ve added to your UTV should also be double-checked before trips. Safety equipment, such as fire extinguisher mounts, can easily be overlooked after their initial install.
Blow Out Your Clutch!
One thing we see that can cause a lot of problems if neglected is your side-by-side’s clutch. Blowing out the clutch is extremely important for the long-term performance of your UTV. If you're riding through dusty terrain, you’ll need to blow it out more frequently. A good general rule is every 3 rides.
Other Maintenance Considerations
These are points to keep in mind that you can’t directly check and change on your machine. They’re important for UTV maintenance, though, and should be thought about just the same.
Your Riding Style Matters
If you roll your machine every time you go out, you're going to be in the UTV shop a lot, and your bank account might be a little less full because of it. Slowing down and doing your best to stay safe while still having fun will go a long way toward keeping your machine running smooth.
Don’t Skip Cleaning Up
We understand you might like mudding—and the more mud the better—but you need to clean up afterward to avoid rust and other excessive wear and tear. Taking a few minutes to hose down your machine before putting it into storage can save you from having to replace corroded parts.
Every Machine Is Different
Your side-by-side might need more or less maintenance than what we’ve discussed here. Know what aftermarket and custom parts you have so you can follow a maintenance plan that makes sense for your specific situation. If you need help with UTV maintenance, asking a professional a few questions can help clear up a lot of potential issues or problems. Give us a call if needed.
Professional UTV Maintenance and Repairs
Taking care of your UTV starts with the right knowledge and experience. R1 Industries is a professional side-by-side shop in Lindon, Utah, specializing in UTVs. Whether your machine started making a strange noise or you’re looking for suspension tuning, you can get it taken care of by giving our mechanics a call. Check out our 5-star reviews and schedule an appointment.