There’s nothing quite like the exhilarating feeling of a new ATV. Getting to know your vehicle and breaking it in for the first time really sparks our adrenaline and whets our taste for adventure. Preserve the life of your beloved vehicle with these 5 essential do-it-yourself ATV care tips, and you’ll find yourself enjoying your purchase for years to come.
Top Off the Fluids
No, we aren’t talking about when you kick back a bottle of water or a few cold brewskis after a hard ride. Before you set out on your ATV, you want to inspect and top off any necessary fluids, including your oil and coolant.
Running low on either of these things can mean bad news for your engine, which is why it’s important to stay on top of it. Although good mechanics like those at Gator Sports always check these things for you upon each maintenance visit, a quick check before every ride will ensure your ATV stays in tiptop shape.
Maintain Your Tire Pressure
Keep your ride smooth and your tires lasting long with this simple, yet essential ATV maintenance tip. You will save yourself a ton of money by taking proper care of your tires. Plus, you’ll enjoy the ride more when the pressure is just right.
Keep in mind that this isn’t just a recommendation for your regular home ATV maintenance—it’s also necessary for your safety. Riding on tires that are too low or too high can lead to all kinds of day-spoiling problems. From flats to reduced control of your vehicle, it’s not worth the risk.
Not sure how to check your own tire pressure? Don’t worry, it’s easy and the tools you need are cheap to buy. Click here to learn how to check the air pressure in your tires.
Maintain Your Air Filter
We probably don’t have to tell you how important air flow is to your engine. Keeping your air filter clean so that your engine can breathe should be a priority for all ATV owners. You can help keep dust and other debris out of your motor by oiling the air filter where it meets the airbox. The oil will help catch finer particles of debris that would normally pass right through the air filter itself.
Customize Your Ride Position
When it comes to ATV’s, the design isn’t one size fits all. You have to adjust the handlebars and more to suit your body’s unique size. Doing so not only makes the ride more comfortable for you, but it also makes it safer to operate while accommodating your body’s natural form.
Among the things you should check and adjust if necessary are:
- Handlebar Placement
- Clutch Levers
- Break Levers
These adjustments will give you confidence over your control while riding. If you aren’t sure about how to go about these adjustments or you would feel safer leaving it up to a professional to help custom fit your ATV, simply make an appointment with us. Our team will be happy to do this for you!
Tighten the Lug Nuts
Transit—whether it’s from the dealer to the showroom or from your house to the next trail—can rattle those lug nuts until they come loose. Any time you travel, make sure to check these bad boys and tighten and torque them back up before using your ATV. Aluminum wheels in particular are prone to loose lug nuts, so make sure you spare a few seconds of your time. You should always have a repair/tool kit with you when you travel anyway, just in case you find yourself in need of emergency repairs.
For more information on ATV maintenance or to set an appointment to have yours done by the pro’s here at Gator Sports, give us a call at 863-675-1464. You can also learn more about proper engine care before a ride by clicking here.
There is a lot of prep work to be done before hitting the ATV trail, especially if you’re venturing deep into the wilderness. From packing the necessities to prepping your vehicle, most of us have a checklist of things we must do prior to going on a ride, but is your engine’s cooling system on it?
The Florida heat is known to be sweltering. Don’t run the risk of you and your ATV overheating. Incorporate these cooling system inspections into your pre-departure to-do list. A little preparation can go a long way in preventing disaster on the trail.
Checklist for Your ATV’s Cooling System
There are 3 different things you must check in order to ascertain whether your cooling system is in good working order: your radiator, the coolant condition, and evaluating whether coolant replacement is necessary.
Inspect and Clean Your Radiator
The radiator is your engine’s largest cooling component. Hitting the untamed landscape can do a number on your radiator, clogging it with mud, dirt, grass, and other debris as you’re exploring the great outdoors. The problem with this is that when your radiator and aluminum fins become soiled, it impedes their ability to cool the fluid inside of it, making it less efficient. If your radiator is too obstructed, it may not be able to function at all.
So how do you fix this? Simply take the time before each ride to inspect your radiator and make sure that it is clean and free of debris that may prevent it from pulling air through.
Identify Your Coolant Condition
Next, you’ll want to take a look at your coolant condition. To do this you will need to pick up a coolant tester from your local auto parts store. A simple coolant tester is extremely cheap and good to have on hand, whether you’re using it on your ATV or your everyday motor vehicle. Unless you’re looking for something high tech, you should be able to purchase one for under five dollars.
Once you have one on hand, you’ll want to locate the coolant for your ATV engine. You shouldn’t be able to see it at first glance. Typically, it is hidden from sight, which is why so many individuals forget to check it prior to heading out for a ride.
If you discover that your coolant needs to be replaced, don’t attempt this on your own. This process should be handled by a trained and certified mechanic. Having the ability to analyze your own coolant is simply a way to save you both time and money by independently determining whether the coolant is still usable.
When to Get a Coolant Replacement
Even if your coolant passes the tester’s evaluation, you may have a reason to replace your coolant. If you’re about to embark on a trail or job that will put extreme duress on your ATV, it may be worth the extra effort of replacing your coolant before the ride. This includes terrain that is constantly muddy or jobs where you are carrying extreme loads back and forth throughout the day.
Also, keep in mind the type of coolant you use matters. When in doubt, ask your local ATV mechanic what options would work best for your make and model. You can contact the friendly staff at Gator Sports in LaBelle by calling 863-675-1464, and we will be happy to help!
For more information on ATV maintenance, prep, tips, and safety, take a look at our ATV blog.
Most of us have seen “four-wheelers” and other ATV’s driving around, sometimes for recreational use and other times for commercial purposes. They’re pretty common, especially within the South Florida area. But what are ATV’s exactly, and what are their purpose? For those unfamiliar with these exhilarating and useful vehicles, Gator Sports has put together the perfect article.
What are ATV’s?
The term ATV stands for All-Terrain Vehicle. It encompasses a variety of models and styles designed for various purposes. These vehicles go by several different names, including:
- Quad bike
In some cases, ATV’s can be designed for street legal use, but in general they’re for off-road or private land use. You’ll find them in the military, agricultural areas, nature preserves, outdoor labor jobs, and other similar settings.
All of these vehicles operate on low pressure tires, a seat that is often straddled by the navigator, and handlebars to steer.
What are ATV’s Used For?
ATV’s are often used as a source of recreation. The adrenaline rush of exploring nature and the wild outdoors on the back of an off-road vehicle make it an attractive pastime in Southwest Florida and across the nation.
But did you know they’re used on the job quite often, too? ATV’s are capable of all kinds of tasks, such as snow plowing, killing weeds, winching, camping, hunting, mowing, plowing, transporting materials, and much, much more!
The secret of its versatility is in the various models and customizable options. You can customize your ATV based on what you want it to do. ATV’s are sturdy, rugged, multi-faceted vehicles capable of taking on off-road jobs that a regular vehicle simply cannot.
Are ATV’s and UTV’s the Same?
Not necessarily. They’re in the same family, but they vary in function. An ATV as we stated before is an All-Terrain Vehicle. It typically is designed for one rider. A UTV is a Utility Task Vehicle designed to fit between two to six individuals per vehicle.
UTV’s are designed for specialized jobs, hauling heavy objects, and street legal functions. ATV’s are fast, nimble sports vehicles. You’ll find ATV’s used in sports and exploring the great outdoors more than their UTV cousins.
Shopping for a New or Used ATV or UTV?
If so, we invite you to stop by our Gator Sports showroom in LaBelle. From new models to amazing custom designs, we have a variety of new Polaris ATV’s and used vehicles for you to browse. If you have a question or want to make sure we have the right item in stock before you swing by, just give us a call at 863-675-1464. Our professional and friendly staff are happy to assist!
We even have a parts and service department to help you with any current ATV needs, repairs, or modifications. Even if we don’t have a unique part in stock, give us a heads up and we’ll order it for you. It’s just part of how we at Gator Sports go the extra mile to take care of our customers.
When you think of ATV riding, stretching may not be a skill or practice that comes to mind. However, it is an important routine to incorporate into your habits. The benefits of stretching not only help prevent injury and soreness, but also improves your muscle strength. Take a look at how it works:
Regular Stretching Makes You More Resistant to Injuries
Without active stretching, our muscles become tight. That tightness is more than just uncomfortable. It leaves us more vulnerable to injuries because it doesn’t take much to push them outside of their comfort zone.
Stretching gives your muscles a wider range of motion, expanding their resistance to injury. How does this work to your advantage? Let’s assume you miscalculate while riding your ATV and find yourself in an accident.
Flexibility reduces your risk of injury because it enables your body to be more limber. This means that your body is more likely to give way to any unexpected momentum or force without causing damage because it is more capable of withstanding extreme or sudden movements. With expanded flexibility, you become less likely to incur muscle strains, soreness, and even torn muscles and ligaments.
You’ll also find that you won’t feel as much of that muscle soreness that often lingers after a hard race or ride. This is because stretching helps clear your body of the lactic acid that builds up when your muscles are in use.
Talk about a great advantage on those tough rides!
Stretching Actually Makes Your Muscles Stronger
Did you know that flexibility can lead to stronger muscles? We’re not kidding! You see, your muscles aren’t naturally flexible. You have to stretch them consistently in order to build up their tolerance for expanded range of motion.
The stretches that increase your flexibility put your muscles under stress, challenging them to reach and bend farther than they naturally desire. This requires strength to push those muscles further than they previously could and withstand the resistance.
Pretty cool, right?
These are just a few reasons why stretching is advantageous to your ATV training or workout routine. To learn more about our ATV tips and tricks, read the rest of our Gator Sports blog!
Public trails are a gift to ATV riders. However, with that gift comes a level respect that every ATV owner and enthusiast is expected to uphold, whether it’s posted publicly or not. We call it riding etiquette, and it’s universal for us. For those who are new to writing or just never learned the expectations, here are the rules for riding an ATV on public land.
Respect the Rules
Every riding trail and public location has its own set of rules regarding hours, where you can ride, and where not to ride. Pay attention and follow the rules. They are set in place for many reasons, including to keep you safe, preserve the area, and keep the surrounding wildlife protected.
Always ride in the middle of the trail. This will help you avoid widening it. Also, make sure you never litter. Instead, bring a bag you can store it in and take with you so you can dispose of the waste properly at the end of each ride. If you see trash lying around, be a good samaritan and pick it up.
We’re expected to be good ambassadors, so man up (or “woman” up) and show respect for those who gave you the privilege to ride of public or private property.
Slopes can be tempting, but there’s a reason the steep inclines and erodible areas are off limits. The same goes for wetlands, which are common among the swampy Florida terrain. You don’t want to end up in an accident just because a dangerous area was “too tempting to pass up.” You can find your thrills and still be safe.
The same goes for animals and vegetation. Use your common sense when riding. Not all trees and shrubs are found in the “off limits” area, but if you find small vegetation on or near the trail, don’t run it over. Go around it. You are in Mother Nature’s delicate habitat, after all, and everything in it has a part to play in the local ecosystem.
Respect Other Riders
ATV riding doesn’t just require you to respect the rules and the trail. It also means respecting other riders who are out there enjoying the great outdoors, too. If you plan to overtake other riders, be patient and follow at a safe distance until they signal that it’s okay to pass.
When you do go around them, be mindful of others by avoiding stirring up dust and gravel when you pass. A little bit of throttle can shower them in unwanted debris.
Always yield to the right of way, whether they’re hikers, horseback riders, or other ATV enthusiasts. If you see horses, the courteous and cautious thing to do is to pull over and shut off your engine. This will help you avoid spooking their mounts.
Tips brought to you by Gator Sports, your go-to showroom and service department for all things ATV in Southwest Florida. A well known Polaris Dealer, we offer some of the best new models as well as flawless custom designs.
A quick way to turn a good day south is to have your ATV stolen. If you’re anything like our staff at Gator Sports, your ATV is your baby. It provides an escape from the real world by throwing you into nature at full throttle. The last thing you want is your vehicle for adrenaline fueled adventure snatched out from under you, so how do you keep it safe? Below are a few security musts for protecting your ATV from theft.
Always Protect Your ATV with Insurance
It might seem like common sense for some, but many of us buy insurance based on the cheapest rate and not on coverage. The good news is that covering an ATV is a lost cheaper than insuring your car. You can get high quality coverage for a low annual payment.
Most auto insurance providers have separate policies for sports vehicles, including Nationwide, Geico, and other major agencies. Take your time when you shop for a policy. Do your research and ask your representatives what the policy you’re considering covers. Compare rates with the benefits and choose the best option for your all-terrain vehicle and budget.
Remember, it’s worth paying for peace of mind.
Locking Up Your ATV
It’s hard to steal a vehicle under lock and key. Whether you’re ATV is parked off the trail, on the back of a trailer, or tucked inside a closed garage, make it a habit to lock your ATV every time it’s not in use. There are various types of locks available that you can use, including:
- Alarm Locks
- Disc Locks
- Locking Cables
- Chain Locks
These locking solutions can range anywhere between $22 to about $100 depending upon the brand you buy and the level of security.
Even with insurance and security locks, it pays to be vigilant. Thieves look for an easy target. If you make it difficult for him or her to quickly and easily gain access to your ATV, you deter them from trying. Make these tips a part of your everyday habits and you’ll reduce your risks of experiencing theft:
- Always remove the key from your ignition when it’s not in use
- Do not leave the key stored within the vehicle
- When parking your ATV in a garage, always keep the garage door shut unless you are present
- Keep an eye on your vehicle when at a public event, especially after immediately stepping away from it.
- Add an audible alarm to deter theft and raise quick awareness should anyone tamper with your ATV
- Use brightly colored locks to raise awareness that security is present on your vehicle
Looking for Security Solutions for Your ATV?
If you’re looking for accessories to bring added security to your ATV, come see us at Gator Sports! Located in LaBelle, our showroom is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday. You can also contact us directly by calling 863-675-1464 or send us an email by filling out our contact form.
When it comes to headgear like your ATV helmet, there’s no room for compromise. The difference between a good helmet and bad helmet can be the difference between life and death. That’s why Gator Sports is taking the time to help you distinguish what to buy and what not to buy. Safety comes first, after all, and we want our valued customers to stay protected!
How to Choose an ATV Helmet
There are certain things to look for when deciding on an ATV helmet. Below are some “do’s” and “don’ts” to keep in mind as you shop around:
Don’t Buy on Price Alone: Keep in mind that a price point doesn’t always determine the quality or the safety of a helmet. When selections can range anywhere between $90 to $700, some customers find it overwhelming to browse and discover the right helmet. We recommend that you consider your budget and compare it to the safety ratings of the helmets you can afford. All of them should have DOT and Snell ratings based on simulated safety tests. Always, always make sure the helmet you buy has a “DOT Approved” sticker on it.
Always Buy New: A used helmet has usually seen its share of adventures. There is no way to tell from the outside of a used helmet how much internal damage it has accrued. Because of this, you will always want to avoid used or second-hand helmets. You never want to discover through an accident that the integrity of the helmet has been compromised.
Make Sure You Buy the Proper Fit: A great helmet is useless if it doesn’t fit the rider right. Make sure that your ATV helmet is the proper fit for you before you make your purchase. You can do this by trying it on. Tighten the chin strap to a comfortable fit, then grab the helmet with both hands while you are wearing it and jostle it left, right, forward, and back. Your helmet shouldn’t slide when you do this. If it does, it’s too big. Next, try sliding a finger between your forehead and the helmet’s padding. If you can, it’s too big. Lastly, tug the helmet forward while you are wearing it to see if it slides off. Again, if the answer is “yes,” your helmet is too big. The key is to find a helmet that is both snug and comfortable.
Make Sure You Buy the Proper Style: Not all helmets are the same. They are designed for the activity that they were made to be worn for. Make sure that you purchase an ATV helmet designed for ATV riding.
Shop for Helmets at Gator Sports
If you’re in head of some headgear, come to Gator Sports to buy a helmet. We carry all of your ATV needs with a great selection of accessories, parts and Polaris vehicles. Simply stop by our location in LaBelle or give our showroom a call during business hours at 863-675-1464.
When it comes to riding your ATV, air pressure matters. The level of air pressure in your ATV tires doesn’t just determine how pleasant your ride is—although it certainly plays a role. It’s also a safety factor. Having too much air pressure, too little, or even an uneven distribution can lead to huge risks, such as losing control of your vehicle. Don’t believe us? Read your manual!
Thankfully, maintaining the pressure in your tires is fairly easy. For new ATV riders (or those who are just now getting into the do-it-yourself maintenance), Gator Sports has put together this easy, step-by-step process on how to check and maintain each tire for optimal safety, riding pleasure, and tire longevity.
Step One: Make Sure You’re Equipped for the Job
In order to check the air pressure in your ATV tires, you have to have the right tools. In this case you’ll need an air pressure gauge and a compressor. If you don’t have the right tools, you can stop by our Gator Sports location to purchase them. Depending on the brand and quality of your air pressure gauge, you are probably looking at about $10.00.
A compressor is more expensive. They typically can range anywhere between $150 and $800+ for a kit. However, keep in mind that you can also pay to use a compressor using one of the quarter machines at your local gas station.
Step Two: Determine Your ATV Tires’ Current PSI
Use your air pressure gauge to determine the current PSI of your tires. Don’t just check one tire and assume all the rest are the same. Be thorough and check all four tires so you can determine how much additional pressure you may need to add later on.
But how do you determine the right PSI? After you check your current tire pressure using the air pressure gauge, step three will guide you through the process of determining your tires’ specific PSI requirements.
Step Three: Determine the Appropriate PSI for Your Tires
You never want to assume the best PSI for your ATV’s tires. The number can vary from vehicle to vehicle, so you always want to check the recommended range first. To determine that, you’ll want to whip out your Owner’s Manual. Every ATV brand will specify the recommended PSI within the manual. Simply read the table of contents to locate it.
Step Four: Fill Your Tires to the Recommended PSI Using a Compressor
Once you’ve determined the appropriate PSI, you can compare your current tires’ air pressure to the recommended level to determine whether your tires need air. If the answer is “yes,” use the compressor to fill them. Most compressors should have a gauge that will tell you the tire’s PSI as you fill it. However, if it doesn’t you can use your air pressure gauge to check your tires after you’ve filled them. Be careful not to stray beyond the recommended PSI, or too far below it, as this can impact the quality of your ride, and its safety.
Additional Tips for Checking the Air Pressure in Your ATV Tires
An ATV Maintenance best practice is to check the air pressure in your tires at least once a month. However, if there is a cold spell in your area or the temperature drops significantly overnight, check them again before taking your ATV out for a spin. Cold weather can significantly decrease the pressure in your tires. It’s also good to check your PSI before each ride, just to ensure your safety before you head out—especially if you’re planning on a long ride.
If you have any questions about your ATV tires, ATV maintenance, or if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, stop by Gator Sports in LaBelle! We’re here to make sure your vehicle runs smoothly, and that you enjoy the ride!
If you’re new to ATV use, whether it’s for work or recreation, it’s good to know the basics. We get a lot of questions about ATV’s here at Gator Sports. Some pop up more than others, and we’ve answered a lot of them in our blogs! However, if you’re browsing the Internet in search of answers, it can be really convenient to have them all in one place. That’s why we put together this cheat sheet of frequently asked questions about ATV’s.
ATV Questions Everyone’s Asked at Least Once
Some of the answers to these questions may seem fairly obvious, but if we’re truly honest with ourselves, we’ve all asked these questions at some point. Whether you’re a novice rider or you’ve been riding ATV’s since you were big enough to reach the pedals, give our list a read. After all, it never hurts to have a refresher!
What does ATV stand for?
ATV is short for All-Terrain Vehicle. It defines a motorized, off-road vehicle with 4 wheels and handlebar steering. There are various models of ATV’s that range in size and function to suit specific age groups and use.
How old do I have to be to ride an ATV?
You must be 16 years or older to operate an ATV without adult supervision in the state of Florida, unless you have completed an approved OHV Safety Course. Learn more about Florida’s ATV laws and regulations here.
Is there anything other than safety gear that I should bring with me on a trail ride?
Yes! You never know when something can go wrong on a ride, so it pays to be prepared. Make sure you bring the essentials with you on every ATV ride, including basic repair and survival kits, water, gas, cell phones, and chargers.
Do I have to wear safety gear?
Any ATV rider or operator under the age of 16 must wear a DOT approved helmet and protective eyewear. However, we cannot stress how important it is to wear protective gear at any age when operating an ATV. Click here to view a full list of essential protective ATV gear you should wear on every ride.
How do I know when it’s time to buy a new ATV?
If your problem is one that can be remedied with basic maintenance or repair, then typically that’s the best option. It’s when your vehicle’s repair costs more than it’s worth, maintenance or repairs become a monthly occurrence, or if it has any safety issues such as a damaged frame that it’s time to get a new ATV. However, if you’re just itching for an upgrade, you can always trade in your old ATV toward the purchase of a new one. Simply ask us about a quote on your old vehicle!
Are ATV’s “one size fits all?”
No. There are various makes and models to accommodate different sizes and weight limits, including youth models. Click here to learn about kid-friendly ATV’s.
What’s the difference between an ATV and an UTV?
UTV stands for Utility Task Vehicle. It was created for specialized work, such as hauling heavy objects or on and off road excursions. ATV’s are fast and nimble off-road vehicle typically used for recreation or sports.
Have an ATV Question?
If you have a question about ATV’s that we haven’t answered here, don’t be shy. Call Gator Sports at 863-675-1464! We’ll be happy to answer them for you.
Okay, so you’ve brushed up on your ATV safety, you have your vehicle insured, and you know all the best trails around. Are you ready for adventure? Before you says yes and zoom off down the beaten path, make sure you’ve packed your bags with these essentials. Trust us, you won’t want to leave home without them!
Your Basic Repair and Survival Kit
Hitting the trail is an exhilarating experience. There’s a sense of peace and adrenaline that washes over a person when it’s you, nature, and your ATV. However, that little slice of Heaven can quickly turn sour if you break down in the middle of the park or wilderness.
Instead, ride prepared because you never know when something’s going to go awry. Flat kits are pretty easy to buy. In fact, we carry them here at Gator Sports. However, make sure you have the right tools with you as well, just in case something else happens. A few of the essentials should include:
- Air Pump
- Tire Plugs
- Zip Ties
- Compact Flashlight
- Spare Batteries
- Tow Strap
- Swiss Army Knife
- Duct Tape
- Waterproof Matches
- Kindling (or dry cotton balls!)
A Good Supply of Water
Dehydration is easier than you think. Especially here in the Sunshine State where temperatures will easily rise into the 90’s. Always, always bring a supply of water with you on a ride, even if it’s a short one. If for some reason you find yourself stranded, the trip may be longer than you think.
Plus, you use a lot more energy riding an ATV than you may think. Your body needs replenishment, especially when you sweat. So keep yourself, and your ATV, gassed up!
Speaking of Gasoline
Don’t forget to bring a little extra. Wrong turns happen, and you can’t get home on fumes. Even if you try, you’ll be doing damage to your ATV that will wreck your day even further. If you think having a newer ATV rules you out of this problem, think again! Modern fuel injections systems have even more concerns than others when the tank runs dry. Stay on the safe side by keeping a full gas can on hand.
Your Cell Phone and Charger
Even if the whole point of your ATV excursion is to disconnect and get away from it all, don’t leave your phone behind. You can turn it off and pack it away in a ziplock baggie with your charger, but keeping it on hand can be your lifeline if you ever need it.
Cell phones are excellent to have on hand in emergency cases. Most modern ATV’s and UTV’s have an outlet installed in case you’re on a long trip and need a charge, and text messages can get through even when the signals weak.
Pack It Up and Move It Out
Most ATV models have storage space available. If not, you can easily have customized storage options added. In fact, Gator Sports is fully equipped to help you out with all of your ATV repair, customization, and maintenance needs!
If you’re in the area, why not stop by before you head out on your next big trip? We’ll help you get equipped with everything you need prior to departure—guaranteed!