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Hudson - Litchfield News 16 - August 27, 2010

“Kn w Y ur Car” “Kn w Y ur Car”

Five tips for maintaining your motorcycle or ATV

Americans have purchased more than 15 mil- lion all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorcycles over the past 10 years. Along with the thrill of the ride, or the convenience of chores made easy, comes the responsibility of maintaining these machines. Typically, most guys and gals with a garage – or at least the garage mentality – know that regular vehicle maintenance comes with the territory, much like owning a car. But knowing what to do, doesn’t always lead to doing it correctly. The owner’s manuals that come with the vehicle contain a lot of good information, including a full maintenance schedule, but here are a few items you don’t want to miss. Changing the oil and checking fluid levels – As

with any motorized vehicle, regular oil changes are a must for your ATV. Be sure to follow your vehicle’s oil change schedule and, if the vehicle’s been sitting all winter, check all fluids. Check tire pressure – Check the tire pressure on all tires and follow manufacturer recommenda- tions for air pressure levels. Inspect or replace the spark plugs – The begin- ning of the season is a good time to replace your spark plugs, as it is a surefire way to help get your machine started more easily after its winter hiber- nation. Inspecting the old one is also a good way to give you an indication as to how your engine was running. Check battery connections – After sitting idle all

winter, you’ll want to check the battery connec- tions for possible corrosion and ensure they are solid. Changing, cleaning and oiling the air filter – This is probably the most overlooked aspect of regular

maintenance. Putting oil on an air filter may seem counterintuitive, but it is an essential step when replacing the air filter on many motorsports vehicles. Air filter maintenance is important in ev- erything from a small off-road motorcycle to larger utility ATVs like the Yamaha Grizzly 700. Let’s take a closer look at this important step. “Anyone that has spent a day on dusty trails and then taken a look at their air filter can attest that the foamy exterior is likely covered in dirt and debris,” says Travis Hollins, Yamaha’s ATV product planning manager. “You need that moist, sticky filter oil to catch the dirt and other particles that otherwise can foul up the engine and cause long- term damage.” Many miss this detail because most air filters are not sold with the oil already applied. So, anyone cleaning or replacing an air filter will need to add the oil. It is a simple three-step process. Step 1: Remove the air filter. Step 2: Clean the filter with a specially recommended cleaner and rinse with water. Step 3: Allow the newly cleaned filter to dry, then re-apply your filter oil. Your local dealer can provide more advice and recommendations or you can look up more information on your man- ufacturer’s website. Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., as an example, offers a step-by-step instructional video by logging on to www.yamahaoutdoors. com. Click on “parts and service,” then the “filter maintenance” button to view the video. For many gear heads, tinkering with the engine and doing regular maintenance provides just as much satisfaction as a long trail ride or day at the track. A little time investment in the garage can payoff in hours of good riding. - Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Which is cheaper—a monthly car

payment for a new vehicle that will al- most certainly have lower maintenance and repair costs than an older car? Or keeping on top of regular maintenance and repair of an older car, and saving yourself the monthly car payment? If the numbers are any clue, it would seem more Americans believe hold- ing on to an older car costs less than paying for a new one. The average age of passenger cars is now more than 9 years, according to data from R.L. Polk. And the average price of a new car tops $28,000, according to the Federal Trade Commission. What’s more, older cars depreciate less and often cost less to insure.

Hanging on to a car – and taking care of it – can definitely save you money versus taking on a new-car payment. The key to maximizing your savings on an old car is actually to spend a little on regular maintenance. That will allow you to avoid more costly, emergency repairs caused by the breakdown of poorly maintained parts. Follow these simple steps to ensure good main- tenance helps you avoid expensive repairs: 1. Get to know the owner’s manual. Your own-

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er’s manual will provide vital information on your vehicle’s systems, and should include a mainte- nance schedule. If you no longer have the owner’s manual or want more detailed maintenance infor- mation for your car, you can buy a factory service manual online. Auto parts retailer sells manuals for $12 to $50—money well spent if it helps you avoid a repair that costs hundreds or even thousands. 2. Take care of the timing belt. Most cars newer than 20 years old have timing belts that need to be changed, sometimes as often as every 60,000 miles. When the timing belt breaks it may either simply leave the car immobile or, worse, if the car has what the auto parts catalog calls an “interference engine,” then a broken timing belt will likely cause expensive damage to other engine parts. Look in your owner’s manual to see if your car has a timing belt and when it must be replaced. 3. Check your fluids. Make sure you know the

manufacturer’s recommendations for what type of oil, antifreeze, transmission, power steering and brake fluid your vehicle uses. Using outdated or the wrong fluid can cause damage—and void any remaining warranty on your car. Check your owner’s manual to determine what kind of fluid to use and when each needs to be changed. 4. Pay attention to shock absorbers and struts.

These parts protect the suspension, steering, brakes and other vehicle systems. Waiting until the car starts to ride funny or bounce before replacing the shocks and struts may cause costly damage to other parts. Plus, a car that handles and stops poorly is less safe. presents a strong case for replacing original shocks and struts on most popular cars at 50,000 miles. Consult your service manual or mechanic to get recom- mendations for your specific vehicle. 5. Stay on schedule. The maintenance sched-

ule in your owner’s or shop manual will also list important inspections to perform periodically, and repairs or maintenance you can expect the vehicle will need throughout its serviceable life. It will often be cheaper to replace auto parts before they break than after. Use the chart in your manual to keep track of completed maintenance. Performing regularly scheduled maintenance also will allow you to anticipate expenses and budget for them—a tactic which will always save you more money than paying for emergency repairs.

- Courtesy of ARAcontent

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