Check Out NEW PRODUCTS For Your Polaris, Can-Am, Kawasaki, And Segway!

How To Prepare Your SXS for Riding Season

How To Prepare Your SXS for Riding Season

As the weather warms and the trails start calling out, it’s best to ready your side-by-side (SXS) for an epic riding season after being cooped up from the cold. Whether you’re a seasoned off-road enthusiast or a newcomer, de-winterizing properly is key to ensuring a safe, enjoyable, and unforgettable experience.

Sitting still in storage doesn’t save your UTV from wear, albeit it’s minimal in most cases. And you don’t want to encounter any costly repairs as you plan to leave for an adventure. Nor would you want to have inconvenient or dangerous surprises in the wild.

So that you can conquer any terrain with confidence, in this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss how to prepare your SXS for riding season.

Perform a Thorough Inspection

Before diving into the nuances of maintenance, start with a thorough visual inspection of the vehicle. Look for any signs of wear, damage, or loose components—among other things. Thoroughly check the frame, suspension, and bodywork for any signs of corrosion or degeneration, such as cracks, dents, rust, or other issues which could compromise the vehicle’s integrity.

Carefully observe the tires for any cuts, punctures, or signs of uneven wear. Don’t overlook the importance of examining the seat belts, roll cages, and other safety features to ensure they are all in good condition, functional, and capable of providing the necessary protection. Taking these steps ensures your safety and helps to maintain the vehicle’s performance and reliability.

Check the Fluids

Next, you should focus on the lifeblood of your machine: the fluids. Begin your observations with the coolant level and condition. If the levels are low or the fluids look dirty, you should flush and refill them.

Next, make sure the brake fluid is at the proper level and free of contaminants.

Don’t forget to check the power steering fluid and top it off if needed. Then, finally, review the differential and transmission fluids, looking for any signs of leaks or contamination. Change any fluids that appear dirty or have a burnt smell before hitting the trails.

Check the Battery

A SXS’s battery is central to the electrical system, so it’s crucial to ensure it’s in good condition. If your machine has been sitting for a while, the battery may have lost some of its charge from the expected parasitic drain typical of electronics. Pro tip: use a battery tender or disconnect the terminals when parked for long stretches of time.

Use a multimeter to check the voltage and confirm it’s within the manufacturer’s recommended range. If the battery is weak or dead, you may need to replace it. When installing a new battery, clean the connection points and apply dielectric grease to prevent corrosion.

Check the Brakes

Brakes are a critical safety feature in any vehicle, so put effort into maintaining their integrity. Look at the brake pads and rotors for wear or warping. If the pads have thinned to the wear indicators or the rotors are twisted, malformed, or severely grooved, they must be replaced.

To a certain extent, the rotors can be machined, so consult your local brake tech. But before you hand over your rig to the shop, carefully inspect the brake lines for any signs of leaks, cracks, or damage. Use a keen eye on the areas near the connections and along the length of the lines where damage can often occur.

Noticing a spongy or soft feel when pressing the brake pedal could be another clear indication of air in the hydraulic system. Air in the brake lines compromises the efficiency of your braking system and requires immediate attention. The process to remove any trapped air is referred to as “bleeding,” which ensures the brake system operates optimally.

Change Your Oil

Regular oil changes are a no-brainer. As with bikes, cars, and any engine-powered machine, side-by-sides require fresh lubricant in regular intervals to run smoothly and promote longevity. Before the start of the riding season, replace the oil according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Remember, replacing the oil filter during your regular maintenance is also paramount. This particular upkeep should be done on a schedule (by mileage or hours, whichever comes first). Meanwhile, in-between changes, pay close attention to the oil level in case it needs to be topped off before your next outing.

Conduct regular checks and aim to replace the oil after every 50–100 hours of riding if there’s no clear amount of time in the UTV’s handbook. This frequency can vary based on riding conditions and your personal riding habits. Adhering to this routine will keep your vessel in optimal condition, enhancing its functionality and increasing its lifespan.

Change Your Filters

In addition to the oil iteration, a SXS has several other filters requiring attention. The air filter is responsible for keeping dirt and debris out of your engine, so, as you might guess, this needs to remain clean.

If your rig has a reusable foam filter, wash it in warm, soapy water, let it dry completely, and re-oil it before reinstalling. Pro tip: Cleaning reusable filters can be tedious, so buy a few and merely replace them as they become clogged. Once all of these filters (minus the newest one you installed) are dirty, clean them all at once.

Similarly, if your equipment uses a paper filter, it is disposable and must be replaced with a new one to ensure optimal air quality for your engine. The fuel filter is another key to maintaining engine health by providing clean fuel. Therefore, exchanging it before the onset of a new season can really ensure efficient operation.

Add Appropriate Upgrades

While preparing your UTV for the riding season, it’s also a great time to consider adding some upgrades and accessories to enhance your experience. A winch kit is a must-have for any serious off-roader, as it can help you in sticky situations. Other popular upgrades include LED light bars for improved visibility, skid plates for undercarriage protection, and a quality sound system for entertainment on the trails (the biggest “must” of all, of course).

Gather Your Gear

Finally, gather all the necessary items for your adventures, like spare tires and a repair kit in case of flats. Invest in durable storage solutions like cargo boxes or bags to organize and secure your supplies.

Protective gear, such as helmets, goggles, and gloves, should be up-to-date and scanned for holes, pilling, dents, or cracks. This equips you for any environment and helps to prevent injuries.

By following these steps in preparing your SXS for riding season, your vehicle will be primed and ready for some unforgettable rides. Remember, proper planning and maintenance ensures your machine’s longevity, performance, and comfort. Plus, it increases your safety and enjoyment on the trails.

If you’re looking for top-quality Can-Am SXS accessories to take your rides to the next level, visit DRT Motorsports. There, you can find a wide range of upgrades and gear to suit any off-road enthusiast’s needs for Can-Am and beyond.

How To Prepare Your SXS for Riding Season