Stock up on these basics.
By Trent Jonas
Riding your ATV virtually ensures you're traveling off the beaten path and when that happens, you don't want to get stuck and caught unprepared. It doesn't matter if you're hitting the local trails or exploring the backcountry wilderness, it's always a good idea to keep a well-stocked set of tools on board. Going beyond the basics, there are a few pieces of gear that any off-roader ought to have and know how to use. Here are six key items to keep in your ATV toolkit.
The axle nuts on ATVs are more often than not much larger than those you would typically find on another vehicle, so you need to have the tools that can accommodate the larger size in the event you need to remove the wheel from your ATV. So, a quality axle wrench set, like those made by Motion Pro, is a crucial piece of gear to have in your toolkit at all times.
If you’re out on the trail and you puncture a tire, and you don’t have a spare along, you need the ability to repair your tire on the spot until you are able to replace or permanently repair it. When the puncture or the leak is on the tread of the tire, the best way to effectively repair a tire is by using a tire plug. Always keeping a tire plug kit, such as the one Boulder Tools makes, on your ATV will help to ensure you don’t get stuck far from home with a flat.
On an ATV, tire pressure is often maintained at a much lower level than on other types of vehicles, running, generally, between 5 and 15 pounds per square inch (PSI). What’s more, depending on the type of terrain you’ll be riding on, you may need to raise or lower the pressure in your tires. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep a low-pressure tire gauge, like Tusk’s, in your ATV toolkit. A low-pressure gauge will allow you to accurately read smaller increments of pressure than a typical gauge, on which the entire range of your tire’s pressure may fall within a couple millimeters and leave you guessing about the accuracy of the measurement.
Most ATVs are chain driven, and if something happens to your chain while you’re off roading, you could end up dead in the water. Keeping chain repair tools on hand—and knowing what to do with them—could mean the difference between an inconvenient stop and a long walk home. RK Racing makes a universal chain tool kit that will work with most ATV chain drives.
Hex bits come in handy for a lot of applications, but they are absolutely crucial for off-road riders, as hex bolts are used on many ATVs. Get as complete a set as possible—making sure that both the largest and smallest hex bolt, and everything in between, can be accommodated—and keep it in your ATV toolkit. Mulwark makes quality tools geared specifically toward the motorsports industry.
When you’re working on your ATV, you will need to reach places that a typical socket wrench cannot get to, and you may need to apply more torque than you can with an average screwdriver. A set of T-handle drivers solves these problems. You can reach straight into deep sets and to with a screwdriver or hex bit, or a socket, and apply significantly more torque than you could with a basic screwdriver-style handle. Motion Pro makes several solid T-handle tools that would be a great addition to your kit.