ATV Maintenance: Tips for Tweaking Your Exhaust

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More

Many do-it-yourself ATV and UTV owners change the exhaust on their vehicles, and for good reason: a better exhaust system will create much more power. But changing the exhaust on a carbureted machine brings on some secondary issues that need to be addressed in order to keep the engine running properly.

The exhaust pipe on your quad is tuned specifically for the machine. Not to mention, it is also custom shaped in the pattern needed to fit your machine without interfering with any other components. If this pipe or its silencer is altered in any way, (whether it is bent in an accident or manipulated by you) it can impact the engine’s performance.

Here are some tips for tweaking your ATV or UTV exhaust:

1) Proper installation: This is key to the life of and engine as well as the life of the exhaust. Poorly installed exhausts could leak and create lean conditions concerning the air fuel mixture. This creates heat and heat destroys engine components.

2) Proper Jetting: When installing a free flowing exhaust, you need to add more fuel to the mix in order to keep a good air-fuel mixture. Most exhausts will have details giving you to the suggested jet numbers for the machine the exhaust is built for. This is a baseline and not set in stone, but it‚Äos a great place to start.

3) Silencer Packing: The packing in the silencer plays a crucial part in not only silencing the exhaust noise but keeping the exhaust performing properly. Repacking an exhaust each year is important on a machine that gets a lot of trail time and every few years on a machine that is used seasonally.

4) Nuts and Bolts: Lastly, be sure the exhaust nuts and bolts are always tight and that the system is sealed properly where gaskets meet hard surfaces.