ATV Maintenance: Why You Should Always Have a Factory Service Manual

One of the most disappointing and irritating moments in ATV ownership is when your machine decides that it's just not coming out to play.

Although most of today's ATVs and UTVs can come to life after sitting for long periods of time with little more than a battery charge, it's not always that easy. Older machines, in particular, can be fussy when it comes to fuel and will need more TLC to get back in the game after winter storage.

Any form of maintenance should always refer to the manufacturer's specs. Unfortunately, these are often not readily found on the web. While there are numerous helpful forums and online sites to look through when a problem does arise, most owners I know lack the single most helpful tool to keep their wheels turning: a factory service manual. New books can be a little pricey -- whether you get them from your dealer or on-line -- and manuals for older machines can be extremely hard to find, but you're going to wish you had the manual when you need critical info on a Saturday night and there's no one to call at the dealership.

My neighbor was recently having problems with his old 94 Honda 300. I was able to download the factory manual in full at RecRepairInfo.com in the middle of the night. I found the answer to a fuel setting spec in just a few clicks and had his Honda humming the next day in about 15 minutes.

Although you can order a CD, I found that downloading the manual is the easiest and most instantaneous option. In the case of the Honda, the website had manuals from 1985 to 2011, and cost a scant $9.00. There are equal selections for all the other manufacturers. After the download, you can put the PDF file on a thumb drive, move it to another computer, and even keep one in a Ziploc bag in your machine.