When it comes to storing your all-terrain vehicle (ATV) outdoors, proper maintenance and protection are essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance.
Whether you’re an avid adventurer or a casual rider, understanding the best practices for storing an ATV outside can save you from potential damage caused by exposure to the elements.
In this guide, I’ll explore a range of practical tips and techniques that will help you safeguard your ATV, keeping it in good shape and ready for your next off-road adventure.
Can You Keep An ATV Outside?
You can leave your ATV outside, but there are a few things you need to take into consideration before you do so.
For best results, it’s highly recommended you store your ATV indoors, such as a garage, shed or any covering that will keep the sun, rain, snow and the elements off it.
When keeping an ATV outside, it’s important to take steps to protect it from the elements, such as rain, snow, sunlight, and extreme temperatures. Implementing proper storage techniques and utilizing protective measures can help minimize potential damage and ensure the longevity and performance of your ATV.
How To Store An ATV Outside
If you must keep your ATV outside, below will be tips and tricks you can use to protect it and keep it going strong.
- Put a Cover on your ATV – Invest in a high-quality, waterproof ATV cover* to shield your vehicle from rain, snow, and elements of nature. Ensure the cover fits snugly and securely to prevent moisture from seeping in. In the next section, I go over all the different ways to keep your ATV covered.
- Lock your ATV – Keep the keys out of your ATV and chain your ATV to something large or sturdy. People will want to steal your ATV, and locking it down is important.
- Get the Tires Off the Dirt – If you can, park your ATV on concrete or put concrete pavers under the tires of your ATV. Moisture and being parked in one spot is not good for tires, so either get a concrete paver under the tires or lift the whole ATV up off the ground. This is a good idea to do for long-term storage.
- Lubricate Moving Parts – Make sure to lubricate the parts that need it, such as cables, chains, and grease points. This helps prevent rust and keeps the machine running smoothly, even when exposed to the elements. If it’s long-term storage, I spray silicone spray lubricant* on anything metal and shiny.
- Maintain the Battery – I suggest getting a solar battery charger and hooking it up after you’re done riding. Since the ATV will be outside, might as well use the sun for something useful.
- Maintain Tire Pressure – Properly inflated tires are essential for optimal performance and longevity. Regularly check and maintain the recommended tire pressure, as extreme temperature fluctuations can affect tire pressure.
- Maintain a Clean ATV – Regularly clean your ATV to remove dirt, mud, and debris that can cause damage or rust. Use the right cleaning products and avoid high-pressure washers on areas that can’t handle it.
- Perform Regular Inspections – Conduct routine inspections of your ATV to identify any signs of damage or wear. Check for leaks, loose parts, or any other issues that may require immediate attention. Watch out for mice and snakes, as they like to make them homes in ATVs and the mice like to eat the rubber.
Of all of these, keeping the ATV covered is the most important one. While a cover or a tarp may seem obvious, there are other, and often affordable, options to consider that I want to cover next.
ATV Covering Options
The best thing you can do when storing your ATV outside is to cover it, and there are a lot of options for covering your ATV.
- ATV cover – You can buy a cover for your ATV* to keep the sun, rain and snow off it. If you can only keep your ATV outside, then a cover is a must!
- Tarp – A cover made for ATVs is the best, but a good tarp will work too. In fact, I like to do both if I keep my ATV outside. ATV covers are not cheap, and they wear out too, but offer the best fit. So, I throw a cover on first and then a tarp over that to give me the best protection.
- Portable Shed – You can get portable sheds* at a fair price, and it will work perfect for ATVs. The best part is that you can move the shed later if you only need temporary storage for your ATV. Compared to how much manufacturer’s charge for their covers, the portable shed just seems like a good idea.
- Pop-up Tent – You can also get a pop-up tent to cover your ATV while it’s outside. You don’t need to fully extend the tent, just high enough for your ATV will do. You will also need to put in ground stakes to keep it from blowing away.
- DIY Quad Shed – If you got some basic tools, you can build a simple DIY shed for your ATVs.
- Keep it in your Garage – I know it may not seem possible to keep your ATV in your garage if you have one, but there are things you can do to get the ATVs out of the way.
- Rent Storage Units – You can rent storage units and many of them allow you to keep your ATV in them. Many of them even have places to store your trailer.
The Cons Of Keeping Your ATV Outside
Keeping your ATV outside can have several negative impacts on its overall condition and performance. Here are some reasons why it is generally considered less ideal to store an ATV outside:
- Exposed to the Elements – When left outdoors, your ATV is exposed to a range of weather conditions such as rain, snow, sunlight, and extreme temperatures. Over time, these elements can cause damage, including rust, fading of paint, deterioration of rubber components, and electrical issues if the ATV is not covered.
- Theft or Vandalism – Leaving your ATV outside makes it more vulnerable to theft or vandalism. Without proper security measures in place, it becomes an easier target for unauthorized individuals, potentially resulting in loss or damage.
- Moisture – Outdoor storage exposes your ATV to moisture and condensation, especially during periods of rain or high humidity. Moisture can seep into various parts of the ATV, leading to corrosion, rusting, and electrical issues.
- Sunlight – Continuous exposure to sunlight can fade the paint, plastic components, and decals on your ATV. UV rays can also cause materials to become brittle and degrade over time, impacting the structural integrity of the machine.
- Increased Risk of Debris and Animal Damage – When stored outside, your ATV is more likely to accumulate dust, dirt, leaves, and other debris. These can clog air filters, vents, and other crucial components. Additionally, animals such as rodents may find their way into your ATV’s engine compartment or other areas, causing damage by chewing wires or nesting.
- Limited Security and Protection – Outdoor storage provides less security compared to storing your ATV in an enclosed space. This increases the risk of theft, as well as exposure to potential accidents or damage caused by falling branches, hail, or other external factors.
Keeping Your ATV Outside
While it is possible to store your ATV outside, it is important to understand the drawbacks and take the right steps.
Proper maintenance, protective coverings, security measures, and regular inspections are crucial to safeguarding your ATV from the elements and potential risks associated with outdoor storage.
Whenever feasible, storing your ATV indoors or in a covered area remains the best option for long-term protection and preserving its longevity and performance. By implementing these strategies and being proactive in caring for your ATV, you can ensure that it stays in top shape and ready for your next adventure, no matter where it is stored.