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How to Wash an ATV

How to Wash an ATV

An all-terrain vehicle is known for offering fun and enjoyment as you navigate caked-on trails. It is also pretty popular for mudding and just good old dirty fun. Whether you are more of a trail rider or a proud mudder, your ATV needs proper cleaning to keep it looking its best. Here are a few things to know on how to wash an ATV so your ride stays in great shape.


If the ATV is extra dirty and has caked-on mud, you will probably need to presoak it first. This is an important step in how to wash an ATV to make sure you don't damage your paint job. If you go straight to blasting the ATV with a pressure washer, you may be tempted to blast at a higher setting to get the mud off and it can take paint with it. This is where presoaking can help. To start, chip away as much caked-on mud as possible with your hand and then spray it with a hose, not a pressure washer. The goal is to get all the dried-on mud wet so it will come off more easily. Spray it all the way over and make sure you get all the cracks in the mud so it can loosen up even more. If you have a lot of caked-on layers, you may need to spray it more than once.


The next step in how to wash an ATV is to blast it with a pressure washer. A pressure washer on low or medium settings should be able to remove the layers you already soaked. While you want to be careful of the paint job, you also want to get the gunk off of your ride. A soft-bristled brush or a pressure washer is the best bet. If you do not have a pressure washer, a hose with a nozzle could work, but you would need to soak it more than once. The goal is to get as much caked-on mud and dirt off as possible before you move to the scrubbing stage. The more stuff you get off now, the easier the next step will be.


The next step in how to wash an ATV is to start scrubbing. If your ride isn't that dirty or you have a good pressure washer, you may be able to skip this step, but that doesn't mean you should. When you scrub the ride, you have a chance to really clean in the nooks and crannies of the ATV so nothing is missed. It is also key because some areas shouldn't be pressured washed on some models. When scrubbing, you want to focus on areas such as the seat, wheels, tires, and anywhere on the frame where there are signs of dirt or buildup.

To clean these areas, use some soap and water along with a sponge to scrub away any dirt. You want to be carful about the type of cleaner and stay away from anything too abrasive. It is usually safe to use a little dish soap or car wash as the soap when diluted with water. For areas that are harder to reach, use a soft bristled brush to scrub away any left-over dirt. You can also use a degreaser solution on areas where buildup is excessive such as near the swing arm where chain lube can be a problem. Simply apply some degreaser, let it sit the recommended time frame, and rinse it away to take the grime off. When you are done scrubbing, rinse the ride off once more with a hose.


Next, you will want to dry the ride. While some people simply leave their ATV out in the sun for a short time to dry, this can leave behind water spots and that can be irksome to some ATV owners. To avoid water spots, you can dry the ATV with a towel or even use an air compressor. An air compressor is also ideal because it can blow water droplets out of places the towel can't reach, and this helps prevent rust in the long run. No matter how you do it, you need to take some time to dry the ATV to avoid any issues.


A lot of people skip the shine step, but it is really worth doing for your ATV. When you shine your ATV, it adds an extra layer of protection against scratches and gives it a newer look. It can even give new life to scathed up plastic or faded areas. Make sure you use a wax that is safe for the specifics of your machine. For example, some polishes are only meant for certain materials so using it on the seat could cause damage. This final step doesn't even take much time and adds a lot to the ATV so it doesn't make sense to skip it.