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ATV, Side-by-Side & UTV Transmissions & Chains

The transmission and chain on ATVs work together to propel the vehicle with the transmission moving a sprocket, which in turn moves the chain. This assembly type is most often seen on sport quads and older 4x4s. ATVs may have either a manual or automatic transmission, both of which function much like the transmissions on a motorcycle or car, respectively.

How often do you need to adjust the drive chain?

Drive chains on ATVs typically do not need a lot of adjustment. It is recommended that you check the slack on the chain about every three months for proper maintenance and regular use, but you may need to check it more often if you use your ATV more frequently or for long periods of time.

What modifications are necessary to install a plow?

  • Tires: Snow tires and mud tires are both suitable for driving in the snow, but another modification is the addition of tire chains to stock tires. Tire chains will increase traction considerably by gripping into the snow as the tire rotates.
  • Plow blade: There are several blade size and shape options available that disperse snow differently. Consider where you will be plowing and where you want the snow to be deposited.
  • Mounting kit: There are benefits to using different kinds of mounting kits. Be sure to consider the installation requirement and ease of blade and hardware removal.
  • Plow base: This is what connects the blade to the mounting kit, and this is also where blade positioning adjustments are made. Some bases provide power so that adjustments to blade position may be made more easily from the seat of the ATV, and some require manual repositioning.
  • Lift: To effectively plow snow or bulldoze, the plow must be able to be lifted. There are manual lifts available, but most people opt for a winch.

How do you properly maintain an ATV transmission?

ATV transmissions require little maintenance and provide reliable performance for longer than many of the other mechanical parts. You will know that your transmission requires attention if gear shifting becomes problematic or if it seems as though the drive chain is slipping. Follow the steps listed below:

  • Rule out the drive chain as an issue by checking for correct tension and intact sprockets.
  • Check your transmission fluid. It should be clear and clean. If it is cloudy, brown, or black, it needs to be replaced. Replacing transmission fluid should be included in regular maintenance, just like an oil change.
  • Check the transmission fluid level. You should check both oil and transmission fluid before riding. If your fluid is low and you suspect a leak, look for fluid leaks on the floor of the garage or inspect the transmission box for dampness or a persistent collection of dirt and debris.
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