I pick up my 2013 Sportsman 850 (red) this Saturday. It's my first ATV, and it's been 4 years in the making (saving money, consulting the wife, waiting for the right time, etc., etc.). I really wanted the stealth black, but they were all either too far away, or too expensive.
I have spent the weeks since I picked it out reading the manual, learning about maintenance issues, the break-in period, and it's features. I have ridden every ATV out there, but this is the first one I have owned and been responsible for.
I am going to try to learn how to do the basics on my own (changing oil, filters, greasing parts, etc.).
What would I expect to pay to have my dealer do basic maintenance things of this nature (service checks, oil changes, fluid checks/changes, brake pads, etc.). I just want to weigh if it's worth learning to do on my own or not.
Also, do ATV tires need to be rotated like a vehicles do? I haven't come across that in the manual yet.
Most dealers will charge around 250-300 a service. If you go on you tube there is usually a video of how to do everything with a complete walk through and it is very easy on most machines with just a few tools. If you mud ride you will change them more often so it is even better to know how to do it your self. As for tires you cannot rotate them as the stock rear tires are wider than the front.
That would be for a full service of everything. You cannot swap tires side to side unless it is a radial type tire which does not come standard on atv's. Most just leave them where they are and replace the back ones or both front ones if one goes bad after tread is worn. On my 500 I can change all of my fluids for 36 bucks a change.
Marine Ninja have you ever changed oil in a car, lawn mower, etc, etc. If so the concept is the same. The greasing just means using the manual to find. They can be easy to miss and shops might skip a hard one to reach. The manual should show you what plastic you have to pop off. With two 16 year old kids around the house and being 20 miles to the nearest shop just makes it easier to do.
In short if you want to get into oil and grease then go for it. There is no rocket science involved.
On the cars/SUV's it cost me $20 if I carry my own oil and filter or $40 and use house oil and filter so net cost is $20 for the service part. One the big truck, tractor, backhoe, lawn mowers, etc we just change them because of the hassle for moving them 40 miles.
Not sure on the ATV but I expect most are going to try and make $60-$120 per hour shop rates. The $20 labor for an oil change comes out to $120 per hour as they can do one in 10 minutes.
On rotation it depends I think. The project ATV has slick tires so we bought an old set mounted on chrome factor wheels for $5 a piece from a guy that parts out toys and the tires and wheels new packaging requirements cost kills the profit to ship them so he tries to dump the locally to get them out of his way without having to pay to depose of them.
I think they came off of a 1999 500 Polaris. Tread is good on three but one of the front is not so good. It may have been due to one front wheel pulled better than the other. If that person had rotated the front tires then both would have been OK today. So on any tire rotation I wait to see a need.
I think you will find that most of the tires are ( directional ) meaning they should only rotate one way, much like snow tires on a car. Rolling them the wrong way reduces the traction that they produce. I think you will find that they will wear fairly evenly in sets as the rear axle is solid. Maintenance is very easy once you get to know your machine and after a while you will become more comfortable doing your own maint and repairs. Saves a lot of money over time. You also learn how the machine works so when a problem comes up on the trail you potentially would know how to fix it or at least cobble up something to get you home. Good Luck.
If you can do the maintenance stuff yourself t is definitely the best and the cheapest. If you aren't comfortable with it, a small shop like mine that has a low hourly rate and will use non-mfg specific fluids will save you a lot. The dealer will only use brand name fluids and filters and a typical full service charges 1.5-2 hours labor plus fluids. At $40/hr here or $110 at the dealer that equates to a big $$$ fast.
Buy the Polaris OEM shop manual. There is a wealth of info in them and it will give you a better understanding of how the different parts of your machine works. Even if you don't do your own repairs, just having a basic understanding will enable you to better communicate with your mechanic. As a side note: TIP said that the rear axle is solid, it isn't. It's a fully independent rear axle. He may have meant that there is no differential and both wheels are locked together. The only exception are the machines, like my '08 Model T, that have the "turf mode" in which you can lock/unlock the rear wheels from each other, allowing them to turn independently of each other.
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