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Get Your Side-by-Side (SxS) Summer Ready: Your Essential Prep Checklist

Summer is synonymous with off-road adventures, and for side-by-side (SxS) enthusiasts, that means it’s time to get your machine ready for dusty trails, blazing heat, and exhilarating rides. Before you hit the open road, make sure your side-by-side is in top shape with this essential prep checklist.

1. Fluids: The Lifeblood of Your UTV

  • Oil and Oil Filter: Check your oil levels and change both the oil and filter according to your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule. Fresh oil keeps your engine running smoothly and efficiently
  • Coolant: Ensure your coolant levels are where they should be and the coolant is clean. This is essential for keeping your engine cool, especially on those hot summer days.
  • Brake and Differential Fluids: Inspect brake fluid levels and top up as needed. Depending on your use and your SxS model’s maintenance schedule, you might need to check and change your differential fluids as well.

2. Tires and Suspension: Keepin’ it Smooth

  • Tire Pressure: Adjust your tire pressure according to the terrain you’ll be tackling. Proper tire pressure ensures optimal handling and traction.
  • Wear and Tear: Examine your tires for uneven wear, cracks, or punctures. You don’t want a flat tire to ruin your fun.
  • Suspension Inspection: Check your shocks, struts, and other suspension components for signs of wear, leaks, or damage. A good suspension will make your summer rides much more comfortable.
Rider checking lug nuts on UTV

3. The Heart of the Matter: Battery and Electrical

  • Battery Health: Test your battery’s condition and charge it if necessary. A weak battery can leave you stranded.
  • Connections: Clean any corrosion on your battery terminals and ensure all electrical connections are tight.

4. Cleaning and Inspection: It’s in the Details

  • Wash Thoroughly: Give your SxS a good scrub to get rid of any accumulated dirt and debris from previous rides. This makes it easier to spot any potential issues.
  • Air Filter: A clogged air filter chokes your engine. Clean it or replace it if necessary
  • Nuts and Bolts: Go around your UTV and check that all nuts and bolts are properly tightened. Vibrations can loosen things over time.
Checking tightness of stud of wheel spacer

5. Summer-Specific Gear

  • Sun Protection: If your SxS doesn’t have a roof, consider installing one or investing in some UV-resistant clothing and a good hat.
  • Hydration: Pack plenty of water and electrolytes to combat dehydration on those hot days.
  • Dust Control: Bandanas and dust masks can make dusty rides much more pleasant.
  • Safety Kit: Ensure your first-aid kit and any necessary tools are well-stocked and easily accessible.

Bonus Tip: Pre-Ride Check

Before every ride, quickly go over a mini-checklist: fluids, tire pressure, lights, and a quick visual inspection can save you from major headaches later.

Now Hit the Trails!

By following these simple steps, you’ll ensure your side-by-side is safe, reliable, and ready to conquer all your summer adventures.  Don’t forget to share your favorite trails and SxS prep tips in the comments below!

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