Because I work close to an ATV trail, riders often stop in to ask directions, have a picnic, or just answer the call of nature. Last summer a group pulled in, and one of the riders was in a panic - no, more like a frenzy - and from the way he was sweating, I thought for certain someone had died. Nope! He had just run over a stick and punctured his right front ATV tire. He explained that his quad was still on the trail and that he had rode that last several miles on the back of his wife’s four-wheeler. That probably explains why he was so distressed.
It only took us twenty minutes to repair his punctured tire but the real problem was having to ride back up the trail to get to his machine. The first thing I did when we finished up that evening was to make sure I had a good assortment of tools for the tires on my own machine.
Tire Tools for the Trail
Each time you head into the backcountry, or on any trail for that matter, there is a chance you’ll experience some sort of malfunction, even with one of your tires. I’m here to tell you that no matter what your machine is rolling on, even the most rugged ATV all terrain tires, something can go wrong. Here are some items to consider packing in your on-board tool box so that you aren’t caught flat.
Tire Repair Kit
These are great for punctures or flats. The kits come loaded with a variety of items to fix various problems. Most kits are stocked with a rasp, insertion took, plugs, patches, rubber cement, cutting blade and CO2 cartridges. Everything you’ll need to get back on the trail quickly and safely.
Portable Air Compressor
For as little as $30, these handy devices bring tires to the right pressure until you have a chance to make permanent fixes back at home.
Believe it or not, most riders have far too much air in their tires, ultimately compromising performance, safety, and the life of the tire.
If you ever do need to remove a tire, it won’t be possible without one of these.
Although these aren’t a tool, they help with traction and performance in certain terrain and can even serve other purposes if necessary.
Tire Tools for the Shop
For the do-it-yourselfers and shade tree mechanics of the world, there are many tire tools to help you perform maintenance in the convenience of your own workshop. Just remember, if you plan on doing your own ATV tire maintenance, always practice safety first. Oh, and be sure that no kids are around to hear you swear when you smash your fingers.
This list spotlights some common items to help you get the job done:
Many varieties of this tool exist, find the one that works best for your needs.
For around $150 this item seems a bit pricey, but not if you ride a lot or make frequent switches from sand tires to racing tires to mud tires.
Tire Iron or Spoon
A necessity for any workshop, you’ll probably use this versatile tool more than any other.
This small tool gets overlooked until you need one.
What? Why would anybody want a tread cutter? Simple, when those big traction bars on a set of Maxxis Bighorns begin to wear, you can cut away the rounded corners for improved gripping action.
The beauty of seeing your $10,000 ATV sitting upon an old cinder block or an upturned bucket is certainly hard to beat, but go ahead and invest in a jack - you’ll thank me later.
Bead Seating Tank
Usually a five gallon air tank, this tool is designed to help you get air into those hard-to-fill tubeless tires.
Bead Starter Strap
I wish I had a dollar for every time I needed one of these portable devices. The amount of time and frustration they save is amazing.
Tire Maintenance is Important
It’s really easy to overlook the little things like checking pressure, replacing leaky valves, dry rot, or rotations. It is recommended that you check your ATV tires each time you service your machine. And if you take the proper tools with you on the trail, you’ll never have to ride on the back of your wife’s four-wheeler and come to my office in a frenzied panic!