If you don’t plan on using your four-wheeler during the winter, having it take up valuable space in your garage or driveway is kind of pointless. Ever thought about moving it to a self storage unit? It’s an affordable option that allows you to keep your all-terrain vehicle out of the way and safe from winter weather.
But storing an ATV isn’t as simple as shutting and locking the door on a storage unit. You need to prepare it for long-term storage and find a facility that makes storing an ATV easy. Here’s what you need to consider…
All-Terrain Vehicle Preventative Maintenance for Long-Term Storage
Just like cars, motorcycles, and boats, ATV maintenance before storage prevents damages sustained over long periods of inactivity. When you plan to store an ATV over the winter, this means winterizing the vehicle.
Each ATV will have different steps for proper winterization that depend on the type of engine and the ATV’s model. “Some have carburetors, some have fuel-injection engines…it’s going to be important to check with your owner’s manual,” says Jon Rall, ATV expert and Senior Public Relations Coordinator for Kawasaki, which sells ATVs, motorcycles, and watercraft. “Each owner’s manual will have specific instructions for storing your ATV.”
For an engine with a carburetor, there’s one step that should always be completed before long-term storage. “Drain the fuel out of the carburetor,” says Rall. “[Also], you’ll want to hook up a battery tender so it stays juiced up, or even unplug the battery.” With fuel-injection engines, Rall says fuel draining isn’t required before storage, but “the owner’s manual will likely suggest a gas additive or fuel stabilizer for winter storage.”
There is another issue with ATV storage that you need to be aware of, though—batteries tend to freeze in cold weather. After months in storage during the winter, it’s possible an ATV won’t start because of a frozen battery. Because of this, you might look in to a climate-controlled storage unit to protect your four-wheeler.
But according to John Dubbe, General Manager of Operations at South Minneapolis Self Storage in Minneapolis, Minn., climate control is a waste of money for an ATV. “A [standard] unit would be just fine,” he explains. Though Minnesota’s winters get extremely cold, Dubbe says removing the battery and keeping it at home works just as well.
Four-Wheeler Storage Concerns to Ask Facilities About
One thing you’ll want to figure out before storing your ATV is what storage unit size you’ll need. This can be difficult, though, since every four-wheeler model has different dimensions. That’s why calling storage facilities to see what unit size they recommend is a good idea, especially since facility operators know what can and can’t fit in each unit.
“If you have roll-up doors [with your unit], and they’re six-foot doors, a 6×10 unit would be ideal,” says Dubbe. “Maybe even a 5×10 unit, as long as the door is wide enough to get an ATV inside.” Dubbe also suggests measuring your ATV’s dimensions to get a good idea of its size.
The size of your four-wheeler could be another concern when getting it into the facility. Though South Minneapolis Self Storage doesn’t have this issue, some indoor facilities have narrow hallways and entrances that could complicate moving an ATV into storage. Always check with facilities to see if they have outdoor access—or, at least, wide hallways and entrances with indoor access.
Also, keep in mind some indoor storage facilities that allow vehicle storage will have concerns about oil leakage, batteries, and gas tanks. Dubbe says South Minneapolis Self Storage isn’t as worried about these issues, but they still have their own precautions to protect their facility.
“We epoxy seal all of our floors, so if something were to spill, it’s pretty simple to clean up,” Dubbe explains. “A lot of people here even store motorcycles with gas in them. I would just want them to turn the gas off. If they turn that off, I don’t even care if the gas tank is full.”
Lastly, a four-wheeler is valuable, and storage security should always be a priority when storing anything of value. “[Every unit here] is individually alarmed, and you’d want to find a place like that [for an ATV],” says Dubbe. “You certainly wouldn’t want to store your ATV at a drive-up place that didn’t have a fence or some type of security.”
Many facilities offer gated access, video surveillance, and more so you can have peace of mind about leaving your vehicle in storage for long periods of time. Again, check with the facility before agreeing to store your vehicle there.
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