1. General walk-around
Make a general walk-around your first priority when considering DIY UTV maintenance. A regular, short inspection can be a great prevention tool in the life of your machine. Check high-wear items like fittings, joints and bearings. Lastly, look for any stuck debris.
Versatile Ranch Hand: UTVs a good fit for regenerative operations
A new or preowned utility terrain vehicle, commonly called a side-by-side or UTV, can be a great investment for your ranch. Many regenerative ranchers are seeing the benefits of lighter-weight vehicles that are easier on the land with less soil compaction and forage disturbance than heavier vehicle options. Vehicle customization and versatility are also key components for purchasing a side-by-side.
2. Cleaning debris and washing your vehicle
We all know things get dirty around the ranch. Same goes for your UTV. Be sure to wash dirt and mud off of your vehicle on a routine basis for preventative maintenance. Dirt and grime can wear down vehicle components like bearings, seals and drivetrains. Danny also suggests removing any brush in and around the skid plate, the protective cover under the UTV. This may require taking off the skid plate to check underneath it, depending on your make and model.
3. Air filter and radiator cleaning
Use your air compressor and air gun to clean out the radiator and air filter. Even if the hours on your vehicle haven’t reached the recommended time to change the filter, it is still a good idea to check and clean it on a periodic basis. Your UTV won’t run efficiently if it’s working with a dirty or damaged air filter or clogged radiator.
4. Oil and coolants
It might be easy to overlook oil and coolant levels. Be sure to do a regular check of levels, and replace oil and oil filter based on your manufacturer’s recommendations. If you need to add oil between changes, be careful not to overfill the engine. Too much oil can cause the engine to run hot, which will decrease performance and/or damage the vehicle.
5. Inspect and replace drive belt
On most UTVs, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) drive belt provides torque to the vehicle. If the belt starts to slip, your power to the wheels will drop. Check for signs of wear and proper belt tension. Belt replacement frequency depends on the amount of wear and tear your vehicle experiences.
6. Lubricate fittings
Using a little grease can go a long way. Any part that pivots or rotates will have a grease fitting. Using a grease gun with the UTV manufacturer’s recommended lubricant will help keep your UTV running smoothly. Consult your owner’s manual for fitting locations.
7. Scheduled maintenance
Be sure to check and follow the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance recommendations. Keep clear records of when each item was performed and what needs to be done next.
A UTV can be an invaluable tool for a regenerative ranching operation, and a little preventative maintenance can keep your ride running strong for many years to come.
3 Ways to customize your UTV for a regenerative operation
A comment we often hear from ranchers is that they don’t have the time to set polywire paddocks for a more regeneratively focused operation. The good news is, a few small additions to your UTV will greatly cut the amount of labor and time you need to build a grazing paddock.
Whether you decide to build a custom UTV bed or just add a few small changes, consider these additions that the Noble UTV maintenance team has made to our ranch vehicles. These small custom additions to your UTV are real time-savers as you build and maintain your multi-paddock operation.
1. Gain speed with hooks to unreel on the go
Adding a hook for a polywire reel to the driver’s side door of the UTV will help with setting up your paddocks. You’ll be able to drive the sides of the paddock instead of walking while you set the posts and connect the fence. Noble ranch/facility assistant Paul Luna (pictured here) attaches the reel handle to the vehicle’s front hook and hooks the insulated fence handle to a gate or existing structure before he starts out. Another hook on the back corner keeps the wire in line as you go.
2. Add a top rack for posts
Paul has an additional top rack added to his UTV bed to hold step-in posts in easy-to-reach PVC tubes. The rack saves time and labor, since he can pull up and store posts as he goes without fully exiting his UTV.
3. Use a custom bar to organize reels
Hanging your polywire reels will help declutter the back bed of your UTV and keep your wire from getting tangled around something else in the bed. Hanging the reels will help save time with organization and paddock setup. Connect the fence handle hooks to the tailgate so the reels won’t bounce off the bar when driving.