I live in Ireland and it rains a lot, so for me, riding in the rain isn’t a novel experience. But you’re right to ask the question, after all you wouldn’t leave a soft top car sitting in the rain.
Rain won’t hurt an ATV, it’s designed for use in all weather conditions. While your ATV is weather proof, it isn’t waterproof and should be sheltered when stored.
In this post you’ll learn what will hurt your ATV and how you can prevent it. I’ll share my tips for keeping your ATV’s mission critical components clean and dry in monsoon conditions.
Weather Proof V’s Water Proof
Your four wheeler is weather proof, and by weather proof I mean a downpour won’t hurt any of it’s components. Your ATV has been designed to rip through all types of terrain in all types of weather and that includes water splashes.
Parking your ATV outdoors in the rain short term isn’t a problem, but parking it outdoors long term will cause you lots of headaches. Anyway, if your parking your ATV outside, you might find this post helpful. How to store your ATV outdoors
All the mission critical kit like dash clocks, ignition switch, CDI units, electrical relays and carburetor intakes are usually mounted as high as possible on the bike.
Never the less, all important electrical modules are fitted with water seals and the wiring sockets are fitted with weather pack plug seals, which are weather proof.
But sadly your four wheeler isn’t water proof, meaning if you stay in the drink for too long, water will seep into components and cause failure.
Front and rear lights will take on water and bulbs will likely blow. But far more serious than that is a condition known as hydro-locking which can grenade your engine in a heart beat.
So what is hydro-locking? Hydro-locking happens when you venture too far into the drink and the air intake sucks up a cylinder full of river water.
Water, unlike fuel air mix, isn’t compressible and so something has to give. A bent con-rod and/or a hole in the engine casing is common. And you’ve guessed it, your engine is totaled, the fun’s over. I’ve done it and it’s a horrible feeling.
If however you’re lucky, you can remove, clean and dry the spark plug and crank over the engine to clear the cylinder. You’ll also need to:
- Remove the air filter
- Clear and dry the air box
- Fit a new air filter
- Drain the carburetor bowl
So how can you prevent hydro-locking damage? Taking care, knowing your ATV’s capabilities and the terrain are your best defenses.
Lower RPM reduces the chances of hydro-locking when messing around in water, but where’s the fun in that right!
The best option is to fit a snorkel. A snorkel is an accessory that extends the intake ducting and raises opening to above the handle bar height.
The snorkel is usually fitted in front of the driver and the opening faces backwards, so the driver has a clear view of the water level. In theory, as long as an ATV has access to air it will run.
Protecting Mission Critical ATV Components
Okay, so you know if your going deep end, you need a snorkel. But what about protection for components from regular old everyday rain. Well lets take a look at what works for me, and has done for years.
It rains a lot here in Ireland, even in summertime, guess that’s why our grass is so green and our milk so rich. To combat all that moisture I use two magic ingredients to help protect my Quad.
I begin with thoroughly clean and dry kit, I’ll remove skid pans and covers to get better access and I’ll dig out any muck and clear any water traps. I’ll go ahead and spray WD40 penetrating oil on all electrical components like:
- Ignition switch
- CDI module
- Starter solenoid
- Plug wire & cap
- Electrical connectors
- Handle bar switches
- Throttle control cables
- Brake controls
As the body is clean I’ll use DuPont Teflon coating to almost everything in sight.
- Engine and components
- Suspension & steering components
- Brake components (NOT ROTORS)
- Electrical wiring
- Body panels (NOT SEAT OR HANDLE BAR GRIPS)
- Dash clocks
The Teflon coating helps keep kit clean and repels the rain. You’ll find much won’t stick to it as firmly as before and water runs off the surfaces. This of course won’t last forever and depending how often you use your ATV, you may need to repeat this several times a year.
Power washing removes the coating, so I try to avoid washing as long as possible.
Can ATV’s go in water? Yes, some ATV’s are able to go into water. But ATV’s are not water proof and while ripping through water splashes is fine, deeper water can cause serious engine damage and should be avoided.