• Keep an eye on tires and wheels for bent rims, slices or small nails that could cause a potential leak. It’s no fun repairing a 4x4’s flat tire in a swamp!
• Adjust tire pressure equally from left to right to improve steering and stability.
• Adjust tire pressure for the conditions you will be riding in. Rock hounding, which can cause sidewall-to-rim pinches and leaks, requires a higher pressure than mud.
• Set front wheel alignment to factory specifications. Some models require toe-in while others require toe-out.
• Inspect wheel bearings by shaking the front wheels. Loose or worn wheel bearings will affect steering precision.
• Inspect rear axle bearings by wiggling the rear wheel. Any detectable free-play in the axle could mean loose axle bearings, wheel hubs or swingarm bearings.
• Inspect swingarm bearings by wiggling rear axle and/or swingarm. Watch the swingarm pivot for side movement. Any side movement will require replacement of the swingarm bearings.
• Check the level of the front transfer case oil, plus front and rear differential oil level. Top off differential oil with 80W-90.
• Inspect the color of the oil for the engine, front transfer case, plus front and rear differential. Anything other than a honey/green/black color indicates contamination and requires a drain and refill. Water contamination will show up as gray/white.
• Add one ounce of GM Limited Slip Differential Fluid (four-ounce bottle) to any front differential that utilizes multi-plate clutches. This reduces steering effort, particularly on the Honda Foreman 350.
• Inspect engine oil level. Top off with the correct amount and weight of SH or above-rated name-brand four-stroke motor oil.
• Inspect two-stroke oil injection tank level on two-stroke Polarises. Top off with the recommended type and weight of two-stroke injector oil. Inspect integrity of oil injection tank feed line to motor for cracks.
• Check your coolant level and top off with 50/50 mixture of water and coolant.
• Inspect front and rear differential vent hoses for cracks. The hose end must be open and looped downward creating an air bubble which prevents water entry.
• Inspect front and rear CV (constant velocity) rubber boots for cracks and tears. Immediate boot replacement is required if any damage is detected. Water entry will severely damage a CV joint.
• Inspect ball joint boots and knuckle boots for cracks and tears. Repair tears with silicone seal or replace the component. Worn ball joints and knuckles will affect steering precision.
• On chain-drive Polarises, make sure the chain is properly adjusted. A too-tight chain will stress the entire drive train. A chain that is too loose can easily come off in demanding terrain.
• Inspect the sprockets on chain-drive Polarises frequently. If the teeth are hooked or broken, you must replace the sprocket. Also, always replace a pair of sprockets and the chain as a set. An old sprocket will ruin a fresh chain, and vice versa.
• Keep an eye on the adjustment of your four-by’s range selector linkage. Frame flex can put it out of adjustment, making it difficult or impossible to change ranges.
• Remove front brake drum inspection plug (if applicable) and inspect shoe thickness. Replace shoes if the thickness is under specifications.
• Adjust front and rear drum brakes (if applicable) to correct for wear.
• Inspect front and rear drum brake vent hose (if applicable) for cracks. The hose end must be open and looped downward creating an air bubble which prevents water entry.
• Inspect front and rear disc brake (if applicable) pad thickness. Replace pads if thickness is found to be under specifications.
• Inspect front and rear brake disc (if applicable) for visible damage or deformity and front disc guard for structural integrity.
• Inspect front and rear hydraulic rubber brake lines for secure mounting and possible damage.
• Inspect rear drum brake shoe thickness by noting indicator on exterior part of brake shoe cam. Replace shoes if they are beyond acceptable range.
• Inspect brake actuation cables (if applicable) for free movement. Lubricate or replace the cable, if necessary.
• Test steering from lock-to-lock for smoothness and ease of movement. Binding can indicate tight or dry ball joints, knuckles, steering stem bushing, steering stem bearings or mis-routed cables.
• Inspect front and rear suspension and suspension mounting points for visible damage or oil leakage. Stand the quad up on the grab bar and work the front suspension through full travel to inspect for binding and rebound damping action.
• Inspect swingarm universal joint rubber boot for cracks, tears. Immediate boot replacement is required if any damage is detected. Water entry will severely damage a universal joint.
• Be sure to increase your suspension’s preload when loading it down with cargo. If you don’t, the suspension will sag and you won’t get all the travel you paid for.
• When adjusting preload, make sure the left and right side shocks have the same setting. If they don’t, your quad will pull to the side.
• Inspect skidplates and attachment hardware.
• Inspect battery for signs of corrosion. Ensure terminal bolts are tight. Inspect battery water level (if available). Adjust level to correct height as marked on battery with distilled water only.
• Inspect lights for lens/reflector integrity and test for proper operation.
• Inspect air filter element for contamination. Clean, if necessary, and re-oil. If it’s not a cleanable element, replace it.
• Four-by riding often requires you to work the handlebars—and grips—hard. A combination of grip glue and safety wire will insure your grips will never come loose.
• Keep the radiator free of mud build up and debris that can restrict proper airflow and cooling.
• Four-bys rely on many control cables. Stiff action can mean the cable is frayed and ready to break. Lube cables with a cable luber and, if the action is still stiff, replace the cable. Lube the lever/pedal pivots with Dri-Slide.
• Bonus Tip: Fill fuel tank with recommended grade of fresh dead dinosaur extract (not that old stale dead stuff!). Install DOT-approved cranium protective device, your choice of ocular protection and go riding!