Working on your RZR or your Maverick is a little bit different than working on your car. You’re a lot harder on your side by side than your car (I hope) and that means more time in the garage and more time replacing parts.
If you’re like me, you only get a new tool whenever the old tools aren’t right for the job, and you use that nice pair of channel locks for everything from adjusting shocks to opening a bottle. It works doesn’t it?
It’s time to ditch that one-size-fits all toolbox and make your life a whole lot easier. Working on your UTV can be fun if you make sure you’ve got the right tools nearby.
Here are the top seven basic tools that the experts here at SuperATV keep in their garages. If you’ve got these, you can keep your UTV in shape and keep it on the trail every weekend.
If you don’t have an impact wrench to work on your machine, then you need to close this article and go to Lowes (other hardware stores are available) and buy one right now.
An impact wrench could be considered the most basic tool in your toolbox—as elementary to your lifestyle as beer and underwear. It makes getting your machine torn down as quick and easy as possible.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that pneumatic impact wrenches are cheaper than electric wrenches. They also tend to be lighter and last longer. The problem with pneumatic impact wrenches is their reliance on very large air compressor tanks to run for any time at all, and the fact that you have to remain tethered to that tank at all times. Also, that pneumatic impact isn’t something you can throw in your UTV toolbox for field repairs.
It’s for this reason that we typically stick with electric impact wrenches. They’re a little bit pricier but the portability and dependence on batteries rather than massive air tanks makes them ideal for the home garage. Not to mention you get multiple speed settings with an electric impact.
The impact wrench is the centerpiece of your home garage. Check out this list of the best electric impact wrenches available. Don’t skimp. The $200 to $400 asking price is well worth the investment.
Owning a complete socket set will make working on your machine so much easier.
Most UTVs and ATVs use metric bolts only, but that’s not always the case. Check out our list of common sockets and other tools needed to work on the most popular side-by-sides.
There are lots of different options out there when it comes to brand, price and quality level. You should be able to get what you need for south of $70, but check out this helpful breakdown to find the perfect one for you.
You need an air compressor in your garage. Tire pressure is one of the most important and easily changed aspects of your machine. You should be checking and adjusting your tire pressure before every ride.
If you plan on using it just to adjust tire pressure, a small compressor in the neighborhood of 6 gallons will be more than enough. You should be able to find one for around $100.
I know you’re going to want to use it to clean the dust out of your garage too, but that’s really just a good way to get all the crap that falls off your boots into your eyes and lungs.
A dead blow hammer is every mechanic’s best friend. For those who don’t know, it’s basically a soft rubber hammer that’s designed both to not damage whatever you’re banging on and to not rebound painfully with every hit.
Sometimes a bushing or a bracket just doesn’t fit quite right, and the older your machine is, the more likely you are to have weird fitment quirks. That’s where the dead blow comes in.
Bang those A-arms back into place or get those bushings nice and snug in the pivot blocks without denting all your precious hardware. It sure beats banging against parts with the palm of your hand. Oh, and that dead blow is just as handy at removing stubborn hardware too.
A good 2 or 3-pound hammer should be good enough to get most jobs done and you should be able to find a good one for less than $40.
You need a torx bit set because just about every piece of plastic body work on your machine is held on with those star-headed bolts. If you need to wire anything or dig into some of the harder-to-reach parts of your machine, you’ll have to remove some torx head bolts.
You’ll also find them on brake line clips occasionally too, so if you ever need to swap out A-arms, trailing arms, or the brake lines themselves, you’ll need the right torx bit for the job.
You can find a complete bit set for under $30.
You’ll want a good Allen wrench (or hex key) set if you plan on doing any maintenance on your machine. All of your fluid drain plugs take Allen wrenches. They really don’t like to make any two drain plugs use the same size Allen wrench either, so make sure you get a complete metric set.
It doesn’t end with drain plugs though. You can expect to find a few odd bolts here and there that require an Allen wrench. For example, the clutch arms in most UTV primary clutches are held on by Allen head bolts, so if you need to clean, repair, or upgrade your clutch, you’re out of luck without Allen wrenches.
Allen head bolts are incredibly easy to strip out if you use a wrench that’s too small or try to use a different style bit head (that second option is generally a terrible idea no matter what you’re doing). Just make sure you have a complete set with every increment so you can use the right wrench for the right job. Otherwise you’ll end up with a bunch of stripped-out bolts and plugs that will need replaced.
We recommend going with a bit set over the full handheld set because they tend to be cheaper. Plus, you already bought a really nice cordless impact wrench, right? You should be able to find a good set for less than $50.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a pair of needle nose pliers and snap ring pliers. What’s a pair of needle nose pliers good for? A better question is what aren’t they good for? They’re that fill-in-the-gap item that will help you get clamps removed, feed wires to where you need them, get those pesky C-clips off axle shafts, and generally grip anything that your fingers are too fat to reach. They make your life easier.
Snap ring pliers are just as important. They’re designed specifically to fit into snap rings and pull them apart. Any time you want to change a ball joint, you’ll need a pair of snap ring pliers. There are numerous other snap rings that are lurking in your machine that are nearly impossible to remove without the right set of pliers.
These are a couple items that you can be thrifty with. You should be able to get both snap ring pliers and needle nose pliers for under $20 total.
When you have a well-stocked garage, you need to organize it. Proper garage tool organization can save you a lot of time and frustration.
So what do you need? First and foremost, get a tool chest. These come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure you get one that meets your needs. You can get a standing cabinet for $300–$500 complete with casters to make it easy to move around. If you want more, there’s really no limit to the amount you can spend for more storage and features. The sky’s the limit.
If you don’t have enough tools or space for a cabinet like that, you can opt for a smaller tool chest. Smaller sizes that can sit right on your workbench should run you less than $300.
Speaking of workbenches, make sure you have one of those too. Workbenches come in all shapes and sizes and you can spend anywhere from about $200 to over a grand easy. How much you need and how much you want to spend is entirely up to you. UTVs are not a lightweight hobby, so make sure it’s solid enough to handle hundreds of pounds of hardware and parts, and make sure you can attach a vice to it.
They say cleanliness is next to godliness, so get organized and you’ll be the garage-tool god.
When we started this list we said, “let’s come up with 5 tools everybody needs!”
Obviously, we didn’t stick to 5, and this list could easily grow to 100 items without batting an eye. Here are a few more tools that didn’t make the cut in this list, but should be on your radar if they’re not already:
How to Install the RIDE System Rear Steering Kit on a Polaris Ranger XP 1000
How to Adjust ATV Shocks
The Best UTVs for Farm Use
How to Adjust the Camber, Toe, and Caster on a Side-by-Side
Homemade UTV/ATV Lift Kits—Good Idea or Not?