What can you make with a stick of gum, a string, a paperclip, and a little ingenuity?
But today we’re going to go through some common UTV breakdowns and how to survive them with minimal tools. Trust us, these UTV trail fixes aren’t about having fun, but at least you won’t be stranded 50 miles from the devil’s outhouse if you follow our guide.
Let’s say you’re out in the middle of nowhere and you get bogged down in a ditch on the side of a trail. No problem. Unspool your winch, anchor it to a tree, and you’re out of there.
Disaster! Your winch doesn’t winch for some reason and you haven’t seen another machine in hours.
Time to make yourself a Redneck Winch.
All you need is a rope, which you can take from your dead winch.
That’s not the only improvised winch we’ve got in our back pocket. For a better look at the Redneck Winch and the very cool (AKA dangerous) “flip flop” winch, check out our homemade winch guide.
Next time you’re on a ride, make sure you have a reliable winch on your machine instead of whatever that bargain-bin winch that farted out on you was.
Our Black Ops Winches are an awesome choice. We’ve got everything from a 2,500 lb. winch to a whopping 6,000 lb. winch. We’ve even got a 12,000 lb. winch if your machine is absolutely wild. Pick the winch you need, grab the proper mount for you rig, and enjoy better winching.
Seriously, these things are nice. They’re waterproof, come with a wireless remote, use an extremely durable synthetic rope, and install easily so you can just get back to riding.
Broken axles are a pain in the butt. As if it wasn’t bad enough that you just broke a doggone axle, now you’ve got a loose metal shaft under your suspension.
So how do you deal with an axle that’s flopping around like a fish out of water?
Here are your options.
The simplest thing to do is to remove it completely and throw it in the bed. But it does take quite a few steps. Before you commit to this method, you’ll need to check to see if your differential or transmission uses the axle to seal it. This is not an issue on newer machines, but a few older machines use the CV to seal the gearcase.
Then you’re good to limp home in 3 wheel drive, which isn’t really as bad as it sounds.
Just like you would splint a broken bone, you can splint a broken axle if the break isn’t in the joint.
Grab yourself a long wrench or big honkin’ stick along with a roll of duct tape. Put your stick or wrench on the break, and tape the crap out of it. If you happened to bring a welder, use that with your wrench instead.
This is not ideal, and you’ll need to drive very carefully to make sure your axle doesn’t come loose and tear everything up. But it can get you back to the trailer in a pinch.
Next time, use better axles. We recommend our Rhino 2.0 Axles for just about anybody. Most of them are about 2 times stronger than their stock counterparts and use end-to-end chromoly construction.
The cool part is that they’re also really big—we’re talking bigger shafts and bigger CVs that run at higher articulation angles while staying cool.
Run with a full set of Rhino 2.0 Axles (and put a spare on this cool axle cage mount while you’re at it) and your next ride will go a lot smoother.
Fixing a leak on the trail is a pain. But when you gotta do it, the most common way is to use tire plugs. Here’s how to plug a tire.
When you notice a tire is starting to look a little squat, the first thing you need to do is find the leak.
The best way to find the leak is to put some pressure in your tires (not too much though) and spray your tire with soapy water. Look for where the bubbles form and there’s your leak.
Before you can plug it, you’ve got to prep it.
Remove whatever it was that caused the puncture and ream out the hole with the T-handle that came with your plug kit.
Now you just have to get it plugged.
Thread a plug strip through the eyelet in your insertion tool and generously coat it with tire sealing cement. Coat the hole as well.
Then carefully insert the plug strip into the hole with the insertion tool until only about an inch of the strip is sticking out of the tire. Then pull straight up to allow the tool to release the plug.
Wipe excess cement off and let it sit for five minutes.
Then you’re free to trim the plug. Check for leaks around it, air up the tire, and get going!
Next time, bring the plug kit, but also put a spare wheel and tire on your brand new spare tire carrier.
Our robust carriers let you bring an extra mounted tire on the trail and accommodate the massive sizes you like to roll with. It’s easy to swap out your spare on the trail with just a jack and an impact. And it fixes all kinds of problems like bigger, unpluggable gashes and beads coming off the rim.
Speaking of debeading, how do you deal with the worst case scenario of losing your bead on the trail? When your tire fully comes off the rim, you’re kind of screwed unless you happened to bring half your garage with you.
But we’ve got a trick for you to make it easier.
All you need is a ratchet strap and an air compressor. But having soapy water and a crowbar can help too. Here’s what you do:
And there you have it—bead seated and you’re ready to inflate. There are other methods too, but this is the best UTV trail fix for a tire off the rim.
If you lose your bead on a ride, there’s no doubt that you need to get some beadlock wheels.
What are beadlock wheels you ask? They use a locking ring to bolt your bead down instead of relying on air pressure to keep your bead in place. With the bead locked down, it’s virtually impossible to lose it even at extremely low pressures.
Plus, they look damn good. Take a look at our Healy Lock Series Beadlock Wheels below and then look at whatever wheels you’re running. There’s no comparison.
Grab some beadlocks, and you can count on your bead staying right where you want it every ride.
Instead of wasting all kinds of time trying to solve problems as they arise, take stock of what you have, what you’re capable of, and what you WANT to be capable of. Instead of backing off after you break something, prep your machine for real riding by upgrading to better parts.
The right upgrades and gear can make your next ride weekend one to remember instead of one you wished you could forget.