Water Wars: What to Do If Your ATV Hydro Locks

August 19th, 2019 by

Water Wars: How to Fix a Hydrolocked Engine in an ATV

There are a few things that you love more than taking your ATV offroading. It’s thrilling, you get to explore new territory, and you always enjoy the muck and the mud.

Sometimes, this means you have to drive across a few mud puddles, standing water, or even streams.

However, getting water in your ATV’s engine is one of the fastest ways to completely ruin your four-wheeler.

If you want to save it, you need to know what to do before you even have a hydrolocked engine on your hands in the first place.

This post is here to make sure you know exactly what hydroloking is, how it happens, and what you can do to get water out of your ATV engine as soon as possible.

Read on, and make sure that you share this post with your ATV riding friends.

What Is Hydrolocking?

First of all, let’s make sure that you fully understand what it means when your ATV has a hydrolocked engine.

This is a fancy way of saying that water has gotten into your ATV’s internal combustion engine. It’s especially common if you enjoy offroading and if you occasionally have to ride through streams, puddles, or even shallow rivers.

Here’s the thing, though: as fun as it is to ride across water and puddles of mud, your engine wasn’t designed to handle it — at least, not excessive amounts of it. (Yes, this can happen even if you’ve installed a snorkel kit.)

Your engine’s job is to compress both gas and air as your piston moves up and ignites, and then use that force to push the piston back down. But if water gets into that engine, the piston can’t compress it in the same way that it can with gas and air.

This means that your engine gets stuck, you risk electrical shorts, corrosion, broken or pent piston rods, and you may even damage your ATV beyond repair. After all, even the most experienced ATV rider can’t outsmart the laws of physics.

You try to restart the engine, but it makes a sputter and then stops. When you try again, nothing happens at all.

You need to act quickly and calmly in order to accomplish a safe and successful hydrolocked engine fix.

What to Do If You’ve Got a Hydrolocked Engine

Now, we’re going to walk you through the most effective steps of fixing an ATV’s hydrolocked engine.

There are two key things to keep in mind here.

First of all, you need to turn off your engine completely until you’re certain the issue has been resolved to avoid a potential shock. Additionally, if you’ve been out riding with friends, always ask for assistance.

The First Steps

Start by turning off your engine and getting your vehicle out of the water or mud if possible. Hook it to a friend’s ATV or use a winch.

There’s a good chance that the air filter box is filled with water, so you’ll need to take off the seat, open the filter box, and take the filter out of it. Then, open up the box’s drain plug and clean out any water or dirt.

If you have a paper filter, or if you rode in mud, you’ll need to replace your air filter.

Then, try to tip your bike upwards to a 90-degree angle to allow water to run out of your exhaust and motor. Once that’s done, you need to start the “repair” phase at home or in a garage.

The Second Phase

Next up, take a close look at your air inlet and remove any mud or water droplets still left inside of it. If you don’t, your ATV will end up sucking all of that back into the engine.

Then, disassemble, rinse, and dry your breather tubes.

You should also check out your stator. Take off the cover and, once the water has drained a bit, use your air compressor to get out even more. You can also use a hairdryer to get rid of excess moisture.

Now is also the time to dry out your belt transmission, if you have one. Open up the drain at the bottom of it, or open the housing cover to make sure there’s no water left inside the pulley mechanisms.

If your ATV was entirely underwater or stuck in the water for a long time, you’ll also need to flush out your cooling system and refill it with coolant.

Phase Three

Now, you’re good to start up your engine and lube it — but make sure that you take out spark plugs and wires so the water can run out and so that the engine isn’t further damaged.

Then, replace your plugs (in some cases, you may need to use about 4 before your ATV starts again) and resist the temptation to jumpstart the ATV.

Then you’re ready to change your engine and transmission oil, draining anything that’s left in the tank before replacing it. (If the oil is clear, then it doesn’t need replacing.)

Finish by flushing your brakes, replacing the fluid, and greasing your bike to stop any further rusting.

Tackle a Hydrolocked Engine with These Tips

Thanks to this guide, you’re now more than ready to tackle a hydrolocked engine on your ATV.

Of course, in some cases, you may end up needing to order replacement parts.

That’s where we come in. We have the parts inventory that you need to get your ATV up and running again. If you end up needing to replace your ATV after a hydrolocking incident, or if you’re just interested in buying your first ever ATV, we can also help you to find the perfect new or pre-owned model.

Don’t want to handle maintenance issues on our own?

We have a service centre that can take care of the hard work for you.

NO matter what you need, we’re here to make sure that you get it.

Posted in ATV, Quadding, Safety, Tips