UTV Service

Clutches costing you money on UTV / Side x Side

These are things that will cost you lots of money unless you know about them before you purchase your new UTV.

Cost of repairs because of lack of knowledge about high maintenance

We all know that servicing and maintaining a UTV is needed and recommended.

Most of us have had cars and trucks which require maintenance, so we think about servicing and lubing, just like we do on our own vehicles we drive on a daily basis.

This thought process does not fit the off-road side x sides.

The average cost of replacing CVT clutches $1500.00-$2000.00

CVT Clutching

Most side x sides have this type of clutch system. There are a few that do not, but we are not talking about the few.

This is the one item I see most overlooked for service and one of the most expensive to repair.

CVT clutches and belts are slipping a lot during periods of driving, and there is lots of movement going on.

As hard as the manufacturers try to keep dirt from getting in the clutch housing, it is physically impossible.

Clutches are made out of aluminum and have sliders or rollers moving in and out constantly. Then you add fine dirt and sand, and this is like having sandpaper inside your clutch system.

After hundreds of miles of this sandpaper effect with no physical cleaning of the clutches, it wears out the aluminum part of the main clutch and renders it useless.

The part that can be rebuilt is not the area that is wearing out. These clutches are balanced from the factory and do not have single pieces for replacement on most clutches.

What type of maintenance will help prolong the life of your clutch?

I recommend, at the minimum, that every other trip you remove your clutch cover and blow out your clutches with compressed air. Do not do this in your garage as you will be surprised by the amount of dust coming out of them. In fact, wear a breathing mask to be safe.

My personal experience

This amount of maintenance might be different than the average person’s. I raced circle track cars for over 25 years. 3-4 nights, along with a Saturday of repairing, was a normal week for this type of racing. So, one night of service after a weekend of fun is very minimal to me, but might be a lot more than you had expected.

That old Fram oil filter commercial that says “You can pay me now, or pay me a lot later”, is spot on for this one maintenance item on side x sides. This is probably one of the systems on a side x side UTV that you never had to do when owning a vehicle or probably an ATV.

When do you know your clutches are not working correctly?

  • The RPM’s are not where they used to be.
  • It is hard to get into gear.
  • There’s a smell of rubber burning.
  • You do not get the top speed you used to get.
  • It jerks as you are accelerating.
  • While speeding up it is not a nice smooth transition anymore.

I have invested in most clutch tools, and have been gaining a lot of knowledge about these types of systems, including how much my customers are having to pay to fix something when they had no idea what was happening.

I personally believe you could put off major clutch repairs doing this type of maintenance on your clutches for 1000-2000 extra miles.

In most cases that would be 2-3 years of a prolonged, expensive repair. Eventually, the clutches will need replacing.

Thank you for reading, and hopefully, this will save you some money in the future and might be something you look at before buying used.

Give me a call if you would like to bring in your UTV for clutch service or just maintenance.

Until we ride again!