There are a few things to address
before that first trip to the dunes.
Whether you’re a first-timer or a pro,
ATV or UTV prep will require a few
similar steps. Starting with fresh oil
is a good first step with both ATVs
and UTVs. Constant wheel slip raises
engine rpm and just plain makes your
motor work harder. We recommend
fresh high-quality oil and a filter before
every trip. This is especially important in
today’s high-performance four-strokes.
The next thing to address is air
filtration. By design, flying sand is going
to try and enter your motor, causing
internal self-destruction. It is your ever-important duty to keep it out. We have
had a ton of luck with Uni foam and
K&N’s gauze-type air filters in the sand.
Using a Pre-Charger filter wrap only
makes things that much better. K&N
also makes a Powerlid for most popular
sport quads; this filter lid replaces the
stock airbox lid with a serious pre-filter,
allowing you to jet for an open airbox
but keep the protection of a closed-up
We’ve found the clamp-on-style
air-filter setup is the safest for sand
use. Some ATVs and UTVs come this
way, some can be adapted via the Pro
Design airbox flange, and some are
just stuck with the cartridge or drop-in
style setup. The drop-in or press-flange
style, like on a Polaris RZR 800 or even
a Yamaha sport quad, needs to be
properly greased to be truly effective.
This is especially true for sand-dune
prep. Any time you service the filter, use
your finger to evenly apply a light coat
or bead of grease to the sealing flange.
This additional grease seal or barrier
works wonders at keeping any and all
sand in the airbox and out of the engine.
The drive system is another area that
needs attention when going duning. On
an ATV, we would recommend using
WD- 40 or any light chain lube versus
the stickier ones that will pick up lots of
sand. A sandy chain will destroy a good
set of sprockets in no time. Speaking of
sprockets, a slightly heavier steel rear
sprocket will outlast aluminum 4:1 when
ridden in the giant sand box.
The final drive system on most UTVs
consists of a CVT belt and clutch
pulleys. It is not necessary to start
with a costly fresh belt every trip, but
we would highly recommend cleaning
the whole system as a precautionary
measure. You can remove and clean the
belt in hot soapy water, but be sure to
rinse it thoroughly and fully dry it before
reinstalling. The pulleys can be cleaned
with a Scotch-Brite pad and contact
cleaner. Be sure when reinstalling the
clutch cover that the seal/O-ring is in
place and functional. You should also
ensure that any intake filters are clean
and in place.
Get good fuel and plenty of it! With
constant wheel slip and the increased
load of dune riding, your ATV or side
Duning is one of the most
fun and challenging things you
can do with a UTV or ATV, and the
challenges can be minimized with preparation and
knowledge. The more prepared and experienced you
are, the more fun it’ll be. Here’s an example of a dune-ready RZR complete with GPS and safety equipment.
Night duning requires the most experience, equipment and teamwork; you want the front and
rear cars to have LEDs to the hilt, LED whips, GPS, radios and duning experts at the wheel.
Reading terrain is actually easier at night with proper lights than at high noon.