Nothing beats a weekend of four wheeling. When you put together beautiful weather and some great trails, you’re sure to have the time of your life. That is, of course, unless your quad breaks down. A mechanical failure can turn a great weekend into misery in a heartbeat, not to mention it’s potentially very dangerous.

You may think this will never happen to you. Hopefully you do all the right things: regular tune ups, maintenance, and close attention to the sound and feel of your machine. If you notice a sudden change in your ride, don’t just ignore it; check it out to make sure there’s not a real problem brewing. Preventative maintenance is one of the most important things you can do.

So what do you do if you suddenly become victim to unexpected problems with your ATV shocks, engine, clutch, or some other part? You should always ask yourself this question before a ride so you won’t be caught unprepared. Besides learning some of the basics of how your four wheeler works, you need to prepare your portable toolkit.

When you bought your quad, there should have been a basic toolkit that came with it. If not, start by getting these basics together. Your kit should include wrenches in the appropriate sizes for your machine. This should include a deep socket spark plug wrench. Also include a Phillips and standard screwdriver, Allen wrench set, and a good pair of pliers. It’s a good idea to have at least these basics with your quad at all times.

Of course, you also need to be aware of what your ATV needs. Some models may require a specialized tool, or something non-standard. If your machine needs metric wrenches, for example, be sure you don’t bring standard. Perhaps you need a specialized driver to remove an access panel. With so many manufacturers and models out there, it’s important to know your own ATV.

Along with these basics, include some additional tools that may speed up or otherwise help your repairs. A basic utility tool is very helpful. These generally include a couple of knives, a small pair of pliers, screwdrivers and a few other useful items, all folded up into one convenient tool. They are easy to carry, but can be a real lifesaver.

As we all know, duct tape fixes everything. Bring a roll along on your ride for emergency patch ups. If nothing else, you may be able to hold something together long enough to get back to camp for more extensive repairs. Electrical tape is also useful, along with zip ties, WD-40, and a pressure gauge. Finally, never go on a ride without your basic safety kit, including a flashlight and some sort of fire starter.

As with anything else, safety should be your first consideration on a ride. Part of keeping yourself safe is being prepared for anything. Especially on a long ride, you never want to be caught limping along on a bad ATV shock, flat tire, or worse, being broken down entirely. A toolkit can make the difference between a delay for repairs and a truly dangerous situation.