Has this ever happened to you? You've rented a cabin in some remote location and brought your ATV/boat/dirt bike for a week of fun in the sun. You unpack the car, stow the groceries, and head out for a ride. But your toy won't start. The closest specialty shop is an hour away, or the marina is going to charge you an arm and a leg to fix it. Before you let mechanical problems ruin your vacation, stop by your local auto parts store. Many parts for sports machines, like batteries, are interchangeable with automotive versions or can be found at a general automotive store. Here's a short list of parts that fit that description.
Most auto parts stores carry a wide range of batteries that fit boats, ATVs, dirt bikes, jet skis, snowmobiles and even golf carts. Make sure you bring in the old marine battery or whatever type it is and get it tested first to confirm that’s the problem, to get the right replacement size, and to avoid the core charge.
Spark plugs and wires
Spark plugs and wires are another category that you don’t have to rely on a specialty parts supplier for. Even if you think that glow plugs for a Kubota B20 diesel tractor or plugs for a Yamaha Tt-R225 dirt bike are uncommon and only available through a dealer, think again and try your local auto parts supplier first.
Boat engine parts
Similarities exist between inboard motors and some car engines. For example, the 4.3 liter GM V-6 that’s in your 2000 Glastron boat may be able to use some of the same 4.3 V6 GM motor parts that are available at an auto parts store. Always consult your owner’s manual first though. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure your warranty isn't voided. A little preventive maintenance before you hit the trail or water can help you avoid many of these problems in the first place. But if they do crop up, you now know that many of these parts are readily available somewhere other than just a specialty powersports provider.
Of course, anyone attempting repairs or maintenance should always consult their owner’s manual before undertaking any work, to ensure safety and that warranties aren’t voided.
Have you been in a tight spot and used car parts on your motorcycle, boat, or ATV? Share your experience.