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Six things your ATV rental company forgot to tell you
by Gary Madsen 03/31-2014

Experience the UTV and ATV world with Gary

2015 Polaris RZR XP 1000 2-Seat

by Gary Madsen on 11/06/16

It has been a year ago when I decided to upgrade my Polaris RZR 800 to the Polaris XP 1000 being nervous and excited not sure what to expect of this kind of machine.

From the first ride the end of October last year when I was braking in the belt and engine to my latest 4 day ride in Marysvale, Utah my wife and I are having a blast!

The Polaris XP 1000 compared to my RZR 800, is like comparing mom’s 1995 Toyota Corolla to a 2015 Ford Mustang GT.

The power and sweet tone of the exhaust are the first thing you notice when hopping in this sport UTV (smile on my face), and then when you go for your day long rides in who knows what kind of pounding terrain let’s admit it we are off road and looking for obstacles, the suspension is smooth it soaks up those bumps in the road (smile on wife’s face) the 13” of ground clearance means you are not hitting those rocks in the middle of all the roads that the RZR 800 seemed to hit every one.

Being in the UTV repair business I know firsthand that a side x side requires much more maintenance and loving care than the small ATV’s ever did. So after every outing there is some work to be done including complete wash and drying of the machine, removing the air filter and cleaning it out along with wiping all dirt from air intake box. Checking it over including the oil level, this is all just part of ownership.

Polaris is not without their problems including a major recall mine included, I promptly had the recall performed which knowing what they had replaced it was a good upgrade to the XP 1000 not only for safety but repairing some weak parts with new heavy duty parts.

In the last year my riding experience has taken me to the mountains including some spring riding with snow, the desert in St George, Utah and the sand dunes at little Sahara.

As many people know I raced cars for 30 years this is in the category of extreme sports which gives you a rush like no other. This new off road sport gives me a rush once again not as intense as my racing days but enough that I want more. I have found that the sand dunes can be the most extreme rush of the riding conditions and still be in control. The XP 1000 does incredibly well in the sand dunes it took me and my friend straight up sand mountain which I had never experienced before we have so much fun on the back side in the large sand bowls I am experiencing and learning so much, the XP 1000 is just an incredible versatile play toy it lets you enjoy all kinds of terrain.

With all that being said I have decided to upgrade once again, I am looking serious into the Polaris XP 1000 turbo, the only reason I am wanting more power is for the sand dunes otherwise the XP 1000 has more power than you ever need on all other driving conditions, my 2015 Polaris has been a great machine and I have kept it in great condition it is going up for sale so if you want to look at it or want more information just let me know, there is a lot to know and understand about owning one of these machines and I will spend time showing the new owner what to keep track of and what to look for.

Looking forward to riding hard again and lets ride together!

Spring riding in the Uintah Mountains

by Gary Madsen on 06/06/14


It is the 1st of June and I want to go for a ride on my Polaris. It is time to test my new wheels and ITP tires.

With this set up I am now back to the 50” machine, so I can drive through all the gates the forest service has put up in the high mountains.

I called my friend, Dan Miller, to see if he would take a ride with me up toward the areas our dads took us bow hunting many years ago. He said, “ Yes”, quickly, telling me he needs to get out of the concrete jungle!

So Sunday morning we load up the machine, grab a cooler with ice and drinks, stopand pick up a 6-piece chicken, and head to the mountains. The mountains we are headed to are about ten minutes from where my dad lived in Oakley. Probably why we went there often.

Part way up the dirt road we pull over and unload the RZR. The morning is cool -about 63 degrees, and the air is as clear as ever. There is not another truck on the mountain…this is going to be a great day!

We hop in and belt up. Start up the trails winding back and forth - a little rockier than I remember, but it is no big deal in the 800 RZR. Dan and I are telling each other memories of when we were up here with our dads. They were friends, and this is how I know Dan.

We got to a really steep part that had boulders everywhere. Dan tells me this is where my dad was pulling the horse trailer up the hill when it rolled down the mountain. Luckily the horses were already taken out of the trailer, knowing that the only way they were getting up this hill would be with it empty.

At the top of the hill is the gate that closes the mountain for the winter. We were hoping it would be open for the summer. We get to the top and the gate is locked with a big sign stating it is open from June 14th – September 7th

We can see where there have been some ATV’s going up on the mountainside and bypassing the gate. I am a firm believer in treading lightly and not making roads where you are not supposed to.

There are some other trails lower we want to check out, along with one of my dad’s favorite bow hunting spots. He had built a tree stand down in the bottom, sitting just next to a nice game trail. One of my favorite hunting stories comes from this exact spot. Another day…..

We start heading on the trail toward the tree stand area. Dan spent some time here so he remembers this area better than I do. We come up on about four trees blocking the entire road.

We see a road that is headed down hill, one that did not used to be here. So we head that way and end up on the exact spot where we used to park our trucks and then had to walk in the rest of the way.

After spending a few minutes talking about the past memories, we decide to load the Polaris up and head over to another favorite mountain spot. It’s only about 30 minutes away.

We head up Mirror Lake Highway and reach our destination. Unload the RZR and head out again. It is about 1:00 in the afternoon.

Driving around and “getting a lay of the land” as my brother-in-law,Tim, always says.

Admiring the spring run-off. The streams are fast and clear. I tell Dan that I don’t remember this mountain having much water ever. Then realizing that we spent most of our time up here starting from the end of August. By this time the spring run-off had melted, and the ponds were dry. This was a great and different time of year. Snow, rivers, ponds, and everything very green, with mountain flowers starting to bloom.

We stop and admire the rushing stream coming down from the mountaintop; it looks almost like pure ice melting.

Dan takes us to the jeep road where we used to hunt with my dad. It starts heading deep up through the mountain, and before long we were in the snow. It has made part of the road into the streambed.

This road is getting fun to drive with more obstacles the farther in we get. We soon get to a spot where the trees have fallen down and completely blocked the road.

Here comes another Polaris 800 S up the hill toward us. They had come up from the bottom of the mountain, and told us there were a few rough spots but just follow their tracks and we will make it down.

We headed down the road dodging trees, running through two feet of snow at times. And having a blast, laughing all the way down. No wonder we didn’t see any animals.

We met up with our new found friends and decided we would run that trail together - so, off we went for another ride. It was like Disneyland in the wilderness!

The more we take out the Polaris RZR 800, the more impressed I am about what it will do and how much fun it can be.

After every weekend ride I perform some kind of maintenance on my sidexside. I remove the air filter and clean the box, shake out the filter and clean the filter sock. I check fluids to make sure they are clean and full. No water in the fluids. And give it a complete bath. This is one of the neat things about a UTV - just get the hose and go to town.

With my maintenance routine I believe there will be many years of enjoyment from my Polaris RZR. This is one of the biggest problems I see coming into the shop. The UTV’s and ATV’s have had very poor maintenance and now they have bigger problems.

Well, I am off to explore the Piute trails this summer and check out the 50” trails that make up so much controversy.

Give us a call now for all your maintenance and repair needs in Salt Lake City.

Till we ride again.

Gary Madsen

UTV Service




Wow! Is the dealer experience worth it?

by Gary Madsen on 05/15/14


I am currently working on an Arctic Cat 550 ATV.


This ATV was used as a rental unit in the beautiful Bryce Canyon area.

I have washed it off twice and it still has a red sand tint to all of the drive train, and it probably always will.


The customer bought it at a lower price knowing there was going to be quite a bit of repairs needed. Not sure he thought it would be as many as it turned out to be.


With 10,000 miles on the Arctic Cat and a lack of maintenance, it needed a lot of work and plenty of new parts. So I started putting together a check list of what it needed from most important to what it will eventually need in the future to keep this ATV on the trail.


I ordered as many parts from the aftermarket suppliers as I could. It saves a lot of money on most parts we order this way. But now I needed to order quite a few parts from the dealer.


I had mentioned to Erik that I could order all the parts we needed over the internet. He said to me that he would like to support the local businesses.

I also like to be a local business supporter. I myself have been in the service business 30 years, so I have done business with lots of dealers and aftermarket parts houses. They both have their place.


So here is the experience that I went through using our local dealership.


I looked up on Google to find the hours and phone number to the dealership.

Hours of operation 9:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.


It was 5:00 on a Tuesday and I had the list of what was needed. So I called the parts department and was promptly put on hold. After a couple of minutes a parts guy answered. I identified myself and my company. He proceeded to write down the parts list. He then informed me that he was busy on the front counter with customers and would either get back to me by 6:00 that night, or in the morning to let me know cost and what they had in stock.


It was 11:30 on Wednesday morning when I decided to call the dealership back about the status of the parts. After being put on hold for several minutes a parts guy answered the phone. I asked for Devin whom I had spoken with last night. I was informed he was off that day. Well good for him! The new guy, whom I was speaking with could not find any information regarding the parts list I was waiting for. So let’s start over again. Going through the same process, he said he would call me back and let me know cost and what they had in stock.


30 minutes later I received a call back from the Arctic Cat dealer (YEAH).  He had the cost and to my surprise had a good amount in inventory and they would order the rest. Approximately $300.00 paid with a credit card.


Thursday morning I drove to the dealership and picked up the parts they had in stock. There were three items they had to order. They said, “We may even see the parts the next day”.


It was now Saturday and I was working on the ATV. I needed several parts to keep working on the machine. The plug wire end had broken while trying to get it out of the cylinder. It had been in there so long it was not coming out willingly.

The plug wire is part of the coil unit on this Arctic Cat 550. The coil itself was in great working order, so I just needed to find out if I could buy just the plug wire or an end to fix it.


We were also missing some of the air ducting to the filter assembly and needed to get the parts ordered for that repair.


So, again I head to the Arctic Cat dealer to order ducting parts, find out about the plug wire and check on parts already ordered.


It was Saturday morning when I walked into the dealership. There was not a single  customer anywhere. There were two parts guys at the counter. One of the parts guys was on the phone with a customer, and the other one was more interested in whom he is talking to on the phone than me, the customer who is standing right in front of him.


The parts guy on the phone is the person who has been helping me. He has to tell the other guy to help me out and see about some parts I am waiting for.


After looking for the parts that have been ordered,. he let me know they have not come in yet and gives me a look like - why am I asking so quickly after they were ordered? He then looks up the parts for the intake pieces missing and we made a list of needed parts to order.


Then I asked him about the plug wire, and if I can buy just the end or wire itself. He looked at it and then told me the “dealership would just replace the whole thing”. That is how they would fix this problem.


I asked him to tell me how much the coil assembly would be. He looked it up and tells me that it is $129.00. The whole time I was there he made me feel like I was wasting his time.  I left without ordering anything.


I immediately headed to our local aftermarket motorcycle parts house. I showed him the coil plug wire assembly and what I needed to repair this problem.


He went to the back and came out with a plug wire end repair kit - $4.95!

This was exactly what I needed.  It would solve the problem correctly and make it just like new.


I am all for supporting the local dealer. But who are they helping when the customer gets treated poorly. They tell you the only fix to a plug wire problem is $129.00 instead of $5.00.


No wonder you have heard people say that when they take their machines to the dealer they feel violated. This is because they have been.


The $124.00 saved on the plug wire will be used on other items that are broken or missing.


After this last experience I will be buying my parts through the internet. I can view what is needed, place them in the shopping cart, pay for them and they show up at my door step several days later.


I believe this is a big part of the reason our local brick and mortar businesses are struggling in this economy. Most people would still prefer to talk to a live person, but when you, the customer are treated poorly and not welcomed, I myself will find other places to spend my hard earned dollars.


Gary Madsen

UTV Service















How will my stock Polaris RZR 800 handle Little Sahara sand dunes

by Gary Madsen on 04/28/14

How will my stock Polaris RZR 800 handle Little Sahara sand dunes on Easter Weekend?

My first trip to Little Sahara sand dunes in 20 years!


It was Easter time and I was deciding where to take the UTV and do a little marketing for utvservice.com 


I decided on Saturday at Little Sahara. I knew there were going to be an ample amount of people wanting our bandanna and sticker kit, which included a redneck phone protector (the zip lock plastic bag we put the scarf and sticker in).


So the plan started by finding someone to go out to the dunes, which becomes the largest city in Juab County temporarily. Approximately 25,000 people gather for this weekend.

The first words out of all my friends’ mouths are about how many people would be there - it will be a zoo!


My sister Colleen and brother- in-law Tim Verrinder were coming down from their home in Nampa, Idaho, for a celebration of my mom’s birthday. It was on Friday of the same weekend.

After talking to Tim about going to the sand dunes, he thought it would be fun and had never been there in all the years he lived in Utah. He was excited to see it.  Craig Pantuso agreed to spend the day so he and Tim could catch up - they are lifelong friends from back in high school days.


Now we were three in a two-seat Polaris RZR. This was not going to be the best scenario. I started thinking about how we could get another ATV or UTV to take down with us. I also found out from my past experience that it’s not good to ride alone.


My wife Jackie and I started cutting bulk material into scarves and then folding and stuffing them with Utvservice.com stickers into plastic zip lock bags for our give away bags.


I was still thinking about how to get another machine for the trip-when my good customer and friend Don brought his Polaris 800 in for a checkup (I had replaced the upper end on the engine). So after some horse- trading he agreed to let us use the RZR for Saturday. Better yet he was going to be at Little Sahara for the weekend, also, and the Polaris would already be down there. All we had to do was pick it up, ride, and deliver it back to their campground!


Friday in Salt Lake City, the weather was less than perfect with plenty of wind. Don left a message on my phone that the Polaris RZR was down at the dunes and ready for us. But the conditions were very windy and a bit cool.


Not exactly sure how to dress for the next day, I made sure I had extra clothing. I am a planner so, on Friday I checked everything on my RZR 800 – tire pressures, oil level, full with gasoline, extra 5 gallons of fuel. I loaded everything onto the trailer and put it in the garage.

All ready to go - 3 coolers with water and ice, and at 7:00 A.M., my brother in-laws Tim and Don Hart show up with a bucket of chicken and some Calvin’s (beer)  - must be an Idaho term.

Next stop was at Craig’s house and off we went to Sand Mountain. We drove the route my dad used to take me 40 years ago. Did I really say that? Ugh


It’s approximately two hours to get there from Salt Lake, and this is one of those roads you won’t drive very much. There are new views along the way, including all the new homes and roads at Saratoga in what used to be a bunch of barren land.


We arrived at the entrance to Little Sahara where you pay your fee. At the pay station brother in-law Don had a senior park pass and it saved us 50% entrance fee! $9.00 instead of $18.00 -there are a few advantages to being a senior.


The Polaris 800 we were borrowing was at the base of Sand Mountain. So we headed that way and as soon as we made the turn to the mountain, we could see the city of motor homes, trailers, campers and every toy known to man. We were now a part of the zoo. There were three asphalt turnarounds at the base of Sand Mountain and it looked like you could just park anywhere. So we pulled up next to a big camp, unloaded the Polaris and went to pick up the other RZR.


Our first agenda of the day was to meet some people and give our packets away in return for some names and emails.


We were about 15 minutes into our marketing plan when Don and I had lost sight of Craig and Tim in the other machine. Driving around the near vicinity we noticed the UTVService machine, but no one in it. All of a sudden here came a nice white Polaris 900 XP heading up to the sand hill. Craig and Tim were in this machine. Come to find out the guy had rolled it the night before and thought something was wrong with it. So they were diagnosing the problems.


It did not take long to give away our kits and we knew that staying around this 24-hour party was not for us old guys.  So we were ready for a day of playing in the sand. We headed to the back of Sand Mountain where there was plenty of riding. It wasn't long before Don and I realized that it was not a good thing that we had put the coolers with all the food and water in the machine that Craig and Tim were driving. These guys got easily distracted and we didn't know when we would see them again. After we made the back of Sand Mountain, it did not take long before we were completely by ourselves and thoroughly enjoying what turned out to be a 75 degree day with no wind and plenty of sunshine.


I was completely surprised by how well our Polaris 800’s handled the sand. We were just having a great time. And when we got hungry or thirsty, we just pulled over for a little snack and would watch all the different groups of riders come by. Some were motorcycles testing their skills at the jumps and landing in the soft sand. Others were the sand rails and they were riding together  (some of these machines probably costing upward of $100,000), then the quads and side x sides. You name it they were driving it.

After about 6 hours of riding, we decided this was about as much fun as we could have for this great outing.


So the test on the upper end rebuild of Don’s 2009 Polaris 800 S was a complete success!

No burning oil, great power and the engine never missed a beat.


One lost whip flag, a bucket of chicken and lots of drinks gone. We were a tired group of senior citizens. I think the four of us could not have spent a better day!

I will definitely be riding the sand dunes another time.


More lessons on riding the sand dunes take place every time I travel there.


     Sand paddles would be a great advantage to have.

     A small tool kit with some hardware.

     Tow rope.


     Several groups of motorcycles came by to borrow this and that. We were able to accommodate most of them.


If you are in need of service work do not hesitate to give me a call.


Until we ride again.

Thanks for reading.


Gary Madsen









Polaris RZR Sand Dune Riding!

by Gary Madsen on 03/31/14

My wife Jackie our dog Zaydin and I headed to the sand dunes in beautiful southern Utah at Sand Hollow State Park for two days of riding fun!
It had been about 25 years since my last experience on the sand dunes & I remembered how much fun I had.Way back when I had played at the sand dunes was on my friends Honda 250 EX 2wd.
Guessing it weighed in at around 450 lbs.

Now we were taking out 2011 Polaris RZR 800 and really looking forward to having a great time as a family outing. 
After settling in at the campground we headed over to the ATV apparel store to purchase helmets, goggles, gloves. 
We had made our own scarfs so now we were ready for some serious sand dune riding.The advantage of the campground we were staying at was just hop in your machine and start spinning your tires in the sand and head up the mountain.
We planned our outing for Monday and Tuesday so not to have as many people riding.

Cooler with water   -check
A couple of oranges  -check
Tank full of gas          -check
Our dog                       -check

Strap in and hit the sand dunes!

We are into the ride about 15 minutes and having a blast heading up in the mountain of sand.Winding and turning on this warm sunny afternoon. The forecast is for 80 degrees and I think we have made that mark!                                           As we are driving up the mountain and through the crests on the hills, they are starting to get bigger and never been here before I started getting hesitant to just drive over what looked like a cliff of sand.
Jackie sitting in the passenger seat holding on to our faithful dog. I thought it was time to make sure we were not going to fall off of a cliff. After all I have to make sure there is a place to sleep for me tonight right? 
As we are coming up to one of the larger crests I decide it is a good idea to stop and make sure we are not heading for a quick trip down the other side. Stopping about 4 feet from the top.
After stopping and realizing we are OK to proceed I hit the gas and go nowhere. Tires spinning stuck in the sand.
 Jackie and Zaydin hop out while I try it alone, maybe less weight will pull us out. Hit the gas and sand flies at all 4 tires.
I ask Jackie if she would push at the same time I hit the gas and try to get us out. She accepts the challenge and as soon as we are ready she pushes the RZR and I hit the gas the sand flies up higher than her head and comes straight down on her.
 Mistake #2
Apologizing as I am climbing out of the RZR for the first time since getting stuck. I take my helmet and goggles off to assess how bad the situation is.
I look down at the right rear tire and it is ½ gone! And the front tires are not a whole lot better.Ok-well let’s just pick up the back end of the UTV and move it over. 1, 2, 3, lift. We did not even move it one inch out of the sand. 
Our UTV weighs a lot more than the ATV I had drove before in the dunes. Approximately 4-times the amount.

Wait a minute we have a winch! Looking around to see where to hook it to. Nothing within 200 yards of our Polaris & even with the extra-long winch cable of 50’ that is not going to work.
After trying to do what looked like the obvious to get us out. We realized we are high centered on the sand itself. We need to dig out the sand from underneath the UTV- nothing to dig out with but our hands, wish I would have grabbed that tiny little shovel I saw in the compartment of the 5th wheel that has never been used since the day I put it in there.
We start digging out and after about 15 minutes of this & watching the sand fill back up the area as fast as we are digging it out. It started to seem hopeless.

Now this beautiful 80 degree day somehow shot up to about 100 degrees at least It seemed like that.
I think we are going to spend our last time together right here on this mountain. Not even thinking we are about 1 mile away from camp. 
Telling Jackie that if this were a weekend day. There would have probably been 10 atv’s come by.
All of a sudden we here in the distance the sound of an engine. We are going to be saved! Closer and closer it came until he popped over the crest and saw us stranded on the mountain.
A man and his son on an ATV with great big paddle tires and they were both dressed as if they were ready for the Baha 1000
This guy knew what he was doing. And after giving us a quick tug backwards and we became free! 

Now off to have some fun. But I will have to say with caution in the wind. We enjoy some time riding and playing in the sand. Now it is time to head back to our camp.
We are heading down toward our camp site. We come across another UTV it looks just like ours accept this is the 4-seat version of the Polaris RZR 800.         It is stuck exactly like we were. Well it is our time to pay it forward and we head straight over to them. Knowing exactly how they are feeling.
An older gentlemen and I say that cautiously. His daughter and her young son were out having some family time together. 
The dad’s pride is bound and determined to dig them out.
After talking with her for a minute and offering our services. She says they need to get the rental machine back soon or were going to have to pay for another ½ day rental.
Now with my vast experience I get our UTV in position to hook up our strap and pull them out. 
She hops in there machine and I am ready to pull at the same time. We both step on the gas at the same time and out it comes down the hill. 
Hugs were given and off they went to return their rented Polaris sand buggy.

Jackie and I talked about if we had rented our machine and spent even 1 hour of the 5 hour rental that takes a the fun out of spending a lot of money and not being able to enjoy all the time.
So keep this in mind when renting a UTV or ATV and heading to the sand dunes to play.
Listen to the rental place and if they do not give any information before heading out to play we have made up a list everyone should think about before spending your hard earned dollars.
This six things the rental place or the division of natural resources forgot to tell you.

1. The big crests of the hill have the most softest and deepest sand
2. Stop on the downhill side
3. Don’t spin your tires once you realize you are stuck
4. If you plan to do a lot of sand dune riding buy or rent paddle tires
5. Lower your tire air pressure for sand dune riding
6. Follow the sides of the mountain for easier riding

Until we ride again.
Thanks for reading