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Cleaning Your Argo Amphibious ATV


Keeping your Argo XTV clean doesn’t just make it look nice, it can keep water, dirt and UV light from damaging components. Taking these steps won’t just make your amphibious ATV look good, it will save you from having to make repairs down the road.

Cleaning Your Argo Without Causing Damage

While your Argo may be amphibious, you still need to keep some areas water-free. Don’t spray water directly at the air intake or muffler. This can let water enter the engine, contaminating oil and fuel. In extreme cases, it can cause hydrolocking. Likewise, spraying water directly at the axle seals may force water into the axle housing.

Never use a pressure washer to clean the engine or transmission. This can force water inside, where it will mix with oil or hydraulic fluid. This turns these fluids into a thick, pasty emulsion that won’t protect sensitive parts from friction damage.

When using a pressure washer, stick to a 40 degree (white) tip for most rinsing. A 25 degree (green) tip can be used on the wheels to remove thick layers of mud from the hull. Never aim the washer nozzle at decals. While the controls are designed for occasional splashes, they should not be soaked in water. Use a towel to wipe down switches and gauges. Do not spray water or cleaning products directly onto these parts.

Cleaning the Exterior

Scrape Off Mud
Start off by using a hose or pressure washer to remove thick layers of dirt. If you don’t have access to a pressure washer, you can use a plastic mud scraper to chip off layers of caked-on mud, then remove surface contamination with plain water.

Wash and Rinse
While you can use car washing soap, you’ll get better results using soap made specifically for dirt bikes and ATVs. These soaps are formulated specifically to remove dirt from the composites used to make your vehicle’s hull. Check the instructions: most of these soaps need to soak for a few minutes to absorb dirt before being rinsed off.

Since the brakes are mounted inside the hull, there’s no way for brake dust to gather on the wheels. This means you don’t need heavy-duty wheel cleaners to keep your Argo’s wheels clean.

Wax and Protect
You can use car wax, but like car wash soap, there are better off-road focused alternatives. Restorers bond to the top layer of the plastic, filling in small imperfections while creating a barrier. The result is a surface that resists UV light, shrugs off dirt and looks shiny. For regular use, look for products that don’t require or recommend sanding.

Do not use WD-40 on your amphibious ATVs hull. While it may return the shine to plastic parts, the effects are brief. If this lubricant makes contact with a decal, it can dissolve the adhesive holding it onto the hull.

Cleaning the Interior

While you don’t want to soak the controls and switches, the same techniques to clean the outside of your Argo can be used for the inside. When cleaning the seats, use a protectant made for vinyl motorcycle seats. While similar to car protectants, it will have added anti-UV chemicals that will protect the fabric when exposed to direct sunlight.

Cleaning the Winch

Dirt can shorten the life of your winch, whether it has a steel or synthetic cable. Corrosion causes electrical problems, mud rusts steel, and grit breaks down the toughest rope fibers.

Start by removing leaves, mud and other debris from the winch and checking the electrical connections. Use a wire brush to remove any corrosion.

If your steel rope is muddy, unspool it and hose it down, letting the water drip down the end of the rope. Let the rope dry before feeding it back onto the spool.

For synthetic rope, run the rope through warm water and a mild detergent, twisting and pushing the rope to work the soap through the fibers.

Drive Chains

Argo recommends applying fresh lubricant every 10 hours of operation, or after getting the chains wet. Argo’s chain lubricant displaces moisture, preventing rust.

Even if you have an automatic chain oiling system, you need to remove all dirt and lubricant from the chains every 100 hours. Remove the chains from the vehicle, then clean the chain with a solvent and a stiff brush. If you don’t have access to a parts washer, you can soak the chain in white spirits or parts washer solvent. Be sure to lubricate the chain before use.

We’re Your Source for Argo XTV Parts and Service

Did you find something you need to fix while you were cleaning? Do you need to pick up maintenance supplies, like chain lube? For everything Argo, go to the experts at Shank’s Argo. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, just one mile from I-81. We also ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada. To order, visit us at

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