You ask we answer. Here's the latest in our "Ask a Mechanic" series.

Q: How often should I lubricate my bearings?

A: Do you ride a dirt bike or ATV? Ah, it doesn't matter. The short answer is once a year. But don't run away yet because it's not that cut and dry. You must take in a number of factors before settling in on once a year. Also, we highly recommend anytime you lubricate the bearings you clean them. First, let's review: A dirt bike and ATV have the following bearings:

Weekend warriors can get away with lubricating their bearings once a year but even that stretches it. If you ride once a month or so then the once a year lubrication job works. If you race or hit the trails every weekend I'd recommend lubricating semiannually. Regular trips to the dunes or other sandy areas require bearing cleaning and lubrication three even four times a year. Imagine a few tiny granules of sand etching its initials into any of the above bearings. Sand can even work its way into sealed bearings so don't risk it.

When cleaning just use contact cleaner or solvent then add a dab of grease and get back to riding.