How To Build A Bomb Kawasaki UTV On A Bargain-Basement Budget
Jul 16, 2022
Even when buying used, UTVs like the Kawasaki Mule, Kawasaki Teryx, and Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 are anything but cheap. If you didn't know already, off-roading is an expensive hobby. And regardless of whether you use a KRX for entertainment, a Mule for work, or a Teryx for a mix of both, the upper bound for UTV-related expenses seems to have no limit. For one, you have the fixed cost of the vehicle itself, then you must add to this the price of other fixed costs like trailers and trucks to pull them.
After the fixed expenditures have been made, you then have to factor in the variable costs like fuel, oil, filters, and fluids. Plus, for novice, reckless, and thrill-seeking drivers, replacement parts will also come into play. When everything is said and done, you could be running low on funds before you’ve even had a chance to fully accessorize your vehicle!
All else being equal, older side-by-sides are generally cheaper than newer side-by-sides. And if you can find a well-used machine that’s been stored indoors, washed after every ride, and maintained properly, you’ll likely be in a position to make a deal to save a few bucks. If you get a good rig for cheap, you can take your savings and invest them in the high-value products that are the most beneficial to you. But take note, however, because “high value” isn’t the same as “low cost”. In most cases, you can actually save money in the long run by spending more at the beginning. If a product costs twice as much but lasts three times as long as the cheapest alternative, it makes financial sense to buy the former. This applies to everything from cheap, uncoated polycarbonate windshields to flimsy UTV loading ramps that only last a season or two before buckling.
The cheapest accessory is the accessory that you avoid buying altogether. So before you go on a shopping spree and max out your credit card buying aftermarket Kawasaki Mule, Teryx, or KRX accessories, we’d suggest putting a few miles on your machine so that you get a better feel for what you might want to have, and what you absolutely must have. Then, once you’ve honed in on those essential accessories that you can’t ride without, you can go to a place like Everything Kawasaki Offroad to find an option that is both long-lasting and inexpensive. Regardless of whether you’ve just purchased a base-model machine and are wanting to customize it to your liking, or if you’re looking to upgrade your existing work rig without affecting the bottom line, here are some low-budget tips to help you build your side-by-side on the cheap!
Saving By Protecting
No matter if your machine is built, rebuilt, or prebuilt, protecting the parts and accessories you currently have is a whole lot cheaper than buying new parts and accessories after mishaps. Instead of shattering your front headlights, why not get a front bumper? And before you wreck your lower side panels, puncture your oil pan, or wreak havoc on your driveline, wouldn’t you rather just install Kawasaki Mule skid plates, Kawasaki Teryx nerf bars, or Kawasaki KRX rock sliders?
Bumpers, brush guards, and bash plates are all fine and good for protecting your Kawasaki side-by-side from collisions and impacts, but what about other forms of damage? Water, abrasion, and vibration can all take their toll on a UTV, and the vehicle’s electrical system is particularly vulnerable. So if you expect to encounter water, some dielectric grease will go a long way. And if you ever need to replace wire harnesses, relays, or terminal connectors, paying a few extra dollars for a fully-waterproof unit will pay large dividends in the long run.
Because Kawasaki is the original equipment manufacturer of the Mule, Teryx, and KRX, it’s safe to say that they know their vehicles inside and out. As such, the OEM accessories for Kawasaki Teryx and Mule are usually never horrible. But just because something is good, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s great. Take the factory Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 windshield offerings as an example. Does Kawasaki offer pretty good OEM half windshields, folding windshields, and full windshields for the Kawasaki Teryx KRX? Yes. But can you find products of equal or greater quality for lower prices on the aftermarket? Also yes. In some instances (such as with filters, oils, and fluids), you’re paying extra money for nothing more than a standard off-brand product with the Kawasaki logo on the packaging. There are some Kawasaki Teryx and Mule parts that aren’t readily available on the aftermarket… but not many. So when you’re building your rig, stick to aftermarket parts and accessories if you can.
Cheap Audio Builds For Kawasaki UTVs
If you’ve deemed music to be essential, there are several audio options for the Kawasaki Teryx, Mule, and KRX that are less expensive than full-blown stereo roofs with amps, speakers, and subwoofers. You might be ok with something as simple and effective as earbuds or helmet speakers, through which you can play music via smartphones or MP3 players.
The next step up could be a portable speaker. But don’t waste money on a portable UTV speaker that gets drowned out by the other sounds coming from your side-by-side. Although it’s not portable, the Cooter Brown Kawasaki Teryx / Mule Stereo by EMP is an inexpensive option that won't be overpowered by the engine or exhaust.
Cheap Ways To Build Your Kawasaki UTV
In addition to the price of parts, gear, and accessories, you must also consider the price of tools when building your buggy on a budget. If you have a standard set of household tools like wrenches, socket sets, and screwdrivers, you'll be able to install most parts and accessories. And while steering wheel pullers, clutch tools, and brake drum removal tools do make particular projects easier, there are usually workarounds that one can implement. With these, however, you have to consider opportunity costs, and perhaps it’s worth it to buy the right tool in order to save the only assent you can never buy more of: time.
Repair Before You Replace
Another way to keep the cost of your build low is to keep replacements to a minimum. If an axle goes bad, you might be able to extend its life with a new axle boot and joint. If either your tie rods or drive shaft goes bad, new tie-rod ends or drive shaft yokes are good mid-term fixes that’ll get you through several more seasons. There are rebuild kits and replacement sub-components for many parts of your Teryx or Mule, be it carrier bearing rebuilds, engine rebuild kits, or portal gear rebuild kits.
Focus On The "Vital Few" Products
Using the Pareto Principle, you can achieve a cheap UTV build by focusing your efforts to leverage the largest returns from the smallest investments. Custom body wraps, for example, look great no doubt. But the aesthetic improvements brought about by a decal or sticker may be almost as good for a significantly lower cost. Similarly, something like an ECU tuner or seat belt bypass plug can yield far-reaching benefits that greatly outweigh the unit price. With an ECU tuner, you can remove the speed governor, rev limiter, and other restrictions that artificially restrict your vehicle’s top speed. You may have new cylinders or an aftermarket exhaust, but without an ECU tuner, neither will do you any good!
You don’t have to be rich to be a UTV owner, nor must you be an experienced mechanic with decades of experience. At places like Everything Kawasaki Offroad, cheap parts and accessories can be found for riders looking to build their machines on a budget. While we can’t lower the price of gas or other input costs, we can help you by delivering accessories that cost less and last longer than the competition. We can assist you with upkeep so that your parts don’t go bad prematurely, and we can help you identify the accessories that’ll give you the most bang for the buck. At the end of the day, sacrifices might have to be made. But with our help, you won’t have to sacrifice the parts and accessories you want for your Kawasaki Teryx, Muel, or KRX!