If you’re planning to buy an ATV for fun and recreation, don’t buy a brand new one. The rules for buying a car is the same for buying an ATV: new isn’t worth it even if you can afford it. With the average price of brand new ATV’s hovering around $10k, you really need to consider a used one, especially if you’re new to power sports.
You can get a quality used ATV at a price that won’t break the bank if you know what you’re doing. Here are a few tips on how to do it:
Know What You Want
Research what make and model you want before heading out. Check the manufacturer’s website, dealership websites, forums and reviews. This will keep things in perspective and let you know of any potential issues past owners have encountered with the type of ATV you want. Check out all available information on the subject, and don’t hesitate to reach out to past and current owners.
You’ll be surprised how many will enthusiastically respond to help you in your decision. By identifying what make and model you want from the get go, you won’t be swayed to buy anything else that you did not plan for. If you’re worried about where to get parts, go to sites like powersports-performance.com and check if they carry the parts for the used ATV you want to buy.
Go to a Local Dealership
The best place to find quality used ATV’s is the local dealership. Dealerships have in-house mechanics that make sure the used ATV’s they get back are in good working condition. Most dealerships offer a parts and service warranty, that’s why all used ATV’s undergo a maintenance check before rolling out. It’s their reputation on the line if they sell you a lemon.
The used car sales tactics some dealers employ is worth it because of the lower risks involved and the warranty they offer. While you’re there, request for a test drive and take a friend who knows a lot about ATV’s so you have another set of eyes. Be sure to check the reviews of the dealership to make sure you’re buying from a reputable dealership.
Local ATV Clubs
If you’re a member of the local ATV club, ask around if someone is selling or check the billboards for ads. Chances are, someone is willing to part with his/her old ATV for a fellow club member. If you’re not a member yet, seek out someone who is and ask. If the club has a social media page, post a message of what you’re looking for, or check if they have a dedicated classified ads section for members who want to sell.
Sites such as Craigslist and eBay are also good sources for ATV’s, but you shouldn’t buy anything online without seeing it in person and testing it. If you take this route, consider buying an ATV from a local seller in your area, instead of having to drive hundreds of miles just to see a model that might turn out to be a bust. Schedule a meet up with the seller and ask if you could do a test drive. It also pays to have your own mechanic check out the ATV, so ask the seller if s/he is willing to meet you at the shop where your mechanic works.
Do a Thorough Inspection
You should endeavor to check every square inch, every nut and every bolt of the ATV you’re buying. It doesn’t matter if the seller is the nicest person in the world. It’s your money, and most sellers will be blinded by the fact that they want their babies to be perfect. There’s a little emotion involved in every sale, especially if the ATV was loved like a family member, so it’s your job to get down and dirty when it comes to inspection.
Check the frame for any signs of an accident like welds and bent areas. Check the tires and ask for a discount if they’re worn. If the ATV is lifted, check the driveline for wear and tear. Watch out for low or dirty coolant for signs of radiator and engine problems.
Enjoy the Ride
When buying a used ATV, you also have to make sure that the seller is telling you everything you need to know. Listen to your gut and avoid dodgy sellers who refuse to answer simple questions. You should always ask the reason they’re selling to get an idea why they want to sell it. Lastly, you should always ask for the service record of the vehicle so you’ll know how well taken care of it is and what repairs have been done, if any. Now that you have your own ATV, have fun on the trail and stay safe!