ATV purchase


Not all of us can afford a brand new 2016 ATV with all the bells and whistles.

As with motorcycles or any vehicle for recreation we sometimes have to start out with buying an older model. There’s nothing wrong with purchasing a bike or ATV.

If you are going to buy used, you should know what to look for, especially with an ATV where you know that there is a chance the previous owner might have given the ATV some serious abuse on the trails.

Before you begin to cruise the adds you have a couple of decisions to make.

  • Who is the ATV for?
  • An ATV for an young adult is made differently than one made for an adult.
  • Do you want the ATV for purely recreational purposes or use on the farm?
  • Do you want to ride off-road for leasure, race or just enjoy some leisurely off-roading with your family?
  • Do you want to use the ATV as a utility vehicle?

Where is the best place to start if you have never purchased an ATV before?

  • Check with your local dealer first.
  • You may not be able to afford one off the showroom floor, but you can still go look and pick the dealer’s brain for information.
  • At the dealership you can ‘test’ the different classes of ATVs. Sit on a few to see how they fit, each ATV will be different and you might find that some are more comfortable than others.
  • Even though you are trying newer models, there really won’t be too much of a difference between them and the older versions.

After getting all the information you can, you will have some idea of what make and model you will be looking for.

Classified ads and specialized classified magazines,  And of course the number one source for finding used vehicles is the internet. Places like eBay and Craigslist  will no doubt have a lot to offer.

The problem with that is, unless the seller is in your area, you have a long way to travel to see the ATV up close.

Ok you find the ATV you want to purchase.

  • Definitely go to check it out personally.
  • When you look at the ATV for the first time.
  • Take note of the condition of the fenders, plastic and other parts.
  • The overall appearance of the ATV will give you a good idea as to how hard the previous owner took care of his vehicle.

You should lift the front end of the ATV up to inspect the under side.

  • Closely inspect the frame for any damage.
  • Make sure there are no cracks or dents in the frame.
  • Note check for rust and cracks.
  • Check the handlebars are they loose or have any play.
  • Check each wheel. Are the bearing loose? This is a good indication of worn or bad wheel bearings.
  • Check for damaged ball joints.
  • Check the oil. Is it dark in color or dose it smelt burnt?
  • Check the air filter box and air filter.
  • Talk with the owner ask if they have any records regarding oil changes and maintenance.
  • Ask the owners if they have the owner’s manual.
  • Take the ATV for a test drive. How does it feel and sound?

Most states require a bill of sale with the VIN (vehicle identification number) on it. Whether your state requires a bill of sale or not, it is always a good idea to have one to protect both you and the former owner incase a dispute crops up. Be aware that in most cases you are buying the ATV “as is”, which means the previous owner is not responsible for any problems you might find with the vehicle after you have purchased it and brought it home.


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