July 14, 2021

What to Look for When Buying a Used ATV

Okay, so you’ve tried out an ATV, maybe borrowed a friend’s machine for a trail run, as you wanted to be sure before you committed to buying your own All Terrain Vehicle. Great, so now what?

Do you buy one brand new, right out of the factory or go searching for a used ATV that might be a little used but the price tag is a bit more affordable? This might be a question answered less by your emotions than by your bank account. But never fear, we are here to help you decide which used ATV is right for you, or at least what to look for when searching online for that perfect used ATV. Or near-perfect anyway.

First piece of advice is usually common sense, but bears repeating: always see the ATV you are thinking of buying in person. Buying online is fine for most products but a used ATV, like a used car for example, needs to be seen in person, given a test drive, etc. “Looking under the hood” so to speak of an ATV is essential as you want to know what you are buying.

Here are some specific things you need to check out before buying a used ATV:

1. The Overall “Look” of the ATV
How does it look? Are there cracks in the paneling? That may indicate the owner was accident-prone, which may have resulted in damage of the machine. Is the paint scratched? Or faded? Has the ATV been stored outside or inside by the owner? Plastic panels can become brittle if exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time and therefore be prone to breaking easily. Has mud or dirt built up inside the machine? If so, the owner might not be the best at cleaning the machine and may have been careless. How sturdy is it? Check the condition of the entire machine . . . that will give you a good indication of its sturdiness and integrity.

2. Checking “Under the Hood”
Have there been fluid leaks in the valve or gaskets? How about the air filter? If the air filter is clogged, that could cause major issues later on. Check the oil. Seems another “common sense” thing to do, but important nonetheless. Make sure you look at the wheel bearings and ball joints for wear and tear. Are there any traces of grease on the axle’s inner or outer CV boot? Again this could prove costly in the long run so making sure these are all in proper working order before purchasing is essential.

3. Brakes
Does it get more obvious than this? Lift up each side of the ATV, remove the wheel and pads to inspect the brakes individually. That leads us to . . .

4. Tires
Take a look at the tread of the tires . . . are there cracks or missing chunks of rubber? Has the previous owner replaced them previously? How old are they, and how much have they been used? Replacing the tires is costly but can be necessary, just be sure you know what you are getting into.

5. Shocks
What is an ATV for? Off roading, going on adventures in the backwoods, going off the beaten path? If so, shocks are one of THE essential things needed for a good ATV experience. It could make the difference between a smooth ride and a tough ride. So make sure the shocks have been taken care of by the previous owner. A good test is to push down on the front bumper and see how the vehicle reacts . . . more than one bounce off the ground means the shocks need to be replaced.

We hope that helps you in your search for your ideal used ATV!

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