How to buy an ATV

Whether a used or new vehicle is right for you will depend on personal factors like your budget, intended use, and desired features. Sales incentives may be available for buying new. But, if you’re buying a used ATV/UTV, consider the vehicle's condition and the work it might need. You should also test drive the ATV/UTV before buying it to ensure you’re comfortable operating the vehicle.

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Should you buy an ATV or a UTV?

Generally, you may desire an ATV if you want to ride for fun and a UTV for off-road work like farm chores. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) offer an efficient way to get around outdoors and are great for solo riding, off-road trails, and making quick turns. Utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), also called side-by-sides (SXS), are ideal for hauling and handling rough terrain. UTVs are large and powerful vehicles that seat passengers side by side, and they're typically built with lots of storage space.

See more on the difference between ATVs and UTVs.

How do you choose the best ATV/UTV?

Here are some main considerations when buying an ATV/UTV:

  1. Features

    If you're investing in a power sports vehicle, make sure it has the features you want, such as headlights and roll bars. If not, find out if can you add them. Check out Rollick's ATV Accessories Guide to see what you might want. Ask yourself if you prefer to ride a certain way. Remember that UTVs ride more like cars with regular seating and a steering wheel, while ATVs ride like bikes with handlebars.

  2. Price

    ATVs and UTVs can be pricey depending on what you're looking for and what features you add. Your budget will dictate the makes and models in your price range and whether you can afford to buy new. Look for incentives on manufacturers’ websites. Customer incentives typically include cash back rebates, low-interest financing offers, and other perks. These offers make buying ATVs and UTVs more affordable, but they vary depending on your region or dealership.

  3. Condition

    ATVs and UTVs are obviously in the best condition when brand new, but for some enthusiasts or hobbyists on a budget, buying a used one may be the best route. You may still get the right balance of features and cost with a used ATV/UTV. However, if you're an inexperienced rider, you may want to avoid the problems that might come with a used vehicle. If you do buy used, make sure the ATV/UTV has been well maintained.

  4. Test ride

    Finding the right ATV/UTV for you is often all about the test drive. The vehicle should match your riding skill level, and the handling, including the acceleration and breaking, should feel comfortable. Keep an ear out for unusual sounds if you're test riding a used ATV — that could be an indication that the vehicle needs maintenance.

What's the best ATV for beginners?

Beginners may feel safer with a smaller engine size, which means purchasing an ATV with less than 300cc. J.D. Power lists Yamaha, Honda, Polaris and Suzuki as fitting choices for new riders.

What to look for when buying a used ATV or UTV

Like buying a used car, you'll want to evaluate a used ATV or UTV for potential problems. Be sure to:

  • Check the tires for cracks, looseness, and instability
  • Evaluate the shocks and look for damage or leaks
  • Check for leaks anywhere in the engine
  • Inspect the brake pads for excessive wear

What questions should I ask when buying a used ATV/UTV?

Whether you're buying an ATV/UTV from a dealership or a private seller, the following questions can help you get a sense of how well the vehicle was maintained and what issues may arise for its next owner.

  • Does the vehicle have any maintenance history records?
  • Has the vehicle been in any accidents?
  • Did the previous owner modify the vehicle in any way?
  • Where has the vehicle been stored?

When is the best time to buy an ATV?

Late fall is the ideal time to purchase an ATV/UTV since it signifies the end of the riding season for many riders in northern states. Dealerships may be offering promotions and incentives at that time with less people shopping for ATVs.

What's the best place to buy an ATV?

You can purchase an ATV at your nearest ATV/UTV dealership. You can also shop online for new and used ATVs and UTVs at ATV Trader.

Additional tips for buying an ATV/UTV

Whether you decide to purchase new or used, here are some strategies for buying an ATV/UTV:

How much does an ATV cost?

The price for a new ATV is based on several factors, such as the size of the engine and the number of accessories. Per J.D. Power, the cost range for a new ATV is between $3,000 and $15,000. In 2019, based on data from GoRollick, the average price was $7,049 for a new ATV and $5,592 for a used ATV.

Also, consider the cost of ATV insurance when you're buying an ATV/UTV. While ATV insurance isn't mandated in most states, an ATV insurance policy can be critical if you're liable for someone's injuries and damages. Learn about how ATV insurance can protect your ATV/UTV against theft, vandalism, collisions, and weather-related damage.

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