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How To Buy A Used ATV: Tips & How Much To Pay For a Used ATV

How To Buy A Used ATV: Tips & How Much To Pay For a Used ATV

The average price of a new ATV is a little under $10,000. Not everyone can afford that, but that should not deter them from having fun riding ATVs. There is a better option, buying a used ATV. You save a lot of money when you purchase a used ATV, so it is a smart option.

Before you purchase a used ATV, you need to do the following: find a good and trustworthy dealer, inspect all the parts of the ATV (the filter, dipstick, tires, bearings, air box, and engine oil), take the ATV for a test ride, and then you can finalize the purchase. Do not skip any process.

If you stick to the process when purchasing a used ATV, you can end up buying a good and fully functional ATV. However, skipping one or more processes could result in you purchasing an ATV you will not enjoy. No one wants that, so you must be cautious.

What To Look Out For When Buying A Used ATV

As a bit of advice for everyone who wants to buy a used ATV, learn everything you can about the ATV before striking a bargain with the dealer. Since ATVs are designed for off-road activities, most used ATVs are in pretty bad shape, so you must be on the lookout.

Find A Good Dealer

This is the most important thing to do when you want to buy a used ATV. A good dealer will offer you a couple of roadworthy ATVs, and you can get coverage in the form of a warranty. It is not advisable to buy a used ATV from an online seller, no matter how attractive the price they offer is.

You will not have the opportunity to see, check, and test-run the vehicle if you buy from an online seller. A local seller is a better option. You can set up an appointment with the seller to see and test the ATV before purchasing.

Another option is to buy through a private seller, although you could face some challenges. You would have to spend much time inspecting the ATV to ensure it is in good shape and in perfect working condition. Ensure the dealer sells newer ATVs. Most newer ATVs have not been driven for a long time, and some have not been driven at all.

Know The ATV You Want To Purchase


You need to know the specific ATV you want to buy. You can research online to find the best ATVs for the purpose you have. When you know the particular ATV you want to buy, you cannot be tempted to buy any other ATV, no matter how much the dealer tries to make it look attractive.

You need to know the exact size, the best and most reliable brand, and the purpose of the ATV before setting out to buy a used ATV. Although you have a budget to limit your spending, you must find an ATV that is perfect for your intended use and is within your budget.

Inspect the ATV

This is very crucial if you hope to buy a good used ATV. You need to inspect every part and component of the ATV before you agree on a price with the dealer. By doing this, you won't be met with any surprises when you start riding the ATV. Below is a list of the components that you must inspect.

Check The Air Box

Take off the seat, remove the airbox cover, remove the air filter, and check the air intake area. If there is dirt, water, or other debris in the air intake area, you will find it in the motor too. This is a sign that the ATV is not in good condition.

If you find engine oil in the airbox, it implies there is a problem with the engine, or they did not correctly fix an issue in the vehicle. The air filter will be replaced regularly as a precautionary maintenance measure if the seller takes good care of the ATVs.

Check The Compression

Many people do not check the compression of a used ATV, and they are surprised when the ATV develops malfunctions after a while. Bad compression is a sign that the engine is badly damaged and may need to be replaced. You must have purchased a compression gauge beforehand to check the compression of the ATV.

Different ATV engines have different compressions, but you must find an ATV with both pistons within 10 percent of each other and not less than 100 PSI. You can also look on Google for the compression of the ATV you want to purchase.

Check The Engine Oil

The heart of any vehicle is the engine, and the blood is the engine oil. You can know if a vehicle has been well maintained over time from the oil condition and level. You can tell if the engine oil in the ATV is good or bad from the color; good engine oil has a light brown color while old and bad oil has a solid black color.

You can ask the seller to check if there is any dirt in the oil accumulated over time. Check around for any oil leak around the cylinder. If you notice any leaking oil, avoid that ATV.

Check The Tires

Check the tires for any missing chunks of rubber or cracks. Many buyers overlook the condition of the tires. They do not know that bad and worn-out tires result in lots of expenses later. Ensure there are no significant puncture marks in between the knobs and on the sidewall.

If the wheel rocks in and out when you jack up the ATV, it is an indication that the ball joint is worn out or has bad wheel bearing, and in some cases, both. However, some people claim worn-out tires can increase your bargaining power. The cost of replacing ATV tires cost around $500.

Check The Seat

The seat of an ATV is as important as other parts of the ATV. If the seat feels like it has been waterlogged or is heavy, you can tell the ATV has been driven through a creek or mud. If it has not been snorkeled, that means the vehicle has been in the water.

If water has gotten to the seat of the ATV, that means it has reached other parts of the vehicle. Push down on the seat, and if you hear water in it, you should consider another ATV.

Other parts of the ATV you need to inspect are:

  • The buttons
  • The CV boots
  • The frame and roll cage
  • The wobble
  • The coolant
  • The suspension
  • The customizations and modifications
  • The brakes
  • The shocks
  • The chain and sprocket

Test Run The ATV


This step is the determining factor of how good the ATV is. You should test everything, including all the buttons, to ensure they are working. Run the ATV through all the gears, test the front and rear brakes as well.

Start up the engine, listen to the engine's sound, and drive the ATV around. Take note of any unusual or strange occurrences. You need to focus on the overall quality of the ATV during the test run.

Make The Purchase

Once you are certain the ATV meets your taste, all the parts are fully functional, and you are satisfied with the performance during the test drive, you can now finalize the deal. The average cost of purchasing a used ATV is between $3500 to $7000 for top brands.

Ensure you get a Bill of Sale or other receipt types that prove you made a purchase, and it must also contain the VIN. You must request all essential documentation to show proof of ownership of the vehicle.

Final Thoughts


The first step of buying an ATV, whether used or new, is knowing the ATV you want that is perfect for your purpose. If you do not research this, you can end up buying a sport ATV when you need a utility ATV. You should also know that location is a significant determinant of the price of ATVs. Research is imperative when purchasing an ATV.