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Buying Used: ATVs


Buying a used ATV can save money, but be careful not to end up with a lemon. Here are some important things to check before purchasing a used ATV.

Ensure Ownership

Ask for the title of the vehicle or the certificate of origin, if you can get it. In some states, this document is not a legal requirement, so many owners do not bother to obtain it. You can find out the legal requirement from your local DMV.

You can also run a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) check online. Many websites offer this service for free. Make sure you seal the deal with a Bill of Sale for protection in the event the vehicle was stolen.

Visual Inspection

Check the condition of the ATV. While conducting a visual inspection, look for rust and cracks. Most external parts are painted, coated, or treated, but rust can happen, which damages the vehicle. The ATV frame should be plastic or aluminum, and you’ll want to search for splits. Hairline fissures are difficult to detect, so inspect closely for black or dark silver lines, especially near welding points.

Check Wheels, Suspension, and Steering

Put the ATV on its side, and spin each tire to see if it moves without wobble. Hold each tire with both hands, twist, and shake. Listen for rattle or grinding noises. Such sounds will indicate problems in the suspension and ball joints, and you might have to investigate further. To check steering, inspect the steering stop, below the handle bar mount. If it looks worn or damaged, you are likely to have steering or suspension problems in the future.

Inspect the Air Box and Check Engine Oil

Remove the seat and take the cover off the box. Unscrew the air filter, and check the air intake area. If debris or water is present, it’s likely in the engine as well. While checking the engine oil, look for dark colors, debris, and a burnt smell. If the ATV has been driven without proper oil changes, the engine may have damage.

Test Drive

If after all the above inspections everything seems okay, take the ATV for a test drive. Listen for unusual sounds, rattles, and see how well the vehicle handles. If all checks out, enjoy your new used ATV, and check out our store for ATV tire replacements.

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