How to Buy the Right ATV
Whether you’re buying your first all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or upgrading your current model, there’s a lot to consider. For example, should you buy a new or used vehicle? And once you’ve made your selection, what steps can you take to help protect yourself on the open terrain? Here are some things that may help you make those decisions.
Do Your Research
Before diving into that big purchase, here are some questions to consider:
- What’s your budget? In addition to your vehicle’s purchase price, you’ll likely need additional funds to pay for gear, accessories and insurance.
- Who will be riding? Remember that these vehicles are designed for either one or two riders. Never allow a second rider on a single-passenger vehicle, the ATV Safety Institute cautions. If you plan to ride with a passenger, make sure you purchase a model built for two riders.
Should You Buy New or Used?
There’s more to it than just your budget, so consider your options before you hit the showroom floor. For instance:
- Set priorities: Like automobiles and virtually anything else, new ATVs are more expensive than used models. So think about your priorities — your ideal all-terrain vehicle or off-road vehicle may be within reach if you choose an used model.
- Think incentives: Dealers may offer loans, financing or rebates to help you pay for your new ride. Your current ATV may also have trade-in value. Don’t forget to factor in possible incentives when making your decision.
- Consider warranties: Some dealers offer warranties and service contracts to help protect you from the costs of repairs and maintenance.
- Bring a mechanic: When you buy from a private owner you get what you get — no warranties or service contracts included. Consider bringing along a mechanic to give the vehicle a thorough once-over before handing over your cash.
- Research recalls: Always check to see if the model’s been recalled for any reason. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) maintains a current list of all ATV recalls.
- Handle paperwork: If you buy from a private party, it’s up to you to sort through registration and title transfers for your all-terrain vehicle or off-road vehicle. Whether you’re buying or selling, check with your state’s department of motor vehicles for procedures for vehicle sales and transfers.
- Save with used: Some dealers offer certified used vehicles. These all-terrain vehicles will likely cost less than a new ride and may come with a limited warranty or a service contract.
Play it Safe
Once you’ve bought your ATV and all the extras, you’re ready to roll, right? Not so fast. Take a few minutes to review safety considerations before you hit the trail. The CPSC outlines six primary safety guidelines to follow when riding an ATV, including staying off paved roads and wearing protective gear.
Whichever ATV you choose, take steps to make sure it’s the right one for you and your budget. And be sure to play it safe when exploring the terrain, so you can enjoy the journey again and again.