Should You Buy a New or Used ATV/UTV?

Your budget determines a lot of things: steak or hamburgers for supper, Lexus or Prius to drive, and in the ATV/UTV world: should you buy new or used?

Buying an ATV/UTV is very much like buying a car. If you can find out the information on the vehicle’s past, it will tell you a lot about what the vehicle’s future would be like if you own it. In other words, buy new and you get the best of all the worlds: new, unused/unabused vehicle with a factory warranty. Buy used and you get a lower price, but no warranty.

Which is the best way to go?

I tell folks to shop around since there are many ATV/UTV manufacturers and at any one time their prices can fluctuate hundreds of dollars for similar vehicles. Let the various dealers know you are in the market, but are comparing prices. And, just like buying a car, don’t let a dealer talk you into something more than you want and can really afford.

If 4-wheel drive is not what you need or want, don’t buy it. But if it is what you want, make sure you get it. You get the idea.

If you decide to buy a used vehicle and are looking to buy one from a private individual, that’s OK. Just make sure you check out a few things – the motor and the transmission for starters. But also check to make sure the vehicle hasn’t been in a bad crash. Check for dings and major nicks, dents and rusted parts … all can indicate a past problem and definitely indicate a potential future problem.

 Whether you buy a used or new ATV/UTV, make sure it do/handle what you want it to do.
Whether you buy a used or new ATV/UTV, make sure it can do/handle what you want it to do.

My ATV mechanic friend buys a new ATV every year and sells it after he’s used it for a season. Obviously, he takes care of it and buying it is like buying a guarantee. He knows how to take care of it and does. The buyer who gets his ATV every year is getting a deal and folks in our area scan the classified ads each year just after the new models hit the showroom floor to see if my friend has his for sale. It is never available for more than a couple of days. That’s not a bad way to buy a used ATV/UTV.

My ATV mechanic friend tells me the one thing he always suggests is for prospective buyers to ride the ATV/UTV – new or used – they want to buy … just to make sure it performs like they think it should. A test ride makes all the difference, he says, in whether or not you ride new or used.

He suggests riding a used vehicle wide open for a hundred yards or so, climbing some average terrain and, if possible, ride the vehicle over and around some obstacles – just like you would on an average ride.

If you plan to use the vehicle on your farm as a work vehicle, haul some of the items you would normally haul with the vehicle the same distances and over some of the same kinds of terrain you would each day. That will tell you a lot about the vehicle’s condition and whether it can handle what your farm chores.

The decision is always yours, but just be prepared to shop around, test ride a used vehicle and ask plenty of questions. If the price sounds too good to be true … it probably is … though, as my friend says, never let a good deal slip through your fingers!

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7 Responses to “Should You Buy a New or Used ATV/UTV?”

  1. Kyle Winters

    I do like that you compare buying an ATV or UTV to buying a car. Not many people realize that they can use the same techniques in both situations. For example, you always want to test drive the UTV just like you would a car, just to make sure that there are no problems with the handling.

  2. Frank Delaware

    My friend has been nagging me to get an ATV for a while now, and I was curious about how you would buy the right one. I really like that you suggest to ride the vehicle more than 100 yards to test it out. It would be nice to make sure there aren’t any noises or something wrong.

  3. Bernard Clyde

    You make a good point that buying an ATV is like buying a car, as far as finding information about its past and feeling comfortable with the vehicle goes. . If possible, it’s helpful to try the ATV out for yourself. That really is the best way to get a firsthand feel and idea of how a certain ATV rides. This is important in helping you be comfortable and safe when driving.

  4. Ridley Fitzgerald

    It’s great to know what type of ATV to buy. Taking a test drive does make a lot of sense, whether it’s new or used. As long as it works well, does it matter if it’s a couple years old? My family wants to buy one, so I’ll remember what you said here.

  5. Theodore Winston

    Our family owns a farm and I was thinking of getting a new UTV for me and my son. He won’t be 16 until next year so I’d probably hold off the purchases until then. However, I’d be sure to talk to our local services about the proper age to drive a UTV. Thanks for the great tips!

  6. Richard

    Good points all around Tony.

    I think one thing people often miss that you mentioned here is whether or not they actually need 4 wheel drive or not. I’ve had many atvs and the majority of them have been 2wd and have worked great for my use (around the farm).

    Happy trails!

  7. Derek McDoogle

    One of my friends loves outdoor activities and he is thinking about buying a four-wheeler so that he can spend time with his son. I like how you said that buying an ATV is just like buying a car. I will share this article with him so that he can think about buying a new ATV.