How To Shop for an ATV: What To Look for First


Shopping for an ATV is a straightforward job when you know what you are looking for. But if you are new to ATV riding, you might have no idea what type of four-wheeler would be suitable for your offroad needs. Also, the vast array of models might prove confusing, making your task even more challenging.

To shop for an ATV, you first need to consider what you want to use it for and how much you want to spend. This will help you decide what features to look for first such as the specs, ease of use, model, warranty period, and performance level.

Keep it here to learn more about how you can shop for your ideal ATV. You will also find the following useful information:

  • How to figure out the best ATV to suit your needs
  • What to consider when buying an ATV
  • Tips on shopping for your ATV

What Is an All-Terrain Vehicle, ATV?

Like the 4-wheel drive vehicle, an ATV is arguably one of the most well-liked off-road vehicles. And owning one of these powerful machines is a big deal if you are into outdoor adventures. Comprising 4 all-terrain tires, high ground clearance, and a robust suspension, ATVs can tackle rugged terrain, rocky hillsides, deep mud, and water with relative ease.

But that’s not all. ATVs are also suitable for hauling large loads over rough terrain. Simply put, these versatile all-terrain vehicles are excellent for both work and play. ATV models are generally available in two main categories:

  • Sport ATVs: These ATVs boast superior horsepower, premium suspension performance, and precise handling, which allows them to deliver high speeds. They come in various models designed for trail performance, motocross, or desert racing.
  • Recreation or utility ATVs: Utility ATVs’key attributes include outstanding handling, smooth riding performance, efficient electronic fuel injection, and a superior all-wheel-drive system. Such ATVs are versatile; hence, they are ideal for performing various tasks, hunting, adventurous trail-riding, and camping.

Here’s a quick video explaining the different types of ATVs and their uses to give you a better idea what you’re looking for:

What To Consider When Buying an ATV

When buying an ATV, there are several things worth considering, such as the brand, pricing, level of performance, and usage. You also want to think about your level of skill and how much you want to spend.

Let’s explore some of these factors further:

ATV Pricing: Buy New or Buy Used?

The price of an ATV varies depending on whether it’s new orused. For a new ATV, the price depends on the brand, size, as well as features and could range anywhere between $6,000 and $30,000 – or even higher. While buying a new ATV might set you back some, it gives you peace of mind since you know exactly what you are getting. Besides, it comes with a warranty.

On the other hand, the price of a used ATV often depends on:

  • The ATV’s condition
  • The mileage and model year
  • Features and accessories

If you go this route, ensure to buy your ATV from a reputable dealer or someone who took good care of theirs. Buying a used ATV is also a great idea if you are hands-on when it comes to machines. This is because your skills will come in handy when determining whether a potential ATV is in good riding shape or not.

Here’s a video with some helpful tips when buying a used ATV. Don’t forget an ATV Bill Of Sale.

Furthermore, you could always buy a used ATV and customize it to your taste by stripping it down and adding choice aftermarket equipment.

Level of Performance

All ATVs are not created equal. An ATV’s level of performance is directly related to its purpose. As such, you need to determine what you intend to use your ATV for before visiting an ATV dealer. If what you need is a hunting rig, for instance, you will want to select a quiet ATV that runs smoothly over a machine with power steering.

However, if you want something more heavy-duty, then you might be better off shopping for a UTV, Utility Terrain Vehicle, instead.

When deciding on the level of performance to settle for, consider the following points:

  • Will you use your ATV to haul stuff like hunting gear?
  • Will you use the ATV exclusively for work, play, or both?
  • Will you need to carry passengers such as your kids, spouse, or a friend?
  • Are you looking for a racing machine or an ATV designed for off-road trails?
  • Are you buying an ATV for your kid? If so, then consider a small-sized ATV.
  • Do you own an ATV already and are now looking to upgrade it?

Level of Skill

Are you a newbie or an experienced rider? If you are a newbie ATV rider, you don’t want to buy a high-powered speed machine as it may be a challenge to handle. Look for an entry-level, long-lasting quad with a smaller engine, simple controls, and an easy-to-handle power output. With time, and as you get better, you can graduate to a larger engine and enhanced power steering.

If you’re an absolute beginner, check out my How To Ride An ATV Quick Start Guide.

Still, the great thing about an ATV is that being a four-wheeler, it’s relatively easy to learn how to drive one. With the right choice, you can get a machine that you can enjoy using over the years – even as your skills improve.

One thing to note here is that ATVs come with a host of options that could hike up the original price. And some of these might pose a challenge for a beginner. Therefore, you may want to opt for an ATV that doesn’t come with price-enhancing features such as liquid-cooled engines or independent rear suspension.

The Type of Brand

There are numerous ATV brands in the market with various offerings – from basic models with compact designs to those sporting various upgrades or high-end add-ons. One thing’s for sure; you can’t go wrong with any of the big-name brands. These include Kawasaki, Can-Am Outlander, Yamaha, Honda, and Polaris.

Check out my guide on Which ATV Brand Is Most Reliable to see more info.

To choose the best brand for your needs, conduct your own research both online and from friends. This will help you get info on which are the preferred models and the reasons behind this. When you visit the dealer, choose one that sells multiple ATV brands to give you more options to choose from. 

Additional Tips on Shopping for Your ATV

Before finally committing to buy your preferred ATV, there are still a few things to sort out. First, you want to go armed with all the information you need to avoid caving in to pressure from a zealous salesperson. It also helps to have a basic idea of what you want before going ATV shopping.

Focus on getting the engine size right before anything else, then go through your list of options to see what fits your budget. In addition, here are helpful suggestions:

  • Select 2-3 potential ATVs and request to do a test drive.
  • After determining your selection, shop around to get the best price – including deals from manufacturers’ websites.
  • Remember to factor in the cost of protective gear like a good helmet, goggles, and any other necessary riding gear and accessories before determining your final budget. 
  • Don’t forget to get a license, proper insurance, and the relevant information regarding complying with your ATV state laws.

If you are looking for financing, it’s good to know that some dealers provide special loans that you can use to finance your dream ATV. But ensure you understand the payment terms before you commit.

Final Thoughts

Shopping for an ATV is a thrilling adventure in itself; you get to try out all those fabulous machines! But whether you choose to buy a new or used machine, you need to check that the ATV you have your eye on meets your specific needs.

While your budget is key, what should guide your final purchase are factors like your riding skills, ease of use, and how you intend to use your ATV.

Rob

That's me sinking another ATV. I love to ride no matter what it is, snowmobiles, four wheelers, dirt bikes, and anything else off-roading. I've experienced my fair share of machines, and like to share that experience here.

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