With the economy the way it is today, buying a used atv just makes more sense than buying a new one. Just be aware that there are certain things that a person looking for a used atv needs to be on the watch for.
These easy to follow tips below will help you weed through the lemons and abused atvs. The last thing you want to do after buying a used atv is to start searching for used atv parts!
What do the tires look like? If they're worn out or full of plugs and patches, this could indicate abuse or lack of proper maintenance. Also, if the tread is worn down, you'll looking at the purchase of four new atv tires!
Take a long a buddy so the atv can be raised for inspection. You'll want to look for cracks on the underside of the frame, new paint, damage to the shock points or signs of fresh paint (indicates recent repairs).
4x4 atvs need a special looking over. You need to check the cv boots for cracks. This can mean water and dirt in the cv joints. This will lead to expensive repairs down the road.
While you down there, check the oil in both differentials. Does it look milky or chocolate colored? This is a sign of water. You can also use this rule of thumb for the engine oil.
Be sure to look at the sprocket or sprockets. If the sprockets are worn on one side or bent, it's likely time for a new chain and sprocket.
Support the front end with jack stands. Then try to move each front wheel in and out from top to bottom and side to side to check for worn wheel bearings and ball joints. Do the same for the rear.
Move the handle bars back and forth looking for excessive play. If you find it, it generally means you have loose tie rod ends.
The air box is one place many used atv buyers fail to check. You can find it beneath the seat by removing it. Dirt or water inside the air box is bad news.
Don't forget to check for rust in the gas tank. You check for this by taking a flashlight and shining it into the tank. Rust can decrease the life of your engine dramatically.
Check the electrical system by turning on the lights. You also should make sure any cigarrete lighter plug works. These are used for accessories.
Once you're done checking out the machine, take it for a ride. Listen for any unusual noise. Note how it handles and be on the lookout for any loose parts.
There should be a spark arrestor present on the exhaust. If not, expect to have to replace it. These are required in National Forest and on many state owned lands. Plus they're just good common sense!
These are just a few things to be on the look out for when buying a used atv. They're easy to do and they can prevent you from bringing home a lemon. Or worse yet, having a break down out in the middle of nowhere!
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Purchasing a used atv isn't for anyone. But if you know what you're doing, you can save thousands over a dealer. First time buyers should follow the tips above plus by a reliable brand like a used Honda atv or used Polaris atv. Parts are easy to find for these models.
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