On the lookout for a brand new ATV, or perhaps hoping to save some money and score one in a sale or secondhand? We’ve done the research for you to collate a list of tricks and tips, outlining exactly when is the best time to bite the bullet and make your purchase.
We’ve also answered some of the ATV community’s most frequently asked questions to hopefully allay any purchasing anxieties and help you to make an easy, well-informed purchase so you can get out and ride ASAP.
When should you buy an ATV?
Logically, the best time to pick up any popular product, no matter what it is, is just before or immediately following the release of new lines and ranges - eager to clear their stock and make room for more, manufacturers are likely to reduce the prices on older models to avoid overloading their warehouses.
Brand-spanking new ATVs are typically brought out just before the summer season, as that’s prime riding time. That means your best opportunity at snagging an excellent deal on a brand new vehicle is to do so in May or June.
It may also be that higher rebates and longer warranties are offered in the middle of the ATV season for particular models, especially if they aren’t proving as successful or selling as quickly as the manufacturers would like.
Out with the old…
Once dealerships have released their new series of vehicles for that year, there is usually an influx of old-vehicle trade-ins, offered for purchase at a second-hand rate from an official seller, without the risk of getting ripped off by an internet stranger.
Low Demand, High Supply
It could also be argued that the best time of year to pick up a new ATV is when the demand for new vehicles is low but the supply is high, which typically happens in October, continuing through to the new year. The tail end of every month is also a good time to check, as dealerships might be more likely to make price concessions.
ATV Buying Tips and Tricks
Opting For An Older Model
If you’re willing to sacrifice the newest features and upgrades to obtain the best possible price for your ATV, it might be worth looking out for those that have been sitting on the lot and gathering dust for the longest.
The longer a dealership has been stocking a particular model - don’t be surprised if some have been there for years! - the more expensive their floor plan for it will be, and the stronger their desire to get rid of it, so be brave and try to negotiate a deal.
Don’t Just Look Locally
Sticking to your local dealerships means missing out on better offers elsewhere - don’t be afraid to check out the websites of dealerships from afar, or call them in advance of your visit. Really scope out the competition before you commit to a purchase.
Another opportunity for non-local purchases that can lead to amazing offers is attending ATV shows, especially the larger ones that are held in convention centers, even if you have to buy a ticket or pay an entrance fee.
Not only will they display the hottest new vehicles and accessories on the market right now that makes a great day of exploring for any ATV enthusiast, but you might also see that competing dealership representatives are vying for customers, reducing their prices to outsell the competition.
Try Watersports Dealerships
Stores located by the water are likely to prioritize the sale of boats and other nautical equipment whilst still stocking ATVs. Those dealerships that aren’t specifically focused on land vehicles might be your best way to get a killer deal.
If a store’s primary focus is not all-terrain vehicles, it could be that they don’t get a huge market for them, so always check out any dealerships you come across in case you stumble across a hidden gem nobody else has spotted yet.
The easiest way to access those too good to miss deals that only happen once or twice in a lifetime is to stay in the loop by following your favorite ATV manufacturer or dealership on social media websites or signing up for mailing lists on their sites.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube are all excellent places to follow what ATV deals are out there, especially if you’re willing to travel in order to score the biggest reduction in price, as you can monitor offers and discounts available nationwide.
Make a list of all of the ATV dealers within a certain radius of your location, depending on how far you’ll go to secure the lowest price. Compare their offerings for the particular model you’re after, and make in-person visits to the top three dealerships to strike up a deal.
Take the time to visit the shop in person and ask plenty of questions about the dealership’s inventory, being bold and confident without overstepping the mark or trying to haggle more than they’d be willing to discount - if they can’t still make a profit, why would they sell to you?
If you’re flexible with which vehicle type you want, why not ask the salesperson which models they are likely to reduce the prices on - most will be happy to help you as long as you’re polite and willing to take no for an answer.
If a dealership you’re heading to is particularly far away, try calling in advance to save yourself a wasted trip. Using the distance traveled as leverage for securing yourself a decent price in person, you’ll be surprised how many salespeople are receptive to haggling over the phone.
Get it in writing!
If a dealer offers you a discount over the phone or is making you a price promise that they will fulfill on your arrival, make sure you ask them to send over the details in an email so you can show proof once you get there.
There’s nothing worse than driving for hours to a specific store only for the salesperson to change what they said in the hopes that you’ll be desperate enough to pay a higher price because you’ve traveled.
Before you buy...
There are several fees or price markups that could be added on to your ATV purchase, some of them unnecessary, but the two major charges are basically impossible to avoid, so it’s best to be prepared and understand why you pay them before you get a nasty shock in person.
Unfortunately, the ATVs don’t magically arrive at the designated dealership overnight, so they have to pay the cost of freight and transport to the manufacturers, much like we pay shipping fees when we order a product online or send a package in the mail.
This charge is more noticeable in a lower-priced ATV than a higher-end product, as it isn’t absorbed by the price margins of the actual vehicle itself, so don’t be surprised to find your cheap ATV isn’t that cheap after all.
All ATVs arrive at the dealership in shipping containers or crates, which means they have to be removed and prepared for the shop floor before they can be listed as for sale. This incurs yet another fee on top of the wholesale purchase price.
With many vehicles requiring a full charge before they are ready to ride, and taking into account the performance of several necessary safety checks to ensure that they as a dealership are not liable for any potential issues, you can understand that this isn’t as simple as opening up a box.
If you picked up an ATV as it is received from the manufacturer and unboxed it yourself, not only are you at risk of injury as a result of the lack of performance tests conducted, it’s also unlikely you’d be able to start it up and go out riding straight away.
It’s also possible that the vehicle may have been damaged in transit, as a lot can happen in the time it takes to travel, sometimes coming as far as overseas, so letting the dealership ensure the ATV is fully operational before you take it home for the sake of a preparation fee will only save you time and money in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you negotiate the price of a new ATV?
A dealer’s number one priority is making a profit onthe sale of an ATV, so they will have issued a markup against the manufacturer’s recommended retail price in order to cover shipping, overhead, salaries and testing.
Smaller, more affordable ATVs have minimal markups and there won’t be much wiggle room for a dealer to bring the price down, and unless they’re desperate to get rid of a particular unit it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reduce the cost.
It’s much more possible to reduce a higher-end ATV’s price, because the dealer has more leeway in terms of how much they can mark up the price and therefore bring it back down again.
Pushing a dealer who has already said no is only going to irritate them so recognize a lost cause when you don’t seem to be able to negotiate any further and walk away. See what your options are elsewhere!
How long do ATVs last for?
The lifespan of an ATV is most affected by how well it is cared for and maintained. As long as you properly look after your ATV and store it adequately, being careful to make any necessary repairs and using the correct accessories, it will last for years.
Our research suggests that the average lifespan of an ATV is around twenty years if well maintained, some racking up more than a thousand hours of run time and still riding like brand new.
Once an ATV hits ten thousand miles, it’s considered to have been used to its fullest, and the best looked-after vehicles will start to experience performance issues or become more prone to wear and tear.
Should I run premium gas in my ATV?
Several factors will determine which fuel is appropriate for your specific ATV model, including whether it’s a 2-stroke or a 4-stroke vehicle, as a 2-stroke ATV lacks an oil reservoir and requires a combination of oil and gasoline.
Typically, the majority of ATVs will run happily on regular 87 octane gasoline, but will perform to a better standard using more expensive 89 or 91 octane fuel. Essentially, the better the fuel quality, the smoother you’ll run.
The higher a fuel’s octane rating, the more compression that type of fuel can be exposed to without risking ignition - misfuelling your ATV can have dangerous consequences if you don’t make the correct selection.
Some four-wheelers can only run on premium fuel, however, and using regular gas will ruin their engines, so make sure you consult your manufacturer’s manual or perform adequate research before you fill up the tank.
What size ATV should I buy?
It really depends on your personal circumstances - how tall and heavy the rider is, where they plan to ride and how often are all indicators for what size ATV you need, because everyone is different.
Beginners should stick to smaller vehicles, usually designed for newer riders with automatic transmissions and less power, at around 200-450cc. These are also suitable for light riding and casual rides as opposed to more high-octane options on the market.
A good all-rounder for riders with some experience behind them, who will be taking their ATV for longer spins but won’t be experiencing the harshest conditions or attempting stunts, is a vehicle in the range of 450 and 700 cc. This also includes farmers who’d like to attach smaller pieces of equipment for outdoor work.
For maximum power and top speeds, you’ll want the biggest and best ATVs - these are for those adrenaline junkies racing up the sides of mountains and in and out of streams. Reaching up to 1000 cc and generating some serious speed, the largest vehicles are not for the faint of heart and require extensive training.