How to Buy a Used ATV or UTV on the Cheap

There is no denying that an ATV or UTV is a great investment that can be used for many different things. You can haul machinery, heavy loads, and even people, as well as racing your friends through an ATV trail. These vehicles are a happy medium of transportation between large trucks and your own feet. 

However, ATV and UTVs can be rather expensive when it comes to their price, and not everyone is ready to make the jump to the top of the range ATV that has just been released onto the market. Lucky, that is where the internet and social media come into play. 

How to Buy a Used ATV or UTV on the Cheap

You can cut a nice chunk of money off of the asking price if you’re prepared to look into used ATVs rather than only new models. Sure, the price won’t be as staggering as a used car, but that can be expected as ATV and UTVs don’t depreciate as much as cars. 

Having said that, if you’re looking for a vehicle to haul items around your property, opting for one that has been well used during competitive racing can reduce the price by a lot. If you don’t need a model that is at the top of its game with impressive speeds and battery health, you might be surprised at the price you get your model for. 

How Much Can You Save?

As we’ve previously mentioned, ATV and UTVs don’t depreciate as quickly as other modes of transportation do, so you’re not going to save as much on newer models. Of course, depreciation works on a case to case basis, and the cost of depreciation is not set in stone for every single model. 

Having said that, a good rule of thumb to go by is that an ATV or UTV will automatically depreciate by $500 as soon as it’s purchased from the seller. After the purchase; however, the depreciation will be much more gradual. 

For the next two to five years after the initial purchase, an ATV could see a further depreciation of only $500, making the cost only $1000 less than the cost of a new model. Why is the depreciation rate so slow, we hear you ask? Well, it’s because they don’t wear as quickly and poorly as cars do. 

Your ATV or UTV is sure to last for years - much longer than a car manufactured in the same year as the ATV would. So, how much you save is dependent on how long you’re willing to wait. Some sellers put their ATVs up for sale at incredible prices, but you have to wait for them to come around. 

The majority of sellers will be looking to make most of the original price back, but there will always be the sellers who just need the vehicle gone and out of their lives. If you play the waiting game and manage to find one of these sellers, you best snap it up quickly - you’re guaranteed to not be the only person waiting around for a good deal.  

Step One: Knowing Where to Look

Trying to find the best deal online can seem like an impossible task when you don’t know where to look. There are hundreds of possible sites for you to peruse, but some are much better than others. Below we have listed the top six places for you to look when you’re ready to find your new vehicle. Some are private sellers, some are dealers, and some are a mix of both! 

Classifieds

The classifieds are a great option for you to find a used ATV or UTV on. There is a website called ATV Classifieds that allows sellers to post their vehicles and for buyers to show their interest. This website allows you to see only advertisements that have come from your area so that you don’t have to travel too far to pick your new purchase up. 

Alternatively, you can scour your local classifieds to see what your neighbors are selling. You might even get a sweet deal on an ATV without having to drive over a kilometer! The only issue with local classifieds is that they are not only for ATVs and UTVs, so you might have to scroll through some useless advertisements before finding what you are looking for. 

eBay

There are a few great vehicles for sale on eBay, and this is one spot that not as many people will be looking at daily. For this reason, you’re more likely to be able to score a great deal without having to fight multiple other potential buyers. 

eBay isn’t the best place to find a wide range of ATV and UTVs, but there is the occasional advertisement placed on there. For the sheer possibility of finding a bargain that no one else knows about, eBay could be your best friend. 

Facebook

Facebook has become a very popular place to buy and sell items in the past couple of years, so you’ll be able to find an impressive number of vehicles available there. Due to the popularity of Facebook, it’s one of the most common places to find ATV and UTVs. 

You can set up alerts on the Facebook Marketplace so that you get notifications when there are new advertisements available for you to view. This helps you to not have to look through old advertisements time and time again. Moreover, you can set the alerts to only notify you when a vehicle is uploaded that matches your specific requirements. 

Being one of the first people to know when a new vehicle has been put on the market allows you to benefit from a great advantage. You’ll be more likely to be the first to make an offer to the seller which will increase your chances of winning the race to purchase it.

Craigslist

Craigslist, like Facebook, is another excellent place to find used ATVs and UTVs. As Craigslist has been running for longer than Facebook Marketplace some sellers will still be using the site rather than switching to the new option. 

Craigslist is a very basic site and offers not much more than endless advertisements. However, if you download an application called CPlus for Craigslist, you can take advantage of additional features such as filter searches and notifications. 

These features make Craigslist similar to Facebook Marketplace, so you now have two sites to explore rather than just one. Some sellers might be posting their vehicles on both Facebook and Craigslist, but there will be some unique advertisements that you’ve never seen before too. 

Your Local ATV Club

ATV clubs almost always have the inside scoop of where the best deals are when it comes to ATV and UTVs. Local clubs will be able to tell you where you should look in your local area, and they’ll also be able to tell you what to look for and what to avoid. 

Clubs are many different people all collected and gathered in one place, so this can be a great place to learn the tricks of the trade. You might even find the perfect place to talk about your new vehicle! 

ATVTrader

Another online website, ATVTrader is a great place to look for used vehicles. You can finetune your results and you don’t have to wade through thousands of irrelevant advertisements. However, the majority of the advertisements are from dealers and not private sellers, so you might have an issue with getting the best price. 


Step Two: How to Get a Good Deal

We have a few tips and tricks on how to get a good deal for used items on the market. There are plenty of articles and books concerning this exact matter, so we’ve compiled a list of the most popular ones that concern ATVs or UTVs. 

Notice the Changing Seasons

The first tip is to look around for your vehicle during the off-season. ATVs are often most popular during the summer months and least popular during the winter months when there is lots of ice and snow getting in the way of racing on the trails. 

It’s also known that people tend to run into financial problems during the winter, and therefore they’re more likely to be selling their ATV for cheap to get a quick money fix. Take advantage of the seller’s woes and save yourself a pretty penny on your new vehicle. 

Kelley Blue Book

The second tip is to use the Kelley Blue Book website to your advantage. Take a quick look at the site and you’ll see that they offer the correct price of each ATV or UTV when the make, model, and age have been taken into account. 

This price is often much lower than the price that the seller will be asking for, so it’s always worth checking out before overpaying. You can take the Kelley Blue Book price along with you to the viewing and show the seller with the intention of getting a discount. 

Shop the Indie Models

As we’ve touched upon earlier, one of the easiest methods of getting a good deal on your new vehicle is to shop where no one else is. This also applies to the vehicle itself - if you’re in the market for a model that no one else is, you’re much more likely to get a good price on the model.

Some buyers will skip over ads that have blurry pictures or very simple descriptions. If you don’t mind putting in the extra work, you can easily go to view these models to get a clearer image of the look and description in real life. This might even be an advantage in your favor, as sellers are more willing to lower the price when they don’t have much buyer interest. 

Freebies! 

Additional gear that comes with your ATV or UTV is always a plus, even if you don’t necessarily need it. Even if you already have a helmet for your ATV, if the seller is offering a free one along with your purchase, take it! You can either upgrade your current helmet or sell it on to get some of the cost off of your new vehicle. 

Helmets are the most common freebie that you’ll receive from ATV or UTV sellers, but some people have been known to get ramps, googles, and storage equipment. It is always worth asking the seller whether there is any additional gear included within the price because you can save money by not having to buy your own new gear. 

Dealer or Private Seller?

Whether you buy from a private seller or a dealer is completely up to you, and there are benefits and drawbacks to both options. Dealers are often secure on their prices and won’t budge, but if you create leverage with them you might be able to swing a better deal. 

You’ll need to know which ATV model you want to purchase and find it at a few different dealers. Once you know the price from both dealers, you can go to the more expensive dealer and ask them if they can offer a better deal than the first dealer. 

For example, talk to dealer B and tell them that you have seen the model of ATV that you want being sold from dealer A for the exact price, but you were wondering if they could offer you a better price. As dealers want your business, they’ll often be willing to drop the price slightly. 

One thing to consider when shopping from a dealer is that there are often some hidden fees that they’ll surprise you with later. So, you’ll need to make it very clear that you want to know the complete price of your vehicle before purchasing. 

On the other hand, private sellers are much easier to negotiate with because they know that they’re up against a lot of other private sellers offering the same thing. You can take the price of the lowest ATV that you’ve seen to the current seller and watch them squirm as they try and drop the price to match your findings. Not only is this fun to watch, but you’ll also get a great reduction in price. 

Choosing the Right Dealer

If you’re opting to buy your new vehicle through a dealer, you should look for a watercraft dealer rather than a traditional alternative. Watercraft dealers are often found near lakes and rivers, and their primary source of revenue comes from boats. 

Some watercraft dealers also sell ATVs and UTVs for additional revenue, but they don’t push them as hard as the boats because they don’t rake in as much profit. For this reason, these dealers often have older versions of ATVs and UTVs so you can get them for much better prices. 

Not many people know about this trick and therefore there are many ATVs just gathering dust in watercraft dealerships. More often than not the dealer will be desperate to offload these vehicles, so the price might be surprisingly low.  

Patience is a Virtue

Although this might seem like an obvious tip, it’s always worth mentioning that the race to find your new vehicle is a marathon, not a sprint! If you go into the search with a set deadline of when you want to find your ATV or UTV by, you might force yourself to purchase one for not a great deal. 

If you have the patience to wait for a good deal to come along, you won’t be sorry. We’d advise you to begin your search for an ATV long before you actually need to use it. For example, if you need a vehicle to shovel snow or haul goods over winter, make sure that you’re not waiting until autumn to start looking for your vehicle. 

Don’t Trust ATMs

We all know how temperamental ATMs can be, and you don’t want to miss out on a sweet deal just because you cannot find any money to pay the seller with. The majority of private sellers will only accept cash payments, so it’s a good idea to withdraw a sum of money to keep on you just in case. 

Another thing to consider is that ATV and UTVs are often more expensive than the maximum withdrawal limit for an ATM per day, so you need to have all of the money in cash by the time you find your new vehicle. 

Of course, having $4000 cash in your home is not desirable, so you should consider only having the downpayment handy so that you can put a portion of the money down for the vehicle while you find a way to withdraw the rest of the price. This will prevent the seller from giving it away to another buyer. 

Having a set amount of money available could also help you to get a better price on your vehicle. If you found the perfect used ATV or UTV online but only had $3000 when the asking price was $3500, you could use the incentive of cash upfront to possibly reduce the price by $500.

The Customer is Always Right

You can use the above mantra to try and reduce the asking price to get a better price on your ATV or UTV. For example, ask the seller what their asking price is and proceed to point out the reasons why you think that this price is too steep. 

Perhaps the paint is faded or the wheels are worn and will need replacing soon, who knows! Nitpick and find all of the ways that you can reduce the price by looking at the ATV. This technique won’t work for all sellers, but you might be able to get a great deal from a once steep price. 

Step Three: Save Money and Enjoy!

Now that you know how to get a good deal from the ATV sellers, we have some more knowledge to impart to you about how you can save money when buying your new vehicle. There are a few things that you should think about before getting yourself caught up in a less than desirable situation. 

Follow these tips if you don’t want to be caught out in the rain when buying a used ATV or UTV. 

Ignore brand loyalty

Brand loyalty means almost nothing when it comes to ATV and UTVs, as they’re often very similar no matter what brand they come from. Sure, there will always be small differences between the brands, but these won’t make that much of a difference to your riding experience - trust us. 

People often get too caught up in paying for the brand rather than the product, and that is true for almost every item imaginable. Deciding that you only want to ride one brand of ATV limits your search and prevents you from being able to snatch up an amazing deal because the brand is not your favorite. 

We’d advise you to make the most of any deal that you can find on the market. If you end up hating the ATV or UTV that you purchase, you can just sell it back on and start from square one. You might even find yourself with a profit!  

Don’t use a loan

Loans mean one thing - interest. While loans are always enticing and mean that you’ll be able to afford the ideal vehicle for your every need, you’ll end up paying much more than the asking price for the ATV. You might even find yourself paying the same amount as a new vehicle. 

Most banks will be hesitant to offer loans on used ATVs and UTVs, so they will purposely put the interest rate much higher than the typical small loan. You could even find yourself paying as much as 5.2% interest over multiple years. You could be looking at paying thousands of extra dollars in interest, which could have been avoided if you were only patient. 

Avoid Scammers

Well, this seems like an awfully obvious thing to remind you of before buying your used ATV or UTV, but it is always necessary. There are plenty of sellers who enjoy scamming their buyers, and because of the nature of the purchase, there is little help for buyers who fall for the tricks. 

As long as you keep a level head and don’t get too excited about purchasing your new vehicle, you should be able to spot a scam online. We’d advise you to never wire money, never pay anything until you’ve seen the vehicle, and make sure that you have a written agreement with the seller. 

We mentioned earlier the possibility of putting down a deposit before paying the rest of the money, but this needs to be done correctly to avoid you getting stung. Make sure that you have it in writing that the downpayment is a confirmation that the ATV is yours and that it cannot be offered to any other buyer while you’re gone withdrawing the rest of the money. 

Essentially, just don’t go ahead with anything that seems shady and strange. Unfortunately, there are often stolen ATVs and UTVs popping up on the market, so you should also try to avoid these advertisements to prevent getting caught up in the law.

Be knowledgeable before signing anything

Sellers will often try to get you to sign into a deal that allows them to get much more money out of you than you originally anticipated. 4-Square contracts are a popular method of doing just this, by finding out how much money you have for the deposit and then roping you into monthly payments. 

Hidden fees are almost always guaranteed when it comes to these contracts, so you need to be careful when signing anything. Otherwise, you might find yourself overpaying for your vehicle without even noticing it. Try to avoid paying monthly and pay the total amount upfront. You won’t be burned later on by doing this. 

Private Buying

Dealers are often much more knowledgeable on the correct pricing for the ATV and UTVs that they have for sale. Although you can convince some of them to lower the price a little, private sellers are much more likely to reduce the price under your coercion. 

Private sellers don’t tend to do the research beforehand and they’ll normally price their vehicles too high to try and get the best profit. If you’re willing to do the research and become more knowledgeable than the seller, your chances of getting a better offer are much higher. 

Some private sellers will be impressed and overwhelmed by the knowledge that you’re showing them, so they’ll believe your every word and give you the price that you’re asking for. Some; however, will do their own research after listening to what you have to say. 

Make sure that you don’t try to swindle the seller too much because it could come back to bite you. If they realize what you’ve done, they could refuse to sell to you and report you to the site, potentially blacklisting you from buying from anyone else. 

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