How to Check if an ATV is Stolen Before You Buy

The ATV industry is a billion-dollar business with an estimated 20 million units in use worldwide. And the United States is one of the biggest markets for ATVs, with a lot of families buying them as their first big purchase. This article provides details on how to check if an ATV is stolen before you buy.

Before you spend your hard-earned money on a used ATV, it’s important to understand the risks that come with purchasing a used ATV so that you can make sure it’s legal and not stolen. 

There are many ways you can check for authenticity, such as looking for model numbers, VIN numbers, or even checking the frame number stamped into it. 

However, most people don’t know how to do that and would have no idea how to check if an ATV is stolen before they buy it.

What Is an ATV?

ATV stands for All-Terrain Vehicle and is a small motorized vehicle used for both recreation and utility. ATVs are four-wheelers with low clearance but can still be ridden over many different types of terrain. 

They are smaller than most motorcycles and have larger tires and handlebars. Some people prefer to own ATVs instead of cars because of their cost, fuel efficiency, and the ability to drive them on-road as well.

ATV dealers are most often located in rural areas, but you can also find many online sites offering ATVs for sale. Be wary of motorcycle dealers because they often sell ATVs that aren’t registered with the local DMV, making them illegal to be driven on roads.

How to Check If an ATV Is Stolen Before You Buy?

Buying a used ATV is attractive to many people because of the lower cost. It’s also better for the environment and can help you save money on fuel because they are more fuel-efficient than cars.

Buyers beware – while a cheaper price tag may sound great, there are some major risks that come with buying second-hand ATVs. 

How to Check If an ATV Is Stolen Before You Buy – 5 Ways 

1) Checking for model numbers, VIN numbers, or any other identifying marks 

The easiest way to verify the authenticity of your potential purchase is by checking for model numbers and VIN numbers on the frame. They will be either printed or engraved into it. 

This one’s pretty basic, but always check the frame number stamped into it because scammers may try to buy an identical-looking ATV from another dealer or online site. 

This information can be useful if you’re buying a used ATV from an unauthorized dealer or online site. If that info doesn’t match with the registration documents, it’s likely that your potential purchase has been reported stolen and is being sold illegally. 

Always check the VIN number to ensure that everything matches – since there are many ways for scammers to tamper with identifying marks, this one is especially important!

Your VIN number will be located on the frame, just below where your steering lock mounts – here are all three digits.

2) Keep in mind that unauthorized dealers often remove model numbers from frames before reselling them

Some dishonest sellers even change the color or typeface of identifying marks so they can’t be made out by buyers who aren’t properly trained to identify authentic ATVs. 

Always check with other sources if you find conflicting information about your potential purchase. For example, if you read online reviews and forum posts that tell a different story about the ATV you’re interested in, it might be best not to buy.

3) Check for age and mileage

While a lower price tag is always appealing, take into account how old your potential purchase really is. If there’s little information on the make and model of your used ATV or if no one can tell you exactly how old it is – for example, some sellers may lie about the year their ATVs were produced – then move onto another option instead. 

Minor repairs can cost hundreds of dollars over time because used parts are hard to find and many manufacturers are phasing out older models. Even if someone offers to replace worn parts like tires and chains, they often don’t get replaced with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, which could cause the ATV to perform poorly

If you do get your hands on a second-hand ATV with less than 10,000 miles on it, make sure that it has been properly maintained before purchase by checking for things like:

  • Proper fluid levels (Engine oil and coolant) 
  • Regularly serviced drive chain – if not lubricated regularly this can cost you hundreds of dollars in repairs later on 
  • A clean air filter – if clogged this will reduce engine performance and fuel efficiency.

4) Be wary of motorcycle dealers because they often sell ATVs that aren’t registered with the local DMV 

Make sure that your prospective ATV dealer has all the required paperwork regarding title transfers and registrations in order to avoid getting yourself into trouble. Minor repairs can cost hundreds of dollars over time because used parts are hard to find and many manufacturers are phasing out older models. 

Even if someone offers to replace worn parts like tires and chains, they often don’t get replaced with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, which could cause the ATV to perform poorly.

Conclusion – How to Check If an ATV Is Stolen Before You Buy 

Using these tips will help you make the right decisions when it comes to how to check if an ATV is stolen before you buy. Use them, and your investment will pay off in the long run!