In today’s economy, the search for an ATV can lead a purchaser to choose “used” over “new”. This makes sense as many cash strapped consumers are looking to unload their quads for a quick dollar. However, buyer beware, keep these few things in mind so you know what to look for when buying a used ATV:
1. A Visual Inspection: Your initial reaction to the vehicle may differ from the picture you saw in the paper or on the Internet. Go with your instincts, if the ATV is not as advertised, perhaps it’s best to walk away now.
· Most external parts are coated, painted or treated to prevent rust, so signs of rust usually indicate that some type of incidence caused damage.
· Tires need to be checked to make sure they are holding air and the tread is still good. Make sure to check the rims as well, as major dents can cause air to leak out of the tires slowly.
· Check out the frame for cracks. You need to check this closely, as most frames are made with aluminum, so you won’t see any rust, check for discoloration like dark silver or black lines at the base of the welds.
· Finally, check under the ATV and check the ground for any leaks. The ground may have been wiped clean, but if something is leaking, you may see the buildup underneath.
2. Sit on the ATV: Use this opportunity to see if you like the feel of the vehicle, it may look great, but you may not like the comfort factor.
· Check the handlebars, when you hold them straight, are the wheels straight? Make sure when you turn the handlebars they don’t hit the side of the ATV, this is a sign of either neck or steering damage.
· Go ahead and bounce up and down a little, how does the suspension feel?
· Listen while you bounce. Are there rattles or knocking? Any odd noises could indicate unseen damage.
· Check the levers and pegs, make sure they move properly and aren’t loose.
3. Check the Motor: There are a few things to look for before you start the ATV that could help with your buying decision.
· Check the oil level and the oil. Is the oil clean, or does it look dark?
· Put your hand, carefully, about a half-inch from the engine, to make sure it’s not hot, it should not even be warm, you want to make sure the ATV won’t have a hard cold start, a warm motor could indicate the owner is trying to keep that from you.
4. Start the ATV: This is not only to listen to the engine, but also make sure all the switches and lights work.
· Make sure all the lights and switches work, don’t forget to check the reverse light, the gauges, the headlight and tail lights.
· Check out the sounds; is the engine running smoothly, or is there some popping? How does the exhaust sound?
· Use your sense of smell. Make sure nothing smells as though its burning.
Generally, a test ride, whether you are buying new or used, is out of the question, so hopefully using these tips above, and a little bit of research on your part, should help you when purchasing a used ATV.