If you want to buy some mud tires for your ATV, you can find more info here. However, what do you do if you simply don’t have the cash to pay for a new one? Lucky for you, there are a lot of nice places, both online and offline, that you can use to get yourself a nice all-terrain vehicle.
Things To Look Out For
However, there are some things you need to know and look out for before going on the market. Not seeing a problem can mean the difference between a great deal on a quad which can still run for many miles and a failed deal where you have to ride something which will likely burn out in 1 month.
Something we should mention from the get-go is the difference between ATVs and cars when it comes to wearing down. The reason ATVs depreciate very slowly even after being used is because they are very resistant and durable. For example, a 2009 car would be on its last leg by now but a 2009 all-terrain vehicle would still run like a champ provided it had a good owner.
Adapting to the economy
Let’s assume that you’ve gone through the whole ‘’I want to buy an ATV’’ thought process and you decided it’s an investment that’s well worth it. Congratulations, you are perfectly right! Still, in this economy, it may make more sense than ever to buy used instead of new.
There’s no Cash for Clunkers program for quads that can destroy good values on used ATVs and, of course, there is a great number of people selling their all-terrain vehicles to make ends meet so you should have a great deal of products to choose from.
Check it out before you buy it out
Rust is always a good indicator for any potential damage in a quad. On an ATV, all the external steel parts are coated, painted or otherwise treated with a substance that will prevent rust with the only two possible exceptions being the brake disks and the chain. If you see any there, there’s a good possibility you may find more damage so be on the lookout.
Today, many frames are made of aluminum which does not rust, so finding cracks will require a thorough visual inspection. Since aluminum has a light, silvery color, a crack should show up as either dark silver or black lines at the base of the weld.
Shake it, shake it
Your best bet is to get the quad off the ground so you can take a look at the suspension and wheels. Hold the tires with both hands and try to twist, shake, and bend them while listening and feeling for any possible problems in the ball joints, brakes, suspension, and any other areas.
Below the handlebar mount, you will find what is called the steering stop. This is the metal on metal ‘’bump’’-like sound you hear and feel when you move the handlebars all the way to one side. Take a good look, because if it looks damaged you might have latent steering or suspension problems, possibly from an earlier crash.
Air is important
Another thing to look at is the airbox cover. Remove the filter entirely and carefully inspect the air intake area because if you find any water, dirt, or any other debris you will probably also find it in the engine and this is never a good sign.
So is the motor
Last but not least, check the motor oil for any traces of a faint burnt smell, lack of viscosity or contaminants. Check the ATV for anything that can be moved from it: lights, switches, levers – touch and try everything.
Other Things To Consider
While the information above may cover the general bases when it comes to buying a used ATV, there are still other things that you have to find out just to be on the extra-safe side.
Double-check the tires
ATV tires age and crack just like car tires and this is perfectly normal. However, once they develop those cracks they are very dangerous to ride on and you should plan ahead and replace the entire set if this happens. Adding the mounting labor, it may cost you more than a pretty penny so it never hurts to look before buying to try and save an expense.
What you want to do during your inspection is shine your flashlight around each tread block and around both sidewalls, examining the tire and looking for those cracks and missing chunks of rubber.
What’s more, you also have to check the bearings and ball joints. A very simple and effective way to do this is to grab the tire at the 12:00 and 5:00 positions and rock it in and out. If you feel any play of any kind, you’re in for a bad ball joint, a bad wheel bearing or possibly even both. An early sign of this can be sloppy steering and instability in turns.
Avoid the shocks
It’s very important that you look for leakages around the top of the shock. If you see any hint of a wet spot, run your finger over that area. If it’s oily, you can rest assured the shock is on its way out. Worn shocks drastically reduce your ATV’s stability so replacing them is really a matter of safety.
Check the constant velocity (CV) boots
The role of the CV boots is to keep the grease inside the rotating joint. When one of them wears out, it tears open and flings the grease out of the joint and lets in water and sand which can easily destroy it.
This is why you have to check out each of the eight joints and look for any signs of grease on the inner and outer CV boot. Don’t forget to separate the pleats to inspect for any small cracks or tears and to look at the surrounding area for any signs of old grease.
Above All Else: The Brakes
You can change or repair pretty much anything on a used ATV but if there’s something that you should really never do is get one with damaged brakes. They are vital for your safety and since a complete brake job is pretty expensive, you really don’t want to spend money on your new vehicle after you’ve just bought it.
You can check the thickness of the brake pads using an inspection mirror and a flashlight but the entire operation is very difficult since ATV brake pads are extremely thin and it’s very hard to actually see anything.
Even if you deem the pads to be thick enough, the friction material may be cracked from the backing plate so what you want to do is jack up each side then remove the wheel, caliper, and pads to inspect the entire system.
We know this does look like a very thorough job to undertake just to buy an ATV and this is because it really is. However, it is the best thing you can do to get real value for your money and avoid being tricked. If you happen to have a friend with experience in this field, try to bring him along as a good car mechanic will typically know what to look for in an ATV.
If we were to single out something from everything that we mentioned above then that would be the oil. It’s imperative to look for metallic particles in the oil and if you see any, don’t buy the machine as it’s really not worth your time, effort, and money.