I’ve been interested in whether an ATV is worth buying. My uncle used to ride ATVs around his farm together with dirt bikes which were a fun and fast way to get around the farm. So, I did some research, and here’s what I found.
As a general rule, ATVs are worth buying. They make tasks around a large property much easier. And they are also great recreational vehicles. You can use them to go hunting, camping, and ride trails. They’re also used to plow snow, and haul firewood.
In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about whether buying an ATV is worth it if you should buy new or used, and if they hold their value.
What ATVs are good for
Many farm properties have a bunch of gates – one for each individual field. Livestock, such as cattle need to be rotated onto different paddocks every now and then. And an ATV is ideal for getting to and from your home to different areas of your farm.
But, a regular dirt bike also works well as a runner between the different areas of your farm to do chores. However, the main advantage of an ATV is that you can store quite a lot of tool on it, and it can also tow things.
Overall, the major tasks an ATV is good are:
- Hauling firewood
- Plowing snow
- Great for trails making your own trails or riding on existing trails
- Driving to rivers to go fishing
- Hauling canoes and kayaks
The advantage of riding an ATV is that unlike a car or truck it can go on uneven, and wet terrain. Because you aren’t in an enclosed space when you ride an ATV, you can also easily communicate with your dogs, and/or make gestures to other people you’re working with on the farm.
And there’s something about the fresh air blowing in your face on an ATV that feels amazing and is such a pleasure when riding a trail in beautiful scenery. Or, transporting your kayaks to a lake on a nearby property.
Is buying a new ATV worth it?
So, an ATV is pretty cool, fun to ride, and useful but is it better to buy one brand new or get a second-hand one?
As a whole, you can get a substantial discount by buying an ATV second-hand. The major drawback is that people tend to beat up their ATVs because they use them to do work around their property. Also, you never know the exact history of an ATV unlike when you buy one brand new.
A good way to think about the used and new ATV market is that it’s similar to the car market. Typically you can get a heavy discount of around 50% compared to buying it new. Whereas, certain models will hold their value and only offer around $2000 off the price for a second-hand model.
For example, a solid new ATV will cost around $15,000, however, after 3 years it can still be worth $12,000.
With some really old ATVs though, you can pick some of them up for $600. And it might be worth getting one to try it out and see how you like it. And if it’s not for you can just ditch it and it only sets you back $600.
If you like riding ATVs and have a bit more experience about what things are important in an ATV you could get a brand new one. With ATVs in general, from time to time parts can break and you need to repair them. For example, the drive shaft, or the clutch.
But, the general consensus is that if you look after it by servicing it regularly, and not pushing it too hard by riding it roughly, it can last for 10 to 20 years with only minor issues.
What to look for when buying a used ATV
The main thing to look for when buying a used ATV is the personality of the seller. You can likely tell within a few minutes of talking with the previous owner how well they’ve looked after it.
If they come across as having a bit of an energetic personality then it’s likely that they’re also likely to have had a bit of fun on their ATV. But, fun means going over jumps, riding the clutch, and turning sharply. All of which reduces the lifespan of your ATV.
The other thing to do before buying a used ATV is to get a mechanic to take a look at it and give you an assessment of what things will probably need replacing soon.
How many hours do ATVs last?
Some ATVs have a digital display that shows how many hours it has been running. So, then how many hours does ATV last?
On average an ATV will last 7,000 to 14,000 hours. Generally, an ATV will last 10 to 20 years. A work ATV will be used for approximately 2 hours every day. Which equates to 80 miles (130 km) per day. When you multiply the hours by how long it lasts you get either 7,000 or 14,000 hours.
The thing that determines how long an ATV lasts is how often it is serviced, and how hard the owner rides it. If you take it over jumps it will lower the ATVs lifespan. And if it isn’t serviced regularly it will cause additional wear and tear on the engine. As a result, it can be too costly to repair closer to 10 years rather than 20 years.
Do ATVs hold their value?
An ATV is a significant investment, and a brand new one can cost in the $10,000 and up range. But, after you purchase a brand new ATV does it lose much of its value?
There are some ATV models that hold their value. However, there is a lot of variation across the board. The best resource is to look at historic prices and spend some time watching the market to identify what types of ATVs are holding their value. One example I’ve seen is an ATV that is 3 to 4 years old that kept around 70% of its value.
But, after an ATV gets over a certain age they can be worth a lot less. For example when they are near the end of their life – after 10 to 20 years.
If you’re willing to spend some time watching the new and used ATV market, and what kind of prices they go for you can find some diamonds in the rough.
Are ATVs a good investment?
An ATV is a significant purchase similar to buying a car, however, is an ATV considered a good investment, or is it an expensive toy to splurge on?
On the whole, an ATV is a good investment. An ATV is used to do many chores around a property and is also a recreational vehicle much like a jetski. An ATV is a better investment if you are going to use it to do chores, compared to using it only for riding trails.
Also, if you use it for hunting, then the food that you catch will offset the cost of owning an ATV. At around $10,000 brand new they are a decent chunk of change. But, having one is definitely convenient and enjoyable.
Well, there you have everything you needed to know about whether ATVs are worth buying.