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Back Road Rides - Buying an All-Terrain Vehicle or Off-Road Vehicle
When buying your first all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or off-road vehicle (ORV) or upgrading your current model, there's a lot to consider. From budget to accessories and training, we'll help you sort through the specifics before you buy.
Do Your Research
Before diving into that big purchase, do your research and know what you're getting into. There's a lot to consider, so ask yourself these key questions before you hit the showroom floor.
- What's your budget? A new ATV or ORV can cost anywhere from $2,800 to $8,000 and up-and that's not counting extras like insurance, gear, and accessories.
- Who will be riding? Remember that these vehicles are designed for riders of specific age and size ranges. The "minimum age label" posted on each vehicle provides guidelines for age and size requirements.
- How will you use the vehicle? ATV's and ORV's come in several primary categories that are optimized for specific uses. Basic categories include 3-wheelers, 4-wheelers, 6-wheelers, dune buggies, golf carts, sand rail ATV's, and work/utility ATV's
Other considerations include engine size, top speed, weight, starter type (electric, kick, or pull), and clutch type (hand or foot). In short, it pays to do your homework and "know before you go," so hop online or ask a few enthusiasts for advice and recommendations. Enthusiast magazines and websites offer tips on key features, product reviews, and comparison information to help you make an informed decision.
Should You Buy New or Used?
There's more to it than just your budget, so consider your options before you hit the showroom floor.
Is New for You?
- Like automobiles and virtually anything else, new ATV's and ORV's are more expensive than used models. So think about your priorities - your perfect all-terrain vehicle or off-road vehicle may be within reach if you shift your focus to a used model.
- Dealers may offer loans, financing, or rebates to help you pay for your new ride. Don't forget to factor in possible incentives when making your decision.
- Many dealers offer warranties and service contracts to protect you from the costs of breakdowns, mishaps, and help you keep your all-terrain vehicle or off-road vehicle in tip-top shape.
- Talk to dealers about trading in your current ATV to help defray the cost of your new one.
Is Used the Way to Go?
- A used ATV or ORV can cost considerably less than a new one - thousands less in some cases.3 Financing may be available for used models, so do your homework and hunt around for the best deal.
- When you buy from a private owner you get what you get - no warranties or service contracts included. Consider bringing along a mechanic to give the vehicle a thorough once-over before handing over your cash.
- Always check to see if the model's been recalled for any reason. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) maintains a current list of all ATV recalls.
- When you buy from a private party, it's up to you to sort through registration and title transfers for your all-terrain vehicle or off-road vehicle. Whether you're buying or selling, check your local department of motor vehicles for procedures for vehicle sales and transfers.
Should You Buy Certified Used?
Some dealers offer certified used vehicles. These all-terrain vehicles or off-road vehicle will probably cost less than a new ride and may come with a limited warranty or a service contract. Whatever your decision, make sure you fit the ATV or ORV and vice-versa. Strap on your helmet and gear and take that baby for a test drive before you buy.
Make Sure You're Covered
Many people assume their homeowners insurance covers their all-terrain vehicle or off-road vehicle, but that may not necessarily be the case. Talk to your insurance agent about specialized ATV and ORV insurance designed to cover things like accidents, theft, and liability.
Add-ons and Accessories
Don't forget to budget for all the extras you may need to complete your ATV or ORV experience. Whether for safety gear or all the bells and whistles, you'll probably want to buy add-ons and accessories. First and foremost, make sure you have the necessary safety gear before you ride. Other considerations include a trailer, racks, guards, sun shields, storage covers, extra lights, riding lessons, service contracts, and extended warranties
Once you've bought your ATV and all the extras, you're ready to roll...right? Not so fast. Take a few minutes to review these important safety considerations before you hit the trail. According to ATVSafety.gov, there are 6 primary rules to follow when riding an ATV:
Train First, Ride Second
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), drivers with no formal training have a higher risk of injury than drivers who've received formal, hands-on training.
Protection Every Time
For 2009, the CPSC reports that there were 309 ATV-related deaths and an estimated 131,900 injuries requiring emergency room treatment. The CPSC recommends that ATV riders purchase a motorcycle or other motorized sports helmet that is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Other important safety gear includes over-the-ankle boots, goggles, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt to protect against cuts, abrasions, and other injuries from rocks, trees, and other debris.
Think Twice About Passengers
Although some ATV's are specifically designed to carry both a rider and passenger, most ATV's are designed to carry only one person. Because safe driving requires that drivers shift their weight freely in all directions, the CPSC recommends that riders go it alone, noting that passengers can make it difficult for drivers to control the ATV.
Keep It Off-Road
ATV's are designed to be driven off-road and can be difficult to control on paved roads. Riding off-road can also prevent collisions with cars and other vehicles.
Never Let a Child Drive an Adult ATV
According to the CPSC, most child-related ATV or ORV injuries and deaths occur when a child is driving or riding on an adult all-terrain vehicle or off-road vehicle.
Never Drink and Ride
Alcohol and drugs impair reaction time and judgment, and can be a deadly mix with ATV riding.