Folks that are just getting into riding ATV might not want to drive to an ATV dealer and dive right into buying a new ATV. Some choose to purchase a used ATV first. ATV dealers may or may not have used vehicles. You may have to go to a private owner. There are a few key ways to find out the kind of life the ATV has lived. These are important to know so when you are shopping around, you don’t overlook some important details.


When approaching the ATV you will instantly notice if it is clean or not. Why is this an important observation? It usually shows the level of care the ATV was given when previously owned. Check underneath for oil leaks, and wear and tear. Even if the unit is clean, still look for any leaks and try to find evidence of where the ATV was used.

Check the Winch and CV Boots

Check out the winch. Don’t just push the button but actually pull out the spool and check the condition of the cord. If the cord is made of synthetic material, look for fraying or if the cord is steel, look for excessive rust, cuts, or unwinding strands.

If the vehicle doesn’t have a winch, check out the half shafts and the CV boots. Examining them will tell you a whole lot about the potential repair budget you may need. If the vehicle has a lift kit, beware. The lift kit will add stress to the driveline and wear out the CV boots prematurely. Feel around the boots and if you find grease, you are more than likely to have a hole. This can cause grease to come out and moisture to come in, resulting in axle failure if left unrepaired.

Buying a Used Dirt Bike – Cosmetics

Cosmetics are easy to notice from pictures you see online. Notice where the big blemishes from dirt biking are on the bike. Check the cases and see the kind of wear and tear. If the cases are worn, that is an indication that the bike was used a lot. On the other side of the bike, look for any dings, dents or cracks on the pipe. Check out the dirt bike equipment like the clutch, frame and the kick start for wear.

Another thing to look at is the condition of the metal components. They should shine if the seller takes good care of their bike after dirt biking. Check out the radiators and make sure they are square and are not leaking. Examine the drive train and make sure all of the teeth are on the sprocket. The chain needs to look like it is in good condition. Lastly, check the subframe and make sure the subframe is straight and not bent.


Wiggle the wheel and make sure the bearings are in good condition. Make sure the wheel is straight. When you spin it make sure the spokes are tight and the wheel is spinning in the right direction. Examine the condition of the spokes and make sure they are clean and tight. Check the tread and see what kind of condition they are in.

Does the Bike Run

You want to make sure the bike runs before you bring it home. Enjoy dirt biking on it. Pull the clutch in and listen for any strange noises. Check the motor and make sure it is in good condition and sounds good.

Know the Seller

Check them out online on social media and see if you get some background on how they treated the bike in the past. If you find out that they rode the bike hard all of the time, you may not want to purchase it from them. If you can’t find any pictures, or very few, that may be an indication that they took good care of their vehicle while dirt biking.

Looks, mileage, and model year really don’t tell you a lot about the history of a vehicle. Always take a test drive and get service records when available. Keeping these steps in mind will help you make a wiser decision when purchasing ATVs or dirt bikes.

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