What to Inspect in a Used ATV
Been shopping around for a used ATV and finally found a winner? Excellent. But wait, before you celebrate your victory, your first order of business once you bring it home is to see what you've really gotten yourself into.
Watch the video above or read on below to find out about some of the things you need to do and what to look for when you buy a used ATV, UTV or motorcycle.
Tools and Parts Recommended - Used ATV Inspection
Change the Oil
A good look at the oil can tell you a bit about the condition of your powersports vehicle's engine. The basics of any oil change are draining the engine oil out, replacing the oil filter, and filling it back up.
Many ATVs have a magnet on the drain bolt you should inspect for metal shavings. Magnetic drain bolts help show you what's coming out of the engine. A small amount of shavings stuck to the magnet is normal, but a silver or gold sheen from too much metal in the oil is a sign of severe problems with the engine.
Watch the video below to see how to do an oil and filter change on an ATV.
Check the Fuel System
Start by opening the fuel tank and taking a whiff. If you smell something akin to turpentine, your machine has bad gasoline that could have created problems in the fuel system.
Watch the video below to see how to clean fuel injectors.
Check the Electrical System
Use a multimeter to check the battery, and then check the connections on the unit. Look for frayed wires, loose connections and damaged insulation. If you have damaged wiring, a new battery could cause a short.
Watch the video below to see how to test the electrical system on an ATV.
Inspect the Frame
One way to tell if the frame is bent is to look for chipped paint on frame components. If the frame is bent a little, the machine may still be rideable.
Check the suspension and steering systems. If you feel play in the steering while the unit is parked in your garage, you'll feel a lot more once you're at speed. Whether there's a lot of play or the frame is seriously bent, measure the distances between the tires along the length, width, and diagonally to determine how bad the frame is.
Check the Tires and Brakes
Look for uneven wear, cracks, cording, or flat spots. After checking the tires, do a quick brake inspection to see if the pads are thin or worn. Some brake pads have a wear indicator to let you know when it's time to change them out.
Watch the video below to see how to change the brake pads on an ATV.