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Thread: Need tips on Buying a used ATV in Alaska

  1. #1
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    Question Need tips on Buying a used ATV in Alaska

    Looking to buy a used ATV and am taking my time and researching different models. My budget is $3,000 as I'll need to get all the other gear as well. Have ridden a bit over the years, but always on a borrowed machine. This will be my 1st..

    Looking for a 4x4 Utility Quad, 450cc or greater, in good shape. Not into a fixer upper. Kinda hoping to find one some little old lady bought on a whim and is deciding to sell so she can buy a Harley! In other words, some of the ones I have looked at have been pretty beat up. Understood they get used, but hoping for one somebody took care of didn't do the X-Games on.....

    I have been checking Kelly Blue book for pricing and read an article on how to check the basics here (http://4wheeldrive.about.com/od/atvb...y_used_ATV.htm) Any other suggestions?

    Surprised sometimes how high above Blue Book some of the Craigslist / Alaskalist ads can be... Is this typical for AK?

    Given my parameters and budget what models & features / options should I look for or be aware of?

    Also, curious how AK registration and insurance works. Guessing I won't NEED insurance as I won't be financing it. ???

    Any info would be appreciated. Thanks guys!

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    Asking price as compared to KBB: As you are discovering, the lack of competition tends to mean that most things are expensive up here. Also, you need to take a close look at how a particular ATV is accessorized. For example, up here you are probably going to want a winch, skidplates, and aftermarket tires. KBB may not include all these, and if you buy an ATV without them, you're going to want to add them sooner rather than later.

    Registration and insurance: Not required for ATVs. If you want to ride your ATV on state-maintained trails or state land in the winter, you'll need a $10/year snowmachine trail permit. Most people don't have them. Many people carry limited insurance to protect against things like theft. See if your car insurance will provide medical and liability coverage for off-road accidents.

    As far as what to look for, there's another seemingly never-ending "ultimate ATV" thread going on right now. Stick with a major brand name, and you'll probably do OK up here. EFI is nice if you plan to ride much in the cold or areas with significant altitude change. That said, most trails here are between sea level and 3,000 feet, and if it's cold enough to snow, the snow in the mountains will usually be too deep for ATVs anyway! As long as it has 4WD and decent tires, you should be able to go just about anyplace everyone else is going.

    You typically see a surge of used ATVs go up for sale at the beginning and end of the season. So, I'd expect the next rush to start in April.

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    Thanks. Thought I had found a SWEET deal here...
    http://kenai.craigslist.org/rvs/1539105896.html

    That is until the lady told me it was located in TX and she would ship it to me for free... Some story about her husband being killed in a car accident and she had to move down there with her 2 young children to live with her parents... Had a brother or something in the shipping business to help her out... All I had to do was send her a money order and I would have it a week... Like ATVs don't sell in TX?

    NICE looking ATV in great shape...

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    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    if it's used and a private party sale, and the picture has the ATV in the AIR ... I would pass.

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

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    That sounds like a scam! and the low price to go with it. Id stay clear of that, but sounds like you are.

    I havent checked out KBB prices on 4 wheelers, but from what I have heard the prices are pretty unrealistic.

    3K will just barely get you into a fairly newer 4x4 atv. Something in the low year 2000's and your looking at an engine size of 450 or less in that range too.

    I really dont think you can go wrong with any one brand. Just keep looking for that little old lady selling her 4 wheeler.

    You got to keep in mind that a used wheeler will most likely look "used" but that doesnt mean it is not good.

    Bring a good light to look up under the plastic and frame. Look at the welds, Look at everything and make sure its attached. Look at the wiring, does it still look factory or is there wires dangling down everywhere? Shake the tires and see if you can feel play in them. Look at the CV boots and make sure no tears. Look real close at the engine and see if you can see oil leaks.

    If all that looks good, ask where the grease points are on the machine. If they dont know where at least half of them are, then you can bet they dont grease them. Ask where the oil filter is, or where you check the oil. If they cant find that in 5 seconds, then they probably have never maintained it proper.

    look around their yard or garage or what have you. See if you get the impression they take care of their stuff.

    Finally start up the machine and see if it sounds good, no rattles, ect.

    Also if there is a bunch of aftermarket junk like exhaust, carb kits, or whatever Id steer clear of that too.

    What ever you look at, if you can do a google search and see what complaints or info you can dig up on the machine that is pretty invaluable.

    When I got my 2000 yamaha Kodiak 400 used, all I could dig up on it was that it was finicky to get running in the cold. And thats true, but after it warms up its just fine. If I wouldnt have known that I might have passed on this great wheeler. I got it from an old dude that just used it to pick up sticks in his yard. Thing is brand new pretty much. Black paint on the axles isnt even scratched. I paid 3K and I think i did good

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    Default Just my two cents

    IMO, aftermarket stuff like winches, tires, bags, etc. DO NOT add value to the asking price dollar for dollar. They merely make the wheeler worth buying over a similar wheeler without those accessories.

    You're doing the right thing by comparing asking price to KBB or NADA. Start there. If KBB or NADA says a wheeler is worth $3K and the seller is asking $4,500 because he/she has a bunch of accessories or upgrades too bad. If the seller is asking $3,500 and the wheeler has winch, aftermarket tires, cargo bags, hand warmers, etc. then sure $500 extra for those things is a good deal.

    I agree with the previous poster about looking at the general care of the wheeler. If a seller took the time to clean it up, and their shop, garage, other vehicles look taken care of then that is a start. Asking about the lube points, oil filter, etc. is a good idea and can show familiarity. However, if you asked me I'd tell you I have no idea because I have my maintenance done at the dealer. So, you can also ask, "Are you the first owner?" "Where did you buy it?" "Have they serviced it lately?" "Any records?"

    Lastly, all major brands will do fine. I would definitely looked for a used model that has a winch, full skid plate (whether stock or aftermarket), and aftermarket tires, but stay away from anything that has tires over 27" or somekind of lift kit. Not that lifts don't work, but I'd rather be the one to buy it and install it or have it installed, and 4wd.

    And like was mentioned, you'll see more wheelers come up for sale here in the next two months or so.

    Good luck.

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    Agreed on the Craiglist ad...it's a scam. There's a similar one going around on snowmobiles right now...the lady's husband died in Iraq and such...except she's selling the snowmobiles in about every single Craigslist location and then when you try and see them it turns out they're somewhere else, and on and on. If you google this four wheeler ad, odds are it's placed in other Craigslist locations too.

    On buying a good used, consider the Lemon lot on base. Military folks that are being relocated often sell items for pretty fair deals on the Lemon lot. We picked up a boat there, and then picked up 4 sleds and 4-spot trailer the same way but from an ad on Craigslist but it was a military guy that was shipping out. They usually take pretty good care of their equipment plus it's a good way to support a soldier.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I've never understood why, but used 4wheelers in AK go for rediculous money, yet used snowmachines can be found cheap. It seems any 4 wheeler in decent shape will fetch 3/4 the price of a new one, and anything in your budget will be abused and or ancient.

    Good luck in your quest, you might just luck into that deal of a lifetime.

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    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    I was kind of suprised to learn how many miles is a lot of miles for a machine. A friend of mine had stuff start happening to his at about 5k miles and the shop he took it to said that was to be expected for a machine with that many miles.
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  10. #10

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    I did a quick google on that Rincon in the CL ad and it is listed on a bunch of other CL sites which have all been flagged for removal.

    Back to the thread, I think your going to have some difficulty finding a good used atv for $3000 and if you do, it will probably be a 400 or smaller. I've got an 04 Foreman that's decked out with everything I need for riding and hunting, has about 1300 miles on it and I would never let it go for less than $3800. That's just as an example and she's not for sale anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ret25yo View Post
    if it's used and a private party sale, and the picture has the ATV in the AIR ... I would pass.
    I'm surprised by how many ads I see for atvs/snowmachines that show them airborne, I steer clear of those. (most machines probably *have* been airborne, but I wouldn't use it as a sales tactic in the used market)

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    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default unless its a late model skidoo tundra

    It is true older model snowmachines are cheap unless they are older Tundras. I recenly saw a 91 Tundra LT for $2650. I don't know how much they were in 1991 (yeah a 19 year old snowmachine!) off the dealers floor but I bet it wasn't far away from 2600 bucks brand new.

    I agree 3 grand will be hard pressed to find a good used machine. Have you thought about using your 3 grand as a down payment and getting a new one with the low interest rates running around? Just a suggestion... I hate debt but you can pay 2-3 grand off pretty quick if you put you mind to it.
    I'm going to ctrl-alt-delete you so hard your mama's computer is going to reboot.

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    I spent over a year trying to find a suitable 4x4 ATV for my son for $3000. I simply couldn't do it. The closest I found was when Roger (a member here) was clearing out his rental fleet from his tour company. By that point I'd already spent the money on something else. I ended up taking a Cat 400 in trade for money a guy owed my business..but it still was more than $3000.

    In the last year I have bought an Indy Lite, an Indy Lite GT, and an Indy 500 SKS for my kids for $2800 total. Add to that the FREE Indy 500 RMK that my son was given that cost $200 to rebuild the engine, I have 4 good running sleds for 3 grand. Man, I wish I could do that with wheelers
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Quote Originally Posted by EagleRiverDee View Post
    Agreed on the Craiglist ad...it's a scam. There's a similar one going around on snowmobiles right now...the lady's husband died in Iraq and such...except she's selling the snowmobiles in about every single Craigslist location and then when you try and see them it turns out they're somewhere else, and on and on. If you google this four wheeler ad, odds are it's placed in other Craigslist locations too.

    On buying a good used, consider the Lemon lot on base. Military folks that are being relocated often sell items for pretty fair deals on the Lemon lot. We picked up a boat there, and then picked up 4 sleds and 4-spot trailer the same way but from an ad on Craigslist but it was a military guy that was shipping out. They usually take pretty good care of their equipment plus it's a good way to support a soldier.
    Where is it located on base? I have a buddy in the reserves to help me get on base. Thanks!

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    Member mjm316's Avatar
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    Hey Chasing send me a PM and I might have something you are interested in...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjm316 View Post
    Hey Chasing send me a PM and I might have something you are interested in...
    Somehow I can not PM on this site. What am I doing wrong?

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    You aren't doing anything wrong with the PM's. The sight has had problems with PM spam recently, so the administrator has blocked the ability of new members to send PM's. Post a thread about PM problems in the help section, and they should get you set up.

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    Thanks. I found it and am now good to go!

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