Best Time to Buy an ATV and Buying Tips

If you’re in the market for a new ATV, you might be wondering when is the best time to buy one and get the best deal. You might also be wondering what other tricks you can use when buying.

Does cash make the deal sweeter? Or does financing? I want to go over the best time to buy and tips you can use to make sure you get a good deal on your next ATV.

The Timing Of The Deal

The best time to buy an ATV is right before or during the release of next year’s models. This would mean the best time of year to buy is around May or June.

The best time to buy a Side by Side (UTV) is the same, right before or during the release of new models.

When the manufacturer releases next year’s models, they also give out the best rebates and warranty offers of the year. These great offers are so the dealership sells out of their previous year’s models, so they order more of the next year’s models.

Then, oddly enough, I have seen some significant rebates and warranties during the middle of the season. There might be one model that is not doing well over the season, and the manufacturer will release rebates on it.

Even Better

If you want the absolute best deal, then you need to buy the ones that have been on the lot the longest. Don’t be surprised when a dealership has had a model for over 2 years – that will be your best deal. The longer a dealership has a unit, the more they pay on their floor plan and the more they want it gone.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to call other dealerships that are not close to you. Focus on the dealerships that don’t focus only on selling ATVs, but might also sell watercraft more.

Dealerships located closer to lakes or water but also sell ATVs make more of their money from boats and quads just might be something they sell just to sell. These dealerships that don’t focus on selling ATVs might have models that have been there far too long, and they want to get rid of it. This is often where you find gold.

Keep in mind, the best deals are often on the units that people don’t want to buy. That Mud Machine you like will most likely not be discounted.

Another good time to buy is during the big show events that have more than one dealership there. Sometimes held in convention centers, they have all the latest ATV gear and machines on display. You’ll see many dealerships show up there, and it’s a free for all. Often, this is where you get the best deal because each dealer is in the same location and wants to fight over customers.

Time Of Year

The early summer months will be the best time to buy used.

Also, right when the new models come out, there will be a rush of used units being traded into dealerships. The dealerships want to move them, and you have an actual legit place to buy from and not some random stranger on the internet.

The great thing about used ATVs is that they often have more wiggle room on price.

How To Know When The New Models Come Out

We have found that the best time to buy is when next year’s models come out, but how do you know when that is?

The easiest way to know when the latest models come out and the latest incentives are to follow your favorite dealership or manufacturer on Facebook, Twitter, or any social media. You could skip all that and just sign up for the email list on the manufacturer’s website.





Arctic Cat

Warranty Or Rebates

Many of the promotions you’ll run into will offer a warranty or a rebate. Often you’ll get both in some way.

If you’re given an option of either one, I would always go with the warranty. The actual value of the warranty is more, and the peace of mind is well worth it.

Are the extended warranties worth it? If you can’t afford to buy the ATV twice, then the extended warranties are worth it. It’s a gamble, and I’m sure 90% of you will never need that extra warranty. But the 10% that do will be happy they got it. It would be pointless to get an extended warranty if you have the cash to fix whatever is wrong with the machine.

Negotiate With Dealers

To get the best deal possible, you want to avoid going to the dealership unless you want to sit on the ATV, test ride it, or you’re buying it.

To get the honest and best price, you will need to email 3 to 5 of the closest dealers to you. When you get everyone’s price, email the 2 best prices and tell them that they’re fighting for your business and see what they can do for you.

Don’t forget that the lowest price is always nice, but what dealership offers you the best value is better. I’ve seen dealerships give a low cost but charge a lot for installs, and I’ve seen dealerships charge a high price for the ATV but do install for free. It’s a give and take and whatever dealership can GIVE the most is the winner, and it’s not always about who has the lowest price.

Keep in mind, I have seen some dealerships say one thing in email but do another. This is why it’s important to use good judgment and price shop all the closest dealers to you. If one dealership is way too low then something is not right, and that dealership likes to play games, and I would avoid them. The same goes for way too much. If it doesn’t feel right then, it’s not right.

Are New Units Negotiable?

Yes, prices are negotiable.

But how much they wiggle can depend on how new or the demand.

Also, the more the unit costs, the more wiggle room the dealership will have. Keep reading to see how much markup ATVs and UTVs have.

Cash Is Not King

Cash is not always the big deal that everyone makes it out to be. Many dealerships would prefer you finance it as it’s less hassle than depositing cash, and often they might get a kickback for it.

I will say if you’re in there with cash during the slow season, then things can happen better for you. For the most part, cash is okay and not the king everyone thinks it is.

The one thing many dealerships won’t take is a credit card. Dealerships get charged by the credit card company to use them. Often the fee is around 3%, and when the margins on ATVs hover around 5%, it’s just not worth it.

I will say the best time to use cash is when you’re buying used. Used ATVs often have a better markup and need to be sold as the dealership will have money tied up in it.

Dealer Fees

There are many unnecessary fees, but there are some you can’t get rid of. The 2 fees that are almost impossible to get rid of is a setup fee and freight.

Freight is hard to get rid of because that is what the dealership is charged to get it delivered. It’s the same fee you pay to get things shipped to your house when you buy online. The freight charge will be more noticeable on the less expensive ATVs, as they don’t have the margins to hide it in. I’ve seen many of the $6k ATVs with a freight charge of $400 when the margin was only $300.

Prep is a big one that many riders hate seeing. All models are shipped in crates and must be taken out. The common thing many customers say is that they can take it out of the crate, so no need to charge it. But that is not true. Many of the ATVs are duds until the dealership hooks them up to the manufacturer’s software. Not only that but there are many safety and liability things they must check to make sure things are good.

The dealership also wants to make sure the unit runs fine before you take it and do any recalls that it might have to. There are a lot of things that need to be done to the ATV, and someone needs to do it. I don’t know about you, but if I took the crate home and the ATV would not start or run right, I would be pissed. A lot can happen from the manufacturer to the dealership, and you want the dealership to handle the hassle of making it perfect before you take it.

How Much Markup?

The markup on the lower-end models is not that much. You can expect as low as 2% all the way up to 8% markup on a new ATV.

Side by Sides can have more markup, especially on the higher-end ones. Just like the lower-end ATVs, the low-end SXS and UTVs don’t have much in the way of mark-up either. It’s almost laughable when you see dealer invoices on a 450cc or Youths.

Freight is not factored into the markup, so keep this in mind. Freight can cost anywhere from $400 all the way up to $1,000 for larger 4 seaters UTV’s. Most dealers are not willing to take a negative dealer profit to cover freight.

Keep the markup in mind when figuring out how much under MSRP you should pay. For the lower-end ATVs, don’t be surprised to pay above MSRP when you factor in freight.

Keep In Mind

Everyone likes a good deal, but if you haggle the ATV down to where the dealership only makes $10, don’t expect $20 worth of gas.

Things cost money, and buying an ATV is not like buying a car. Many car dealerships can lose money on a car and still be okay. Power sports dealerships don’t have that luxury.

Don’t always haggle on the price the alone, but also helmets and other gear you might need too. It might be nothing for the dealership to give you a helmet to make a deal.