Just like cars, ATVs are considered depreciating assets. this means that over time, 99% of these lose value. how much money they lose depends a lot on which model it is, the rate of use of the ATV, the maintenance done in it, and other stuff. and while almost everybody that is going to buy a quad knows this, sometimes they do not really have a clear idea of how much money is being lost over time because of depreciation.
And that’s why I made this list. while I knew that buying a quad wasn’t exactly the most financially savvy decision, I always wanted kind of a guide on how much money you lose when you buy a quad over 1, 2, or 3 years, and maybe even more. and guess what: I never found the damn guide. I didn’t even find any reliable information regarding the rate of depreciation of the most common ATVs such as TRXs or Sportsmans.
While I invested a lot of time looking for this information all over the internet, this guide is obviously not perfect, but it provides a valuable resource if you are looking for a new quad but are concerned about what is going to be the resale value of it in a few years.
A Few Things To Know
Buying A New ATV Is A Terrible Financial Decision. Just like cars, you are going to lose quite a penny as soon as you buy an ATV, especially a new one. while it’s going to be different for all ATVs, you can expect to lose about 15% of the value of it as soon as you take it out of the dealership. so let’s say that you buy a $10,000 Can-Am and you take it home and start driving. as soon as you press the throttle lever, you lost about $1,500. the value of the quad is now $8,500. then let’s say that you put a hundred miles on that ATV over 1 year. the market says you lost about 25% of that 8,500 dollar quad. that is $2,125. so it’s really not a good idea to be buying new quads unless you really like a model or have the cash to afford it.
If You Want To Save Money, Buy Used. Used 3 to 4-year-old quads are a good choice because most of the initial depreciation has already occurred. a quad with an original MSRP of $8,000 dollars can be easily found under $4,000 without much miles or hours of use on it. after a quad is older than 4 to 5 years, the depreciation rate slows down dramatically.
Try Not To Overpay For Old Quads. While buying a 3 to 5-year-old quad is the best bang for your buck, buying an old quad is not a bad option either. anything that is older than 10 years can be likely found for under $2,000. these quads have lost most of the value already, so if you find something that is well maintained, then you might have yourself a good deal in your hands. however, keep in mind that many of these older quads are severely overpriced. it might be wise to go to an ATV forum to ask about prices of the particular model that you are trying to buy to ensure that you are not getting ripped off.
Regular Maintenance Will Reduce Depreciation Over The Long Term. Aside from ensuring that your quad will continue working the way it should, if you do maintenance you are also making sure that the resale value will stay high in the near future. you don’t have to the maintenance every month, but doing regular check-ups like oil changes, cleaning air filters, greasing chains, and checking suspension bearings once every few months will definitely save you some pennies when you decide to sell the quad.
Some Brands Depreciate Less Than Others. Depending on the ATV brand that you have, you might lose less money over the long term. brands like Honda, Yamaha, and some Polaris models will definitely lose less value over the long term than other brands like for example Kawasaki or Can-Am. this is because the former brands are generally more plentiful and they have more parts availability. so if you have a TRX or a sportsman then good for you because those do not depreciate as much as an ATV from an obscure brand.
If you want to get the best bang for your buck, buy a 3-year-old quad from any range. Since new quads depreciate so quickly, the best thing to do to save money is to just wait a few years for the quad to lose over 50% of it’s value and then go ahead and do the purchase.
General Depreciation Rates Of Different ATV Size Categories:
Here I created a general list of how much money you should expect to lose over a few years for several ATV categories. this is not completely accurate and it’s going to depend on the specific model, but it will serve you as a general depreciation guide depending on what you have.
Under 100cc: The depreciation rate of these mini-ATVs is pretty hard to determine. it’s just that every kid uses their quad differently. some completely thrash the little machines including messing with the internals and everything, while there are some kids who just ride them for a few weeks and then they get tired of it. the following numbers are an average of the depreciation rates that I have seen on the internet and local ATV stores.
- 1-year-old: 27% Depreciation. Mini-ATVs lose value harshly the first year, even the ones that haven’t seen much use.
- 2-years-old: 25% Depreciation. Mini-ATVs value keeps dropping dramatically. after 2 years, most Mini-ATVs have lost over 50% of their initial value.
- 3-years-old: 15% Depreciation. This is a great time to buy one of these for your kid. the quad has already lost over 60% of its value and its still pretty modern and will likely run a few more years without any issues
- 4-years-old: 10% Depreciation. After the 4 years, Mini-ATVs under 100cc do not really lose that much value anymore. buying a 3 or 4-year-old used Mini-ATV will give you the best bang for your buck.
250cc Quads: 250cc quads do not depreciate as much as 100cc quads. there are not many 250cc ATVs available in the market these days, but from the research that I have done they are generally the ones that depreciate the least, especially in the first few years. there are also some Chinese off-brand 250cc quads in this category that have okay depreciation rates for what they are.
- 1-year-old: 20% Depreciation. I honestly do not think that 20% depreciation in the first year of ownership is that big of a deal. if you are looking for a 250cc ATV, then buying new is not that bad of a decision, especially when you consider the warranty and any extra perks that you might snatch from the dealership.
- 2-year-old: 15% Depreciation. When it comes to 250cc quads, you are going to lose 35% of their value in 24 months. this is especially true if you buy something from Honda.
- 3-year-old: 15% Depreciation. After 3 years, a 250cc quad will generally not lose that much value, especially if you do not thrash it and do some maintenance on it once in a while.
400cc-500cc ATVs: These quads are kind of a mixed bag. some of the most common 400cc ATVs available generally hold their value pretty well over the years, but there are a few whose values sink like a rock after a year or two. if you are looking for a 400cc quad with good resale value, then try going for the most popular and established models in the market, like a Sportsman 400 or a YFZ450. the following depreciation rates are for the most common 400cc models available right now.
- 1-year-old: 23% Depreciation. 400cc quads are generally the best selling models in an ATV brand lineup. they are everywhere, the parts are plentiful, and so that affects the resale value a bit. I recommend buying a 400cc quad after 1 year because they are not going to depreciate that much after the first year or 2.
- 2-years-old: 15% Depreciation. there are sometimes that the ATV value doesn’t really go down even when it’s 2 years old. this usually happens when the quad doesn’t have much miles on it.
- 3-years-old: 10% Depreciation. 400cc will not lose that much value after this. if you are looking to buy an used model to save some cash, it doesn’t make any sense buying it after it’s older than this because you are not going to save some money.
600cc And Up: Depending on the model that you are looking for or have, these quads generally will hold their value really well. however they are most expensive though, so even a 15% depreciation over 1 year is a pretty significant loss. for example, losing 15% off a $10,000 quad in 1 year is a $1,500 loss. compare this to losing 25% off a $5,000 quad in 1 year. you lose $1,175. so even though the percentages are less, there’s still a good amount of value being lost over time.
- 1-year-old: 18% Depreciation: 18% is not too bad, especially when you compare that to a 400cc or even a mini-ATV.
- 2-year-old: 15% Depreciation: in the second year the average 700c model will lose an extra 15%. in my opinion I think that 700cc quads are a good choice for buying new since they do not lose as much value. plus you get a warranty in case that something goes wrong with it.
- 3-year-old: 15% Depreciation: 700 cc quads lose a little bit more by the third year. after the third year, resale value will be mostly determined by how abused it was.
If you were to take just 1 thing from this article, its this: if you want to save some money on a quad, then wait 3 years for it to lose significant value, and then go ahead and get the ATV. not that there’s anything bad about buying new, but not everybody has the money to actually go to a dealership and get the shiniest quad on the block.