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Ok another three questions to help me get up to speed on getting my first ATV...
1- It's after the court clerk has closed and you're standing there with the guy after your test drive and you've decided you really want the machine he's selling, and if you don't put cash in his hand now it might be gone tomorrow. So how do you know there's not a lien on the title or that the machine is even his? Just wondering how you go about purchasing a machine and make sure you don't get ripped off somehow title wise.
2- How much do private parties generally come off their asking price if they haven't put something like 'FIRM' in their advertisement? Also, how much do dealerships generally come off their price?
3- I've been told to stay away from ten year old Polaris from a number of different people, but that they've come a long way since then. How old is the oldest Polaris I should consider buying used? Around when did they start to improve in quality?
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Found this while browsing online, good info for new owners.
ATV Maintenance and Safety
Several times a year, customers show up with an ATV, that has significant wear to
undercarriage, suspension, and/or braking components. Some of these machines are
nearly new, or have low mileage or hours of use, which elevates the concern of the
owners even further. A few simple steps can help reduce the occurrence of this wear,
especially on machines that are only occasionally ridden, to a large extent.
First riders must realize, that most manufacturers do not recommend riding your ATV
in water and mud, that is deeper than the bottom of your wheels center cap or axle.
Obviously, even casual riders will encounter situations where this is unavoidable,
and some riders will use their machines on rugged trails, and under conditions that
tend to push the machine's fording capabilities to their limits.
That being said, the more your ATV is immersed in deep water and mud, the more
likely you are to accelerate wear on that machines components. There are however
some simple measures you can take to help minimize the impact associated with water
and mud intrusion, and help keep a dependable machine in good condition.
1) Routine Maintenance - Keeping your oil changed in engines, differentials,
transmissions, etc. If water infiltrates these components and is left unremediated,
the contaminated assembly WILL eventually fail, usually as a result of rust
formation on bearing surfaces, etc. This can lead to some exceedingly expensive
repairs, and is very straight forward and economical to prevent.
2) After crossing deep water, stop and remove drain plugs from your airbox and belt
drive, if applicable. Simply removing a drain plug can prevent a damaged drive belt,
which will end a nice day of riding, and could potentially damage other components,
or cause an accident. Engines that ingest water thru the air intake can be
irreparably damaged, water does not compress well in a cylinder. Since an engine is
probably one of the most expensive components of an ATV, you'll find the few minutes
is time well spent.
3) Keep It Clean. After the fun is done, your machine needs a bath. Mud is fun, but
it is also as invasive as it is abrasive. Wash down your ATV after riding in deep
mud, if not a total cleaning, at very least wash down brake and steering components,
and anywhere there are exposed moving parts. Allowing mud to remain dried into pivot
points, etc will result in the grit grinding away at parts and causing greatly
4) Not That Clean. Easy does it with the pressure washer. High Pressure water is
commonly used to clean the seemingly tons of mud, weeds, rocks, sticks, and other
debris from undercarriages, etc. Unfortunately, most high pressure washers are too
powerful to safely use on ATV's. Most Car Washes and gasoline powered pressure
washers generate sufficient pressure to actually cause more damage than they
prevent. For example, many of the best kept machines have premature wheel bearing
failures, not because they were not cleaned after use, but because in an attempt to
clean the machine thoroughly, the owner inadvertently forced water into bearings,
because the seals were not designed to withstand 2000-3000 psi. Even the smallest
electric power washer can be damaging, 1200 psi units can tear stickers from the
machine, and force water into places it otherwise would never be able to penetrate,
if not used carefully. Best practice is to just resort to a plain old garden hose
and elbow grease, and spend some quality time with your ATV.
5) Dry it out. Once your machine is clean, it needs to dry out. A nice sunny day
works nicely, when possible. Avoid setting the parking brake on a freshly washed
machine, especially if it will remain parked for an extended period, as this tends
to cause the brakes to stick on, and possibly drag when released later. In extreme
cases, in disc brake applications, especially those with sintered metal brake pads,
can cause the brake pad to rust firmly to the rotor.
6) Look it over. After the wheeler has dried, take a look underneath. Look for oil
leaks or seepage, damaged components, etc. Grab the components firmly and tug,
looking for any looseness in A-Arm bearings or bushings, Tie-Rod ends, Ball Joints,
Wheel Bearings, including loose bolts in suspension, frame or steering components.
Often if there is looseness in a component, and it is allowed to go unchecked, the
damage will be significantly greater. A loose or worn wheel bearing can rapidly wear
brake pads, rotors, destroy calipers, and damage knuckle or spindle assemblies, for
7) A word about Drum Brakes. While most newer machines have primarily switched to a
disc brake design, many older units and smaller less expensive machines still are
sold with drum brakes. While manufacturers design these units to stay relatively
sealed, invariably, mud and water WILL GET IN. Unfortunately it cannot get back out
and it will absolutely eat the brake shoes if left for long periods of time. If you
own a machine that employs drum brakes, you should know that it is crucial for you
to disassemble the drum brake assembly and clean it regularly if the machine is used
in deep water or mud. Failure to do so is to guarantee premature brake wear, severe
enough to render the brakes totally inoperable, in a very short time.
8) It's a long walk out of the woods. Swampy mud is more fun to ride in than walk
through. Your ATV enables you to go places you otherwise would not go, and if not
properly cared for, it can just as easily leave you stranded far from civilization.
Your ATV is your best friend and trusted companion on the trail, treat it that way.
9) Check tire pressure regularly. Make sure you are fueled up and properly geared
and dressed to ride. Wear your helmet at all times. Run with your lights on and
exercise caution as you ride. When possible, do not ride alone. Carry emergency
items such as first aid, drinking water, and a tow strap, in event something does
10) Be safe and have fun. Help promote the sport and safety. Respect landowners,
stay on trails, don't litter. We all are responsible, to ensure we can continue to
enjoy ATV riding in the future.
See ya on the trail,
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