If you are thinking about buying an ATV, you need to be willing to invest some time and money into the maintenance over the year. That is, if you want your ATV to last, you need to give it some TLC. However, this doesn't mean you'll be draining all of your cash into ATV maintenance. With a smaller engine and generally cheaper parts, the maintenance of an ATV is going to be far cheaper than the maintenance of an automobile. That being said, it is helpful to know what to expect when it comes to the cost of owning an ATV before making the investment.

Equipment and Safety Gear


Image via Flickr by Sandra Foyt

The list of equipment and safety gear that you might need for your ATV can be surprisingly long. You can expect to spend a few hundred dollars on some basic accessories. For instance, a certified motorcycle helmet should be worn at all times. Many people don't follow this rule, but it could save your life. ATVs are fun, powerful, and fast. This means that they are dangerous if the appropriate safety gear is not worn. A full-face helmet is an essential investment to ensure your safety.

If you plan on racing or negotiating tracks and intense terrain on your ATV, you should consider buying good quality safety gear. Armored jackets, elbow protectors, knee pads, and riding boots are all worn by professional riders. If you are buying an ATV with the intention of pushing it to the limits and possibly racing, you should plan on spending several hundred dollars on this gear. You won't regret the investment — especially once you take your first fall.

The Cost of Tire Replacement

You should definitely factor in the cost of tire maintenance and replacement. You are more likely to get a flat, and ATV tires wear down more quickly than tires on a normal automobile would wear out. Luckily, ATV tires are more affordable, mainly because they are smaller.

If you're just riding around your farm, on soft soil and grass, your tires are going to last for a very long time. If you are riding your ATV on gravel and pavement, the tires are going to wear down much quicker and need more frequent repair or replacement.

A set of four tires for an ATV can run anywhere from $100-$500. Of course, you may not need to replace all four tires at once. But it is always a good idea to have at least one spare tire on hand at all times, in case you get a flat.

The Cost of Engine Maintenance

As with tire replacement, the cost of engine maintenance is largely dependent on exactly how your ride your ATV. If you are taking it off road, up steep inclines, hitting jumps, and generally riding at higher speeds on more intense terrain, you can expect your engine to need more frequent maintenance. If you are hauling loads, whether you are pulling a trailer or have cargo stacked on the ATV's racks, this is going to put much more stress on the engine.

As with a traditional automobile, good maintenance is all about taking preventative measures. For instance, changing your oil, keeping your vital liquids topped off, and replacing dirty filters on a regular basis are all tasks that are likely going to stave off serious damage to your engine. If you don't have the skills, time, or patience for these tasks, make sure you take your ATV to a mechanic about once a year for a professional check-up. Even a simple check-up could cost $100, but it's well worth it if you want to keep your ATV running well.

The Cost of ATV Insurance

Any talk of the cost of owning an ATV needs to discuss insurance. Insurance is required by law and absolutely essential when it comes to protecting your finances. Most people will buy their ATV insurance through their existing auto, life, or homeowner's insurance provider. The policies for ATVs are usually housed under the motorcycle insurance umbrella.

When riding an ATV, it really isn't a matter of if you are going to crash, it is a matter of when you are going to crash. This doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to get injured. In fact, you could just get your ATV stuck in the mud or water, causing the engine to flood.

When you buy insurance for your ATV, you are doing more than just protecting yourself from the high cost of potential medical bills; you are also protecting your ATV from damage. That is, you can get repairs covered, especially when they are due to a manufacturing defect (even if the parts are no longer under warranty). Repairs for collisions and body damage are also an option.

Not every policy is comprehensive, and getting more coverage has the potential to make your premium skyrocket. For instance, most ATV policies offer great rates for bodily injury, but the prices start to swell when you add in collision repair. Coverage for bodily injury is cheap even though the cost of a medical bill in the case of a serious injury is going to be far greater than the bill for a collision repair. This is due to the fact that bodily injury occurs far less often than damage to the ATV.

The insurance company is willing to provide low premiums for large monetary values when it comes to bodily injury because it is less likely that they will have to award a payout. So, it makes buying a basic policy with low premiums and extensive bodily injury protection very easy. If you want to tack on further protection for your machine, you are going to pay for it.

As you can see, owning an ATV isn't going to break the bank. The up-front cost of safety equipment is a one-off cost. As long as you have a good insurance policy and take care of the usual preventative maintenance, the cost of fuel, servicing and mechanical repairs, and tire replacement shouldn't be too overwhelming.

Interested in more details of purchasing ATV insurance? check this post >>

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