Purchasing a UTV “Let’s Make a Deal” on Your Side x Side
We all want to get a great price when we are ready to purchase. It is no different when you have decided to upgrade your current side x side or you are ready for your first side x side.
Here is the hard truth about the UTV field – some of the lowest price machines that you are interested in are strictly because of the price, and this can very easily be hiding a $2000-$4000 problem. If you purchase the side x side thinking you have just hit a home run and then find out you have to invest $2,000.00 because there was a hidden problem, your great deal probably went right out the window – what if it is a $4,000 problem and now you just bought a mistake.
If you have owned and operated a side x side for a while, it should help when you go to test drive the UTV for the feel and how the clutch responds and engages properly with no grinding into gear.
If you have never owned a side x side, it will be well worth it to have someone test drive it that has owned and operated a side x side before. There is nothing else like it and you won’t know right vs wrong.
Here is a personal story along the same line of purchasing the lowest price to save money. It was on my very first motorhome buy, and I was young (around 26 years old), only in business a couple of years so money was extremely tight. But, I had a craving to own my own motorhome. My dad had owned motorhomes for many years, and I had wanted one to be able to go camping, hunting, etc. with him on the trips.
When I was looking hard and heavy for a used motorhome, it was in the days of no internet – just newspapers and magazines. I had looked at two specific motorhomes – one a Dodge dreamer for $9,000.00 and another Ford for $14,000. The Dodge dreamer had a 440 engine with 90,000 miles and had sort of a weird smell when you got into it. The $5,000.00 higher price motorhome was absolutely gorgeous, had 23,000 miles with everything you would want in a motorhome, but it was out of my budget. So, I went back to looking harder at the Dodge dreamer and chose to take it to my auto shop for a good look over.
Red flags were everywhere. First, I had to jump-start the engine to get it running, and then it did not want to run all that well driving it over to the shop. The smell was still noticeable when entering the motorcoach. How about those 90,000 miles and the large trailer hitch on the back, which I later found out it had hauled a horse trailer and horses with this motor home all over the country?
I still made the deal and bought it. I was just so excited to own my first motorhome… dreaming of the Dodge dreamer which soon became the dreaming nightmare!
Immediately after getting it running, I realized the engine had a miss in it that was not going away. I decided to perform an engine compression test. One cylinder had no compression, so, before even driving it, I had to remove the heads and have them rebuilt – no cheap thing even back then.
With the engine work taking a month or so to get complete, the weather started to get warm. The warmer it became, the smell inside the coach was so bad you could not stand being in there without the door wide open, or you would want to puke. After doing a complete cleaning, including carpet and all the walls inside, the smell was still overwhelming.
I had to fix the smell. So, I pulled up some of the carpets to get a good look and sure enough all the padding under the carpet was wet and maybe moldy. Out came all the carpet and I hired a guy to install new carpet throughout – another pretty good expense.
The time had come to start traveling in the motorhome – let’s take it to Disneyland! We did not make it to Lehi before the engine developed a knock and I had to tow it back to Salt Lake, and we hopped in the Chrysler and headed to California.
Now a complete engine rebuild and if you have never seen the engine come out of an old Dodge motorhome, it is no easy task, mind you. I had an auto shop so all the labor is just me after hours getting all this fixed.
The end to the long motorhome story -I had spent nearly $6,000.00 in costs, with my labor for free, to get this piece of shit on the road, and the bad news I still had a motorhome with 90,000 miles on it.
I could have purchased that beautiful motorhome for $5,000.00 more than the dreamer and been money ahead. It was like brand new with 23,000 miles, but out of my budget.
So, if you still think the lowest price wins, you best take a good look at what you are purchasing. It may well be worth spending a $100.00 bill to have it checked over by a professional. You could be many $1,000’s ahead in the long run.
If there are red flags flying, trust your instinct and have a good look at it. Don’t let your emotions and cheapness make your purchasing decision when out looking for that UTV. You’re falling in love with it just might end up being the most expensive UTV you looked at.
If you need some pointers, I have a sheet you can download with my 10 top tips for purchasing a used UTV and what red flags to look for on my website.
The best way to save a lot of money is to learn by others’ mistakes, and if this story helps someone save money when purchasing a used side x side, then I have done my job.
If you need help or advice on purchasing a used UTV, download my 10 tips now – it could save you $$$!
Till we ride again
Owner of UTV Service specializing in shocks and suspension.
I have always loved making cars and now UTV’s run and handle there best. I do not believe in taking short cuts and when something comes along that does not fit my values I will not sell or back that product.
Business owner for over 35 years. 3-Time Nascar short track champion at our local race track Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City, Utah
2017 Polaris XPT 2-Seat Turbo-Current
2015 Polaris XP1000 -Sold
2011 Polaris RZR 800- Sold