Each year, tens of thousands of Americans buy all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs. Also called three-wheelers, four-wheelers or quads, these sporty little vehicles are used for both work and play and allow riders to splash through mud and woodsy trails with ease.
But ATVs can run you thousands of dollars, meaning many people turn to loans to finance their new or used ATVs.
ATV financing works much like financing a new car. You borrow money to purchase your new ATV from a lender, and then pay back that money over time, plus interest. And, like with car buying, you have a number of options when it comes to financing a new or used ATV. We’ll break down your options when it comes to taking out a loan for an ATV.
In this article:
How does financing an ATV work?
The exact specifics of your loan will depend on where you go to get it, but generally, a loan for an ATV will function much like any other loan. A lending institution will agree to loan you the money you need to purchase your ATV, and then you’ll pay back the initial amount you borrowed, called the principal, plus interest, over the course of an agreed-upon amount of time. That amount of time is called your loan term.
How much will an ATV loan cost?
The total cost of a loan over its lifetime will depend on a number of factors:
The interest rate, which comprises most of the annual percentage rate (APR)
The loan term
The down payment, which is the amount you pay for your ATV up front
The total purchase price of your ATV.
The loan offer with the lowest interest rate isn’t necessarily going to be cheapest over time — a loan with a higher interest rate but a shorter term length might be a better choice, if you can afford the monthly payments. Before shopping around for a loan, figure out how much you’d like to spend on a monthly loan payment and look for an offer that fits your budget.
What kind of loan should I get for an ATV?
When it comes to choosing a loan for an ATV, you have a few different options. Let’s take a look at some of the types of loans you might be able to take out when buying an ATV.
A loan from a bank or credit union
Like with a car loan, you can take out a loan for an ATV through a bank or credit union. Some lending institutions may offer dedicated ATV loans, meant specifically for purchasing an ATV or similar vehicle, while some only may only offer you a personal loan that you can then use to purchase your ATV.
But be careful with personal loans, as they tend to be much more expensive because you aren’t using a vehicle as collateral. Personal loans can seem appealing because the lending institution offers you the money without any say over what you do with it.
But personal loans can have interest rates that are triple, even quadruple those of a secured loan, meaning one that is backed by collateral.
If you can, look for a lender that offers dedicated ATV loans that allow you to use the vehicle as collateral as opposed to an unsecured personal loan. It will be less expensive in the long run, and, in the event that you can’t afford to continue making payments, you risk losing the ATV itself as opposed to losing other assets.
When looking for an ATV loan, you’ll likely see a range of APRs. Buyers with good credit purchasing new ATVs may be able to get a loan with an APR between 2% and 10%.
Financing an ATV through a dealer or manufacturer
Many ATV dealerships offer options for financing a new or used ATV. The benefit of financing your ATV through a dealer is that the dealership will use your ATV as collateral, meaning the loan is secured.
The dealer or manufacturer may also be able to offer you promotional deals, like no interest for a certain amount of time.
And getting a loan through a dealership can be a much faster process than applying for a loan through a bank or credit union. But be careful of special offers for buyers with poor credit — any special deals offering a loan without a credit check likely have high rates or extra fees attached.
Financing an ATV with a credit card
Yet another option for financing an ATV is to purchase the ATV using a credit card. Many credit cards have special sign-up offers that give you a 0% interest rate on purchases you make in the first 12 or 18 months.
That means that if you buy an ATV with a credit card that offers 0% interest and make your monthly payments on time, you’ll pay off the balance within the allotted period and won’t have to pay any interest on the ATV.
But if the balance is not fully paid off by the end of the credit card’s offer, you’ll be stuck paying high interest rates on your purchase — credit card interest rates can be as high as 27%, much higher than any other type of loan — so you would wind up paying more in interest than you would have with a personal or ATV loan.
How to save money on an ATV loan
Whether you’re getting it for fun or for practical reasons, buying a new ATV can put a strain on your finances. Here are some tips for saving money when purchasing a new ATV with the help of a loan.
Shop around. Do plenty of comparison shopping before you settle on a loan, so you can make sure you’re getting the best offer for your wallet.
Buy a cheaper ATV. The less your ATV costs, the less you’ll need to borrow to pay for it. And even though interest rates may be higher if you’re buying a used ATV, you can save overall by choosing an older or less expensive model.
Save for a bigger down payment. The more you put down at the outset, the less you’ll have to borrow. If you can wait to save up for a bigger down payment, that will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Improve your credit. Borrowers with bad credit will get worse offers from lenders, so take some steps to improve your credit before applying for loans. That can include paying bills on time, paying off debt, and disputing any mistakes or inaccuracies you see in your credit history.