If you are out to buy a used quad bike, there’s always a risk of being handed a lemon. However, most of these bad deals stem from the same issue: not doing a thorough check-up of the used quad bike before buying it. Having said that, here are 10 absolutely essential steps you should follow when buying a used quad bike.
When looking at a road legal quad the most important thing is to check is that it is 100% road legal. Many quad bikes are manufactured and type approved for road use from the factory however some need to be converted for road use and type approved via an MSVA test. Easiest way to check if the quad you’re looking at is type approved is to look at the V5C document (Log Book ).If you look for letter K on the inside page you will see either a e1 to e4 number followed by a year and then various numbers or a AA number with various numbers which indicates the MSVA test certificate number. Steer clear of anything that states Agric especially if it’s a manual sports quad unless of course it’s an agricultural farm quad you require and therefore has been registered under the correct category.
If it’s a 4×4 Quad, make sure to inspect the CV joint boots. This is an important step because if these parts show any signs of crack or tears, it will allow water, dirt, or debris to seep in, setting you up for costly repairs. Also, try to remove the front and rear differential inspection plugs. Check the colour of the gear lube. A chocolate milk colour is an indication that the oil is contaminated with water and that could damage the bearings.
Look for signs of damage and wear and tear on wheel bearings, ball joints, suspension, and brakes. To do this, raise the Quad bike and support it from the front using jack stands. Try moving each front wheel in and out on all four directions. Same goes for the rear wheels. Chain rollers on chain driven quads is also something to look at, deep grooves or no chain roller at all can indicate excessive weight on the quad or damage caused to the chain if the roller isn’t there.
Look for any play in the tie rod ends and or steering stem bushes. To do this, stand the Quad bike on the ground, and move the handlebars back and forth.
Raise the quad bike where possible enabling you to check the undercarriage for any signs of damage like dents or cracks. Then, inspect the bike frame, particularly the shock mounts, A-arm mounts, and joints of frame components. These parts should not be rusted or bent, if they are it could result in welding and repainting being required in the future.
Remove the seat and take off the air box cover. Check the air intake area after removing the air filter. An air box often collects water, dirt, and debris, and its never a good sign if these items are present as it can also mean that the impurities and foreign particles have been sucked into the engine via the intake and may have caused damaged to the engine.
Turn on the engine and let it run, listen out for any tapping, or noises that don’t sound like they should be there. Rev the throttle and listen for any popping and banging, let the throttle off and make sure it continues to run rather than cut out. Check the engine shut off switch, key switch, and all head lights and tail lights. Also check if the engine suffers from any oil or water leaks, because this could make for a costly repair in future. If the bike has a radiator, check that as well for any leakages.
Inspect the hand, foot, and parking brakes to see if they operate smoothly. Watch out for damaged or cracked cables.
Look for worn out tyres or tyres full of plugs. This might not be a big problem but it could be valid point for you to raise while negotiating the price.
If everything looks fine, it's advisable that you do a test drive prior to making your final decision.