How Do I Finance an ATV or SxS?

Derrek Sigler
by Derrek Sigler

ATVs and side-by-sides (SxS) are great tools for enjoying your off-road recreation and are pretty handy for working, playing, and other tasks. They also represent a significant investment and that usually means financing is involved. It is part of life these days that we have to make payments for most major purchases, but is getting a loan on an ATV or SxS the same as financing a car, truck or other form of transportation? The simple answer is both yes and no. If you are wondering, “How do I finance an ATV or SxS,” let’s walk through the process. Trust us; it’s not that bad. thanks Yamaha for sponsoring this New Rider series.

Going Local

Once you have decided upon which machine you want, most dealerships will tell you the same thing we’re about to say - check with your bank first. If you’ve been banking with a particular institution for some time, your rates and approval chances are likely going to be better with them. Now, this isn’t always going to be the case, but it is a good first step. Plus, if you are buying a used machine from a private seller, this is the best way to go about getting financed.

Local banks and credit unions will likely have different interest rates for ATV and SxS purchases than they do for cars and trucks. But it is a competitive space right now, so local banks are trying to compete with online lenders and the interest rates have been coming down, on average. Plus, if you’ve established a credit history with a local bank, you may get even better rates. For example, our local credit union offers an interest rate for a titled recreation vehicle, including ATVs, SxS, boats and RVs, that is a full percentage point LOWER than an auto loan rate, and with a longer term, meaning smaller payment options. It pays to shop around!

An added bonus is that you can then walk into your dealership with a pre-approved loan in hand. This gives you additional buying power for things like negotiating the inclusion of helmets into the deal - and we ALWAYS suggest you wear a helmet in any off-road vehicle.

Online Lending

Yes, there are legitimate online lenders for financing an ATV or SxS purchase. Do your research and go through all of the fine print before you apply. Some ATV manufacturers have partnered with online lenders to offer better rates for specific machine models, too, so that is something to consider.

Again, this is similar to going with your own bank in that you can walk into the dealership with a pre-approved loan in hand. This again will give you that buying power. The only things to check on again before you apply are to make sure that the dealership works with the online lender you are looking at, as not all dealerships will accept every online lender financing. You should also check with the dealership to see if they have a lending source that offers a better rate.

Interest Rates

Most ATV and SxS loans work very similar to an auto loan. You will often see an interest rate when financing an ATV or SxS as a percentage like 10% APR. The “APR” stands for Annual Performance Rate, which adds any finance fees into the loan rate. What that means for you is that the interest you pay on the loan gets paid to the lender as a fee for giving you the loan, and the interest is paid before the principle. For example, if you have a 10% rate on a $10,000 loan, the bank makes $1,000 on that loan regardless, but that amount increases over the length of the loan for every year that the loan is outstanding. With some ATV and SxS financing having slightly higher interest rates than auto loans, it makes it more important for you to pay on time, and if possible, pay extra on the loan payment each month to help lower the overall cost of buying the machine.

Poor Credit

A lot of people have taken hits to their credit ratings, and while this can affect your ability to purchase an ATV or SxS, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get financing. There are some lenders that will allow you to get a loan for an ATV or SxS even with a low credit score, but know going in that you will likely pay significantly higher interest, and you may be required to put down a more substantial down payment. We can’t make the decision for you to determine if this is a good plan, so take a serious look at your options before making a decision.

With the costs of buying a new or even used ATV or SxS going up, it makes sense to finance an ATV or SxS purchase. Do your homework and decide what you can afford, and then shop around for the best rates. A better rate saves you money in the long run and gives you more money to spend on important things - like gas! Check with your local bank and dealerships for more details.

Check out the New Riders Hub for more articles geared towards new off-road enthusiasts.

Derrek Sigler
Derrek Sigler

Derrek's love for all things ATV started when he was a mere 11 years old, growing up on his family farm. His mom gave him and his sister a choice - get a horse, or a three-wheeler. The sister wanted the horse, and Derrek wanted the ATV. Luckily he won out, and was soon burning up the trails on a Yamaha Tri-Moto 200. By the time he was 14, he had saved enough of his own money by working on the farm and in his folks restaurant to buy a new 4-wheeler. That happened the day he and his mom were driving past the dealership and saw 1987 Banshee. His mom had no idea what he was buying, and he never looked back. He's been riding ever since, and been writing professionally for many years. He has ridden all over North America and been behind the controls of just about every machine out there. And yes, he still has his 1987 Yamaha Banshee.

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