Anyone who’s ridden an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) knows that there’s nothing like tearing through trails on a quad. But if you don’t have the cash lying around to buy a new 4X4, you’re going to need help with financing.
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ATV loans work a couple of different ways: you can use either a secured or an unsecured loan to finance your off-road vehicle, or you can pay for it with a manufacturer credit card.
Secured loan. A term loan that uses your vehicle as collateral, which you pay off over one and five years.
Unsecured loan. A term loan with one to five-year terms that doesn’t require collateral. You’ll need stronger credit to qualify than a secured loan but don’t risk losing your car.
Manufacturer credit cards. Some vehicle manufacturers offer credit cards, often with a promotional 0% APR for the first six months.
Compare providers for ATV loans
Representative example: Jayden buys a new ATV
Jayden, a resident of Ontario, wants to buy an ATV for summer vacation. After doing some research, he heads to a nearby dealership, where he finds a 2020 Kawasaki Brute Force 300 priced at $4,300.00. Jayden makes a 10% down payment of $430.00 and heads to his local bank to get an auto loan to cover the remaining $3,870.00 + $559.00 HST on the purchase price. Because Jayden has a solid credit history, he is approved for a $4,429.00 auto loan with competitive terms.
Cost of new car
Auto loan (term loan)
Interest rate (APR)
4.00% origination fee ($177.16)
$132.54 monthly or $61.11 biweekly
Total loan cost
$4,771.44 with monthly payments or $4,766.58 with biweekly payments
*The information in this example, including rates, fees and terms, is provided as a representative transaction. The actual cost of the product may vary depending on the retailer, the product specs and other factors.
Where can I get financing for an ATV?
There are two primary places you can go for financing for a powersport vehicle: a dealership that will give you a car/vehicle loan or a lender that will give you a personal loan. Let’s take a look at how those two options compare.
Getting financing directly from your ATV dealer or manufacturer is a popular way to pay for a new vehicle. In this case, you’re required to use your vehicle as collateral.
Some dealers offer financing directly from the manufacturer, which allows them to offer promotions like cash-back rebates or 0% interest for anywhere between six months to a year on credit cards (these are often strategies for moving some of the less-popular models).
Many dealers offer financing through a third-party lender — like a bank or a credit union. These can sometimes be less costly than manufacturer financing, but you might have a difficult time qualifying for a competitive loan if you don’t have excellent credit.
Some offer “buy here pay here” options for bad-credit borrowers, which don’t involve a credit check but can come with higher rates and hidden fees or other burdensome terms.
Don’t want to risk losing your vehicle? Taking out an unsecured personal loan is another option. You can apply for these types of loans online or through your local bank or credit union. Online lenders tend to get you your funds faster and don’t have strict credit requirements like many banks.
While some lenders have restrictions on how you can use your funds, most don’t have any policies about recreational vehicles. As with dealership financing, you’ll need good or excellent credit and a steady income to get approved for the most competitive rates and higher amounts.
Some personal auto loan providers also offer ATV financing, which works more like borrowing from a dealership. Here, you’ll need to know the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the estimated cost of buying it. Personal loans tend to be secured.
ATV financing calculator
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Before you buy a new ATV, consider whether you actually want a new or used vehicle. New ATVs can be more expensive, but don’t require as much upkeep in the beginning. They can come with lower APRs when you finance, and you don’t have to risk coming across hidden damaged parts that could cost you money to fix. However, if you damage a new ATV, repairs could be expensive due to the vehicle’s higher value.
Used ATVs are generally much cheaper. Rather than paying thousands of dollars, it’s possible to find used ATVs for less than $300. While interest rates on a used ATV loan might be higher, you’ll likely still end up paying less for the vehicle — or you might not even need to get a loan to cover the purchase cost.
This means that if you damage your vehicle, it’s less of a big deal. It could also be a good option for first-timers who don’t know how much they’re actually going to use their ATV. But there’s a chance that with an older vehicle, you’ll need to replace some parts and spend some serious time in the garage.
The easiest way to compare the cost of an ATV loan is to look at the APR (Annual Percentage Rate), which is expressed as a percentage and represents the interest and fees that you would pay on the loan over one year.
In March 2019, Honda – one of Canada’s top ATV manufacturers – was offering financing starting at 5.49% APR for a 60 month loan term. At the same time, Polaris, another popular Canadian brand, was offering financing for as low as 3.99% APR for a 60 month loan term.
Rates can vary depending on a number of factors like how much you want to borrow, your credit score, your income and your current debt load. Typically, the higher your credit score and the lower your debt-to-income ratio, the more of a competitive loan you’ll qualify for.
How to compare ATV loans
There are four main factors you should consider when comparing ATV loans: eligibility, APR, term length and loan amounts. With in-house financing, most dealerships work with multiple lenders and have options for all types of credit from below average to excellent. They’ll finance the total cost of your vehicle, so you’ll have to compare APRs and the length of the loan terms to determine your best deal.
Most in-house ATV loans come with 36-60+ month terms. Unsecured personal loans often come with a wider range of terms from 12 to 72 months.
A longer term can give you lower monthly repayments, but you’ll end up paying more in interest in the long run. A shorter term might save you on your total loan cost, but it’ll up your monthly repayments. To get the best of both worlds, use our calculator to find the shortest term length you can afford.
4 tips for comparing ATV loans
Make sure you’re eligible first. While many dealers have options for all credit types, there’s a chance your credit score or income may not fit within any available options. Ask about eligibility requirements before anything else so that you don’t waste your time.
Get quotes. Many manufacturers only advertise the lowest possible rate on their websites, which only the most creditworthy borrowers can actually qualify for. But many manufacturers and online lenders allow you to apply for pre-qualification to get an estimate of the rates and loan amounts you can expect with no effect on your credit score.
Compare APRs with the same term lengths. The longer your loan term, the more you pay in interest. That 3.9% APR might not be as much of a savings as you thought if it comes with a longer term than loans with higher APRs but shorter terms.
Ask questions. Personal loans aren’t as regulated as, say credit cards, so you might not be able to find all of the information on the loan online. Go directly to the source if you have any questions by calling customer service, shooting an email or using the live chat feature on the lender’s website to get answers to any areas that are unclear.
Want to make sure your lender is legit? Watch out for these red flags when looking for ATV financing:
Guarantees. No lender can guarantee that you’ll get approved for a loan. If you come across one that does, there’s a chance it’s a scam.
No credit check loans. Often these loans come with even higher rates than you would get if you had simply allowed your lender to conduct a credit check.
Upfront payments. Any lender asking for money before you get your funds could be running a scam, especially if they’re in the form of gift cards or money orders.
The good news is that many dealers do not require a down payment, even if you have bad credit.
ATV loan rates by credit score
A lot of factors go into the types of rates and terms you might qualify for, though your credit score is typically the most important. Say you decide to buy a $10,000 ATV financed over 36 months (3 years). The table below shows possible APRs you might be charged, your total monthly payments, and the amount of interest that you’ll pay on the entire loan, given various credit score ranges.
You can see that your credit score plays a big part in determining your monthly payments and how much money you end up throwing down the bottomless pit of interest. If you have poor credit (500-589), you will be spending a lot more to finance your ATV. However, improving your credit score would save you a lot of money.
Lower credit can also affect which loan terms you qualify for. Generally, you’ll need to have at least good credit to qualify for longer terms. Fair and poor credit applicants can sometimes find long-term options, but with high interest rates that can make the loan incredibly expensive if you don’t pay it off early.
Can I get an ATV loan with bad credit?
You can, but it won’t be cheap. That’s because lenders typically consider customers with bad credit to be high-risk borrowers. Some have credit cut-offs, meaning that you won’t be able to qualify if your score is below a certain point. If you do qualify, expect a rate of around 15% or higher.
If you’ve had trouble getting approved in the past, it might be tempting to go with a lender that offers personal loans with no credit check. However, these can be highly expensive loans at best, and sometimes, they can turn out to be scams.
3 common types of ATVs
Sports ATV. These quads are designed for fun. They’re faster, lighter and can absorb shock better than other types of ATVs. They’re also typically less expensive.
Utility ATV. When you’re hauling cargo through rough terrain, a utility ATV is what you’re looking for. It can handle a heavier load and is typically more stable than a sports ATV.
Side-by-side. Also known as SxS or UTV (Utility Vehicle), these vehicles let you bring another person or carry a heavier load than a utility ATV.
Between in-house financing and personal loans, you’ve got lots of options to choose from when it comes to paying for a new or used ATV. Dealership financing might be easier, but you have less options to explore — and you can often find more competitive rates elsewhere. Get started on your search by checking out our personal loans guide to learn more about how they work and compare lenders.
Frequently asked questions
It’s possible. But rather than looking into loans that don’t require a credit check, you might want to apply with a cosigner. Some in-house financing options like Roadrunner allow you to apply with a cosigner. You might also want to check out your cosigner-friendly personal loan options.
You can. ATV wheels can set you back several hundred dollars a piece, which really adds up! You can typically get financing either through the manufacturer or by taking out a personal loan.
MSRP stands for manufacturer’s suggested retail price. You probably saw MSRP when checking out models on a manufacturer’s site. It means that dealerships might charge a different price for the model, though you can expect it to stay around the manufacturer’s price range.
ATV loan terms are often 2-5 years (24-60 months), but some dealers offer financing for longer terms. It is also possible to pay off the loan in less than 2 years. Check to make sure your lender won’t charge you any extra fees for paying off the loan early.
Some loan options (for instance, loans with longer terms or lower interest rates) may only be offered to people who meet certain eligibility criteria, such as a minimum credit score. Check your eligibility before applying to any loans. It’s always helpful to speak to an advisor from your lending institution first in order to find out which loan options are available to you.
Stacie Hurst is an editor at Finder, specializing in loans, banking products and money transfers. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Writing, and she completed one year of law school in the United States before deciding to pursue a career in the publishing industry. When not working, she can usually be found messing around with games, photography or floral arrangements in memory of her former days as a flower shop assistant.
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