When you are looking into buying a new or used ATV, you need to know what the mileage and hour count means for the vehicle in question. Even when you buy a brand new ATV, it is useful to know what mileage and hour amounts mean as they use their ATVs for many years to come. So, what are considered high mileage hours for an ATV?

10,000 miles or more is considered high mileage for ATVs. If an ATV has a high mile count, the previous owner likely rode it hard, while an ATV with a low mile count and high hour amount indicates a previous casual rider. A good miles-to-hour ratio for ATVs is 15 miles to 1 hour.

Keep reading to learn more about the mileage and hours of ATVs.

What is Considered High Mileage for an ATV?

High mileage for the average ATV is usually any number higher than 5,000 miles. Opinions vary on if this amount is high, however, and there are circumstances where ATVs with higher mileage counts are more reliable than ATVs that have low mileage amounts! This is the case because the amount of maintenance and the riding style of the previous owner or model of the ATV in question affect the longevity of the ATV.

The overall best way to figure out the value of an ATV beyond its mileage count is to do a lot of research and request to test ride the vehicle.

It’s important to note that when purchasing a second-hand ATV, the mileage count should be given extra attention. A lower mileage number may indicate that the vehicle has undergone significant wear and tear. For example, an ATV that has been used in several competitions and driven through muddy terrains may be considered as having high mileage (or the equivalent of high mileage) even if it only has 2,000 miles on it. This is due to the harsh conditions it has been driven through, which naturally put more wear and tear on the components that keep the ATV running.

In these situations, double-check that the previous owner has cleaned the ATV well so that no mud has gotten trapped under the frame! Mud can severely damage an ATV’s engine if it gets deep enough into it and is left on or in the ATV for long periods of time.

If the secondhand or used ATV has been ridden casually and has had preventative maintenance performed regularly, the vehicle will be in good shape despite thousands of miles of use.

When all is said and done, an ATV with more than 7,500 miles on it will likely not be worth purchasing, as it will likely be prone to mechanical issues and have a lot of wear and tear on it. If the vehicle hasn’t been well-maintained, this may not be a wise investment! The average lifespan of a newly purchased ATV is between 10,000 and 12,000 miles, so keep this statistic in mind while shopping. If the previous owner consistently drove their ATV at higher speeds, the vehicle will likely be at around 6,000 miles of use.

How High Mileage is Racked Up

Riders who do a lot of road riding may drive up the mileage count on their ATVs without causing severe damage. The ATV may be negatively impacted if the rider takes it on a sloppy, deep track that gets flooded often. An ATV that is put through difficult circumstances like that will likely need considerable repairs or work done after only being ridden for about 50 miles.

What is Considered High Hours for ATVs?

For most ATVs, 200 hours of use is not very high. If the vehicle has been used for around 200 hours and was previously owned by a rider who was a casual driver that didn’t have a “need for speed,” it will likely be dependable and hold up for a considerable amount of time.

Remember that some ATV models do not have odometers built into them, and the only information that can inform you about the current wear and tear level on the ATV may be the hours of use. In these cases, a shopper will need to use the information that the owner or seller provides to make a decision about whether or not the ATV is worth purchasing.

How Mileage and Hours Go Together

Some may wonder how ATV mileage and ATV hour counts affect each other. Their combinations mean different things for individual ATVs (some ATVs are intended for use in competition, while some are meant to be work vehicles), but in general, if a machine has a low hour count and high mileage, the last owner likely rode it very hard. With high mileage and low hours, the previous owner likely drove fast, something that is common to do in dunes, which can be fine but may damage the vehicle if the speeds are taken to the extreme and the vehicle isn’t well cared for.

If the ATV has high hours but low mileage, the last owner was more than likely a casual and easy rider. If an ATV has low mileage and high hours, the owner likely did a lot of trail riding and may have used the ATV for hunting. They may have even used the vehicle for snow plowing depending on if they live in a place that gets a considerable amount of snowfall. It is better to try to get a new or used ATV with high hours and low mileage if possible, but even this ratio can not ensure that an ATV is in good condition in and of itself!

Average Lifespan of ATVs

Every ATV is unique and has a varied lifespan. The number of good years of use from an ATV will depend on where the rider rides their ATV, the level of care they give it, and how they ride the ATV. The amount of maintenance done on the ATV and where it was driven will also affect its lifespan. More frequent maintenance done earlier rather than later (especially when it comes to oil changes) will increase the effective lifespan of a quality ATV.

The model, brand, and newness of the ATV vehicle also affect the mileage and hour count on an ATV, but most ATVs that have a low mileage and hour count will last for around 10 years from the time they are first used if they are well maintained.

How to Stretch the Longevity of ATVs

Riders can take care of their ATVs by driving them on well-maintained roads, researching and buying a decent brand and model of ATVs, and making sure to top off fluids and refill the oil as online ATV service strategies recommend. People who buy used or second-hand ATVs should remember that age may not be a very accurate indicator of how long the vehicle will last. They also don’t know how well or poorly the previous owner rode it.

However, by inspecting the vehicle’s boots and bearings, a mechanic or seasoned ATV user can determine roughly how much off-roading the ATV has been through. Look out for corrosion on the ATV’s structure and underneath the plastic to prevent framework corrosion. If the ATV was well looked after and frequently serviced, it will likely last over 10 years with proper care and maintenance!

How to Check Over a Used or Secondhand ATV

If the mileage or hours on a used ATV are not available or seem to be untruthful, try checking it over by following a few simple steps to determine the general safety and life left in the vehicle.

First, jack the ATV up above the ground and check the wheel bearings by wiggling the tire from side to side. If there is a lot of give, this indicates the bearings are bad and likely need to be repaired. Then, check that the CV boots are not torn or worn out. Next, check the vehicle frame for cracks, as cracks indicate that the ATV has been damaged after hitting things or rolling in the past.

After this, check the vehicle for signs of rust and listen to the engine to make sure the throttle responds instantly. If the engine doesn’t respond right away or produces a knocking sound, the engine is likely bogged down or something else is not right.

Lastly, check out how well the ATV starts up. When the ATV is fuel-injected, it should have no problem starting up, but if it is a carbureted engine, it should start after you choke it. If the ATV is slow to start, the battery could have an issue or the starter could be going out. If the engine turns over but doesn’t start with ease, there are underlying problems that need to be investigated and fixed. This means you likely won’t want to buy it.

Tables for Analytics on Mileage and Hours

Below is some very useful data that can help you determine the expected lifespan and amount of wear and tear on ATVs with varying hour counts and miles.

Mileage and Hour Amounts on Average ATVs and Corresponding Use Level

Use LevelHard-Ridden ATVsCasually-Ridden ATVsPrices for Similar Models at Each Use Level
“Light Use”0-800 miles1,000 miles or less$8,299
“Medium Use”800-2,500 miles2,000-7,500 miles$6,999
“Heavy Use”2,500-3,000 miles7,500 miles and higher$4,799

Ideal Amount of Miles on an ATV

The amount of miles that is ideal for an ATV is going to be dependent on several different variables. These are the location where you are getting the ATV from and how old the ATV is. In some places, people use their ATVs as their main form of transportation. In these cases, the ATV can easily rack up between 7,000 and 10,000 miles each year.

For ATVs that aren’t used as frequently, a good baseline for the number of miles will be about 800 miles per year.

Average Hour-To-Mile-Ratio for ATVs

The average hour-to-mile ratio for different ATV makes and models varies greatly, with some models having lower ratios. For example, the Honda Rancher has a ratio of only 2.4:1, which is quite low. The Can-Am Renegade has a ratio of 23.8:1, which is quite high. What these ratios are really saying is that the Can-AM Renegade is around 10 times faster than the Honda Rancher.

While it isn’t the easiest to find out the exact ratio of hours to miles ratio unless you know the specific speed that the ATV was going, you should expect the average ratio to be between 10 (10:1) and 15 miles per hour (15:1). Since different ATVs have different uses, their ratio will also be different. So, depending on the type of ATV, their hour-to-mile ratio should be around the following.

  • Mostly Utility Work: 2.5:1 to 5:1
  • Mixed-Use: 5:1 to 15:1
  • Mostly trail riding or racing: 20:1 or more

Having an incredibly high ratio might not necessarily be good because it could mean the ATV was used for snowplowing or carrying heavy cargo. ATV modifications can decrease the lifespan of an ATV no matter how cool they might look or how useful they might be. Ultimately, while it is good to find a great hours-to-mile ratio for an ATV (which is calculated you divide the number of total miles by the number of engine hours), there are other factors that influence the value of the vehicle.

ATV Part Lifespan

While considering the mileage and hours of an ATV as a whole is helpful, it doesn’t necessarily show the entire picture. Part of the process of determining whether or not to buy a used ATV should include a consideration of what parts are going to need replacement in the near future, and just how expensive it will be to replace those parts. Certain parts of an ATV wear out more quickly than others.

The lifespan of ATV parts can be lower or higher depending on several factors, including the brand, model, maintenance, and usage patterns. ATV parts begin to experience wear the moment it is first turned on, and again, pushing ATVs to their limit will usually put a higher amount of wear on certain components.

Typically, critical components like engine parts, suspension, and transmission may start showing signs of wear between 1,500 to 3,000 miles (2,400 to 4,800 kilometers) of riding. In terms of operating hours, it is not uncommon for some parts to require replacement after 500 to 1,000 hours of use, which means that even relatively lightly-used ATVs may require costly repairs soon after purchase.

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