Canada's Guide to Buying a Quad or Side by Side in the Winter

Winter in Canada is a time of contrasts - it brings snowy landscapes for thrilling adventures but also comes with some unique challenges. If you're considering purchasing a quad or side by side during this time, our guide will help you navigate the pros and cons so you can make an informative decision. The used ATV market in Canada experiences some fascinating dynamics during the winter season, with great pricing, increased selection, and key considerations to keep in mind when buying a rig during the snowy months.



Winter Pricing Explored

The winter season offers a mixed bag of pros and cons for prospective quad and side by side buyers in Canada. On the positive side, as temperatures drop, the prices tend to follow suit, making it an ideal time to snag a great deal on a new or used ATV. However, the downside is that while winter pricing may be enticing, it may also indicate that some sellers are looking to offload vehicles that have seen better days before having to perform their annual maintenance prior to storing their rigs. A careful assessment of the ATV's condition is crucial before making a purchase. We recommend having a professional weigh in on condition, whether it be a mechanically inclined friend or a certified ATV repair shop.

The Winter Selection Spectrum

One of the most significant advantages of shopping for a used quad or side by side in the winter is the broad spectrum of options available. As the riding season draws to a close, many ATV owners prefer not to store their rigs, leading to a surplus of choices in the market. This increased selection is undoubtedly a pro, as buyers have a higher chance of finding the perfect ride that suits their needs. The con is that the lower demand during this time may result in less motivated sellers, making negotiations and purchase incentives less common. In addition, sellers may not be as flexible for viewings as they typically will have their units in storage.

If you're looking for a more stable option, a trusted ATV dealer might be the direction to consider. They will likely have a better picture of maintenance on their rigs and will also likely be motivated to sell as the following season will bring in newer models. You might even be able to snag a brand new rig at a clearout price, if you're lucky. The downside of going with a dealer is, while the prices are reduced, they will still likely be inflated compared to the private market. This extra cost does come with some added peace of mind, however, in that a reputable dealer is less likely to sell you a known lemon.

Two quads on an ice field in the winter

Winter Storage and Maintenance

If you're moving ahead on a purchase, it is important to maintain your newly acquired ATV throughout the winter with proper storage and equipment at the ready. Investing in a dedicated storage solution or heated enclosure can protect your ATV from the harsh elements will ultimately extend its lifespan. You'll definitely want to ensure that your battery is properly maintained during this time as well. If you're planning on exploring the winter landscapes, you'll want to consider having to perform cold-weather oil changes and additional seasonal expenses such as purchasing snow-specific tires or a set of snow tracks. Operating your machine in the winter can lead to unexpected costs which should be well planned for, especially in the harshest of conditions.

Tips & Tricks to Picking the Best Rig for You

While we have gone over the pros and cons in detail, we want to provide some bulletpoint tips and tricks to ensure you get the best deal and find the best fit for you. Here are some hacks to consider:

  • Don't just inspect the rig, inspect the owner. One of our favorite things about buying a machine in the winter is that you get a keen idea on how the current owner cares for it. If you show up for a viewing during the snow season and it is being stored outside, with a layer of snow that has been just swept off - you have grounds for concern. On the other end, if you show up and the battery is on a tender and the rig is kept in a heated shed or garage, you're probably on the right track.
  • Look for signs of winter maintenance. Most owners who care for their machines will ensure that it gets its end-of-season treatment before being stored. While not necessarily the tell-all, the easiest indicator of this is the oil. If the oil is still dirty from a season of use, the seller may be trying to cheap out on costs with a sale which may indicate the owners care for overall maintenance. The best sellers will always look to show their machine in the best light.
  • Don't be afraid to make an offer. As noted above, sellers who have their machines listed are motivated to move them or they wouldn't waste their time. As also indicated, demand during this season is low. Therefore, as an interested buyer, you have the power to make an offer and see how motivated the seller truly is. Don't be afraid to start low and meet in the middle to where you actually are hoping to end up.
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Buying a quad or side by side in Canada during the winter presents a mix of advantages and challenges that riders must carefully consider. The seasonal pricing and increased selection can make the winter season an excellent time to make a purchase. However, potential cons, including hidden maintenance issues and the costs of storage and upgrades, should not be overlooked. By considering both the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision on whether shopping for a machine during the snow season is right for you.


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