Complete Guide to Buying a Side-by-Side (With 17 Mistakes to Avoid)

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Side-by-Sides are growing in popularity within the off-roading community. A place that once was dominated by dirt bikes and ATVs, is now making way for some powerful, fun, exotic, and amazing new vehicles.

These vehicles are making their way not only into trail riding, dune-jumping, rock-crawling, and mudding circles, but also into everyday work life on farms, ranches, and other tough job sites.

These versatile and hard-working machines go by many different names such as side-by-sides (SXS’s), UTVs, recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), Multipurpose off-highway vehicles (MOHVs), All-Purpose vehicles (APVs), or Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs), whatever the acronym though they are all the same type of vehicle.

They typically consist of four to six wheels and have one to six seats depending upon the model. They also are usually AWD or 4WD, although there are certain models that only have 2WD drivetrains.

Regardless of the number of passengers or drivetrain of the vehicle though, these side-by-sides are popping up everywhere and it seems that more and more people are seeking them out for themselves.

So with that increase in popularity people are wanting to know how to find them, and more importantly, what they need to know in order to buy the perfect side-by-side for themselves or their family.

If that is what you are looking for then this article will hopefully help you with your buying journey.

In it, I will discuss various things you should know about buying a vehicle, more importantly, 17 mistakes you should avoid when purchasing a side-by-side. So let us start off with the first thing you should understand when purchasing any type of vehicle and that is, knowing what you want.

1. What Do You Want in a UTV?

I love vehicles. I am a huge car fanatic, as well as a fanatic of side-by-sides and really anything with an engine. I will sit and look at car videos all day, watching engine rebuilds, projects other people working on, and everything else.

So it is easy for a guy like me to go into a dealership or buy privately and know exactly what I want. However a lot of people are not like that, and that is okay.

The factor remains though that when you are buying a side-by-side or any other type of vehicle, you ought to know what you want.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying a vehicle is not having a detailed list of what you want out of a vehicle and why.

You would not believe how many people I talk to that just do not have a clue.

People will say “Matt, I want to buy a side-by-side or a car, what should I get?” I simply respond with “well what do you want?” Typically I get answers such as something practical, fun, fast, or durable.

Well, great those four descriptions fit just about every side-by-side currently on the market. So the real kicker is really defining your wants, as well as what the vehicle will be most utilized for.

If you are getting a side-by-side just for yourself, and no one else you might want to look at single-seater side-by-sides like the Polaris Ace.

Or if you want a side-by-side to accommodate more than yourself and someone else, you would want to look into four-person side-by-sides or even six-seater vehicles.

Do you need something with lots of power, torque, and tuned suspension, or is an environmentally friendly electric model a potential option for you?

Another thing to consider when buying a side-by-side is what is the vehicle going to be used for primarily? Are you getting a side-by-side to do hard work around the farm, like towing and hauling various items?

Or are you planning on having a bit more fun with your vehicle and want the side-by-side to be more capable on the trails, the mountains, in the mud and water, or racing around the sand dunes.

Knowing what the side-by-side will be used for and especially the type of terrain that it will be facing most often are all options to consider and have planned out before buying any side-by-sides. There are specific options for many of those different circumstances.

So needless to say, you should not enter into any type of purchasing scenario without previously having given more than a passing thought about what you are buying, how it will be utilized, and why you are purchasing it in the first place.

Once you have sat down and really thought out the varying criteria for what and why, you ought to now shift your thought to the next phase of purchasing a vehicle and that is, how much can I spend, and how much am I willing to spend?

2. Establish A Budget for a Side-by-Side

Be sure to avoid going into a big purchase such as this without having a planned budget.

Before you ever purchase any big-ticket item such as a home, a car, a boat, and yes, even a side-by-side it is important to know how much you can spend and how much you are willing to spend on that specific item.

Unfortunately, thanks to this the growing millennial-age fad called “immediate gratification” people can’t seem to wrap their minds around waiting a little bit for something good to come their way.

People tend to jump into potentially risky financial decisions by taking out loans with sky-high interest rates, or even start borrowing money from friends and family, putting personal relationships at risk.

They do all of this just so they can have exactly what they wanted, exactly when they wanted it, when in fact there is a better way to go about acquiring that thing without going into debt.

Now I know this is perhaps the last thing that people want to have to think about when buying something but it is necessary to create a budget.

People hear the word “budget” and they have a heart attack because how on earth could they ever create something so intricate and complex? After all, they are not accountants or finance majors and they have no experience in budgeting or even creating a budget for that matter.

That is just the thing right there though, creating a budget really is not all that hard. You do not need to be an accountant or have your CPA to create a simple budget that works for you.

There are a lot of various books that you can read up on to get a better more in-depth knowledge of finance, and budgeting.

If you do not have the time or don’t care enough to read books, there are also various videos online that can teach you how to create a simple budget using programs such as excel like this one here.

There are also videos with people like Dave Ramsey who help explain why budgeting is important and how you can start a simple written budget if you do not want to go through the hassle of using a computer.

Regardless of how you create your budget, the important part is that you create one.

Know where your money is currently going, how much extra you have to spend, and how long you may need to save in order to get the side-by-side you want, perhaps not when you want it, but in a way that will allow you to be more financially free.

3. Things to Check Before Buying a UTV

Avoid just buying a vehicle because it looks good and the seller makes it sound cool and affordable.

Once you’ve determined what you want, why you want it, and have made a simple budget letting you see how much you could potentially spend on the side-by-side itself, you will want to check some things on the vehicle before you buy it.

This goes for all vehicles that you are looking at buying. You really will not have to worry about checking most of these things if you are buying a brand new side-by-side at a dealership.

However, if you are buying a used side-by-side from a private seller, or even if you are purchasing a side-by-side that is a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealership you should be sure to check over these various attributes of the vehicle.

  • Brakes
  • Oil
  • Drive Line
  • Coolant
  • Gasoline
  • Drive Line
  • Frame
  • Aftermarket Parts
  • Tires

Check the Brakes: Brakes are a key component to any side-by-side, especially if you like being safe and being able to stop the vehicle. If you can check to make sure that the brake calipers are in good condition and good brake pads are attached properly.

You can really only feel if the brakes are performing properly if you drive the vehicle which is why you should be sure to test drive the vehicle.

Oil Check: This will be a key aspect to knowing whether or not the vehicle has been well maintained or not. Take out the dipstick and take a look at the oil. See if the oil level is at a good level or if it is low and needs to be added.

Also be sure to inspect the quality of the oil, if the oil smells bad and is jet black then that is usually a sign of old oil that would need to be changed.

Look at the oil filter as well and see if it is old or not. Doing this will give you a good sense of whether or not the vehicle was well maintained or not. If the oil smells bad and is old that could lead to serious engine issues such as seizing the engine so oil is very important to the vehicle.

Drive Line Check: Most side-by-sides are 4×4 vehicles and have axles and CV boots that are attached to the axle help the drive shaft transmit power.

If these axels are cracked or the CV boots warped then that means that the vehicle was probably ridden pretty hard and you will have suspension problems and they will need to be replaced.

If the vehicle has been lifted and still has on the stock driveline, then you will want to replace that with aftermarket parts that can handle the added stress.

Coolant: Be sure to check the coolant as well. Coolant is a mixture of distilled water and alcohol that helps ensure the engine stays cool by absorbing the heat the engine produces.

If the coolant looks any color other than green or orange that is a sign something is wrong. Also if there is tap water being used instead of distilled water that can cause corrosion in the engine if it is aluminum.

Gasoline: This typically will not be a problem unless the vehicle has been sitting for a long time, however, it is always good to check. Smell the gas in the gas tank to see if it smells bad or not.

If it does smell bad, then that could lead to carburetor overhauls or fuel injection issues, they are not too hard to fix, I put new fuel injectors in my car the other day, however, if you need to flush out the system then it can get tricky.

If this is the case, be sure to get the seller to lower his price because you’ll have to do maintenance either way.

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Check the Frame: Be sure to look over the frame of the vehicle for any cracks, breaks, bends, or dents. If the vehicle has been in a wreck people tend to cover it up with fresh paint and body panels, however, the frame will tell the true tale.

If it does have issues then walk away, these problems are typically harder to take care of and if you don’t want to do a total rehaul on your vehicle there is no point in buying it in a broken condition like that.

Be sure to look at the shocks, if there is a lot of rust around it that is a sign the vehicle was ridden hard and not well maintained.

Aftermarket Parts: Be careful when looking at a side-by-side that has a lot of aftermarket parts. You never really know what the owner may have done to the vehicle.

Some people may have installed the aftermarket parts themselves and could have done it incorrectly and so forth. You should also be knowledgable about what those parts are and exactly how much they are worth so as to not get scammed by the seller.

It doesn’t need to be a complete turn off to buy a side-by-side with aftermarket parts attached you will just have to be a bit more careful and fully inspect the vehicle to ensure everything is on properly and professionally and won’t cause any problems in the future.

Tires: Check the tires and make sure they still have tread. You can typically get a lower price for a vehicle if the tires are worn, you will just want to replace them rather quickly yourself later on.

4. Bring/Know A Mechanic to Buy a UTV

This is a tip that I have learned after a long line of experiences with vehicles. The thing I have learned repeatedly is that I do not know everything.

I know a lot but there is always someone else that will know more and so that is why I think it is important to know a mechanic.

If you are not the most mechanically savvy person, then it would be best to bring a mechanic along with you when you look at and test drive the vehicle.

If you cannot bring one at least know the one that you could call so that you can ask any mechanical related questions. That way you can get a better impression of the vehicle that you are looking at buying and know whether or not this is the right side-by-side for you.

5. Look at Various Places to Shop

Never buy the first side-by-side you see and do your best to not limit yourself in where you are able to buy the vehicle. Sometimes the local “deals” are not always the best deals around.

Be sure to diversify where you shop as it will yield the best results in getting a good deal on whatever side-by-side you are looking for.

You can go to different dealerships or take a trip to the next closest city if you need to, just try not to limit yourself to your own 10-mile radius of your house.

There are plenty of ways to widen your search range and shop around, especially in this day and age with all of the technology and social media that we have literally at our fingertips.

Here are a few ways you can look at what is in your own area as well as the surrounding area.

Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace is a great tool at seeing what is being sold around where you live. I personally have found it a great tool, having bought a project car recently from someone who had it listed there.

It is a feature that you can utilize through Facebook so long as you have an account set up with them. You can make a broad general search, or you can make it more specific utilizing the filter feature that the lets you set a min/max price, as well as models, makes, and years for vehicles.

The app will typically search for items using your location and search within a 40-mile radius but you can make that radius either larger or smaller depending upon your personal preference.

You can even save listings and have notifications be sent to your phone if there is a price drop or information change such as whether or not the item has been sold.

If you find an item that you like then you can check it out, read the description of the item, and even message the seller right away through the facebook messenger app.

Craigslist: Craigslist is another website you can use, and there is now an app called Craigslist Plus, that makes for easier navigation of the site.

Craigslist has been around for quite a while and works the same way that Facebook Marketplace does. You can specify what areas you want to see listings from and can select the tab of what you are searching for whether its side-by-sides, cars/trucks, beds, TVs, etc.

This new app allows you to receive notifications on listed items as well.

Atvtrader: Atvtrader is a website that is specifically meant for selling ATVs and side-by-sides. It works just like the other sites mentioned where you can search exactly what you want and be able to filter out results dependent on price range, location, year, make, and model.

You can use these resources listed here, but there are plenty of other websites, auction sites, and sources you can look at that can help broaden your search range you just have to look.

ebayMotors: If you enjoy bidding on things online like it is the early 2000s then you may want to check out EbayMotors. All jokes aside, eBay is actually a great place to find new and used side-by-sides.

You can go and select the UTV section and on the side, EbayMotors has actually made a fantastic category selection where you can really be in-depth at searching for your desired side-by-side.

Plus if you do end up using EbayMotors you will most likely be able to get a much wider shopping pool by looking at offers in other states that may even be able to ship the vehicle to you if you are willing to pay that kind of a shipping price.

6. Test Drive the UTV

We touched on this earlier but you should always test drive a side-by-side before you decide to buy it. Test driving the vehicle will allow you to get a feel for how the vehicle feels and runs.

Pay attention to the sounds the engine is making, if there are any odd noises or knocks in the motor that is a sure sign there is engine damage. Also, pay close attention to how the vehicle handles and how the suspension feels.

Do not be afraid to really ride the vehicle either. If accessible, take the side-by-side through some trails, over rocks, and any other kind of terrain that you would normally encounter when driving this vehicle. That way you can see how it performs in its “natural” territory.

If you yourself are unfamiliar with side-by-sides then I would recommend bringing someone with more experience and knowledge of the vehicles on a test drive so that they can listen and feel for you and let you know if anything seems out of the ordinary.

7. Have Cash Ready

As we all know cash is king. Avoid taking out loans, or paying with credit cards, or even venmo and other cash applications where you can transfer funds to other people.

Taking out loans leads to unnecessary debt, and we talked briefly about that in creating a budget and most of the times the interest rates will usually be pretty high for a purchase such as this.

Say for example that you are taking out a loan for $20,000 at an interest rate of 6% over 7 years for a Polaris RZR XP Turbo, you end up paying around $8,000 more for the vehicle than you would have if you were to buy it outright in cash.

Your best bet is to just be patient, I know that is hard, but you can do it. Save up some money over the next few months to a year and then buy your vehicle then when you are better financially able to do so.

Now you might say, “okay Matt that makes sense, but why can I not use Venmo or something similar?” Well, I am not saying that you can’t. You very well can and it is not a huge problem if you do, especially if you just do not want to pay with cash whatsoever.

However, the thing about paying with credit/debit cards and phone applications is that it can limit your buying power.

There is just something about being able to go up to someone and say “I can pay you in cash today” that gives you more respect and power in the buying experience.

If you have cash on hand you can also typically talk the seller down a bit in price and have more room for negotiation. Say someone is asking $5,000 for a used side-by-side you say “look I have $4,000 in cash can you take that?” you have a better chance of getting the seller to lower the price.

And if you do decide to go the cash route, you may have to plan the purchase out a few days in advance because most ATMs will only let you take out 500 dollars within a 24-hour period.

So unless you go into the bank when it is open and see what the policy is there for withdrawing large amounts of money, then you will have to make a few trips to the ATM.

8. Be Brave Enough to Bargain

Avoid not bargaining. One of the biggest mistakes that people often make when purchasing something as big as a car, or in this case, a side-by-side, is that they do not bargain or that they are too afraid to bargain.

I have found this to be the case not so much with the older generations, but primarily the younger generations. They don’t want to cause a scene and so they just take whatever it is they are buying at the price at which it is offered.

The thing is you can bargain literally anywhere, you go to Walmart and ask the right people about the right things and you can get a deducted price almost all the time.

While Walmart probably isn’t the first place you are going to start bargaining at, you can most definitely bargain with any type of private sale and you should not be afraid to do so.

However bargaining is an art, so to speak, and it takes some skill in order to do it correctly. I will go ahead and give a few short tips so that you can learn how to be a better bargainer.

Bargaining Tips:

Be Discreet: The one reason people do not like to bargain is that most of the people that have seen people try and “bargain” have seen it lead to an argument or contention.

That hesitation to not cause a scene is good to an extent because whenever you are bargaining with someone you should always try and be discreet and not cause an argument.

When working with a salesperson do not try and haggle with them in front of a crowd.

Typically any salesperson is willing to work out a deal with you in order to make a sale, but they are less willing to do so when other people are around and listening making it so that they would have to give the same deal to all of the people that heard your conversation.

Be Respectful: Whenever you are bargaining with someone it is important to have tact. Do not be a jerk. It does not matter how much you know on the subject, or what you “think” is the best deal, price, or what have you.

If you are a jerk about the situation then that person is not going to want to work with you at all, let alone try and bargain and give you a deal on something.

So just remember that when negotiating do not come off as stubborn, hard, or overly aggressive. Just be low-key and friendly. That is not to say let yourself be taken advantage of, but just be a respectful person and salespeople and others will be more willing to negotiate with you.

Give the Seller Incentives to Bargain With You: Now this is more a tip that applies to someone who would be buying a side-by-side from a salesperson at a dealership rather than a private sale, however you can find ways to implement this tip in either scenario.

The priority of this tip is to give whoever is selling the vehicle a reason, or incentive, to bargain with you.

If the vehicle is being sold at a dealership you could make a deal saying that you will come back to that particular dealership for maintenance, repairs, and anything else you might need later on.

Basically do not just come right out and say hey, make me a deal. Give the seller a reason to give you a deal. You might have to do some thinking as to how that can apply to your specific scenario, but it will most certainly help if you can apply it.

Ask Good Questions: When asking for a discount or deal, do not be too direct in your asking. Saying something like “can I get 20% off of this side-by-side” is going to allow for an easy “no” from the salesperson.

However, if you were to say something along the lines of “wow this side-by-side meets a lot of the requirements that I am looking for in a vehicle and would be great for my family, but the price is just a tad out of my price range, can we work something out perhaps?” This will allow for a better opportunity for the salesperson to be willing to strike a deal with you.

Show Intelligence and Do Your Homework: These two things are perhaps the most important things that you can do when you go to buy any type of vehicle.

Too many people just show up to a dealership or a private sale and expect the seller to tell them all about the product that they are selling.

Well, a lot of the time the seller will say anything that they can in order to get you to buy. That includes stretching the truth from time to time.

So, whenever you buy a vehicle be sure to do your research ahead of time in order to be knowledgable about whatever it is you are buying.

This shows the salesperson, or whoever, that you know your stuff about the product such as what it is worth, as well as about competing products and that they will not so easily trick you into potentially false information about the vehicle.

Do Not Be Afraid of Silence: People. Hate. Silence. For whatever reason, our sub-conscience just does not like it. We feel it makes situations and conversations awkward and so people constantly try to fill it with something.

The fact is, silence can be good, especially when negotiating with someone. Silence can make or break a negotiation. If you are silent during the right times, even when it is awkward, you may just be able to push the seller into making a deal.

There is no specific formula of when or where to use silence, you just need to read the conversation and feel when it is most appropriate to stop talking for a second.

If you want some good examples on these tips, as well as some other bargaining tips that I have not mentioned check out this video.

Whether or not you decide to implement these bargaining tips is up to you, but regardless of the tips you should never be afraid to bargain and always try to negotiate where and when you can.

9. Buy In The Off-Season

Another mistake to avoid when buying a side-by-side is buying at the wrong time, and yes, there are right and wrong times to buy. Vehicles are like the housing market. There are times to buy and there are times to sell.

For example, various car manufacturers are cutting back on manufacturing sedans and are focusing on making cross-overs and SUVs, because more people are buying more cross-overs and fewer sedans.

So now would not be the best time to sell sedans because people just do not want them. Side-by-sides are similar in the fact that 4-seater side-by-sides are becoming more popular.

Different models tend to do better at different points in time, and while that can be more difficult to judge, one thing remains consistent, and that is the season in which you can buy a side-by-side.

The “off-season” for side-by-sides is typically late fall and into the winter. People will usually store their side-by-sides and wait until spring to use them.

This is also a great time to buy because it is when people judge whether or not they want to sell the vehicle soon based off of how often they used it during the last season.

It is also great to buy at the years end because there are just not a lot of buyers. Because the riding season is basically over, people will wait to buy in the spring when riding season is starting back up.

And while this is not a cold hard statistic, you might be able to get a better deal towards the end of the year because people may want some extra money in their pockets for the holidays, it is not proven but is something to think about.

10. Private Sellers Are Priority

While I would not necessarily classify going to a dealership as a mistake, I would avoid dealerships. I think that using private sellers is a priority over going to a dealership.

Dealerships need to squeeze you, the buyer, for as much money as they can in order to turn a good profit.

So a lot of times, when you buy vehicles at a dealership there are tons of hidden fees, extended warranties, and a plethora of other things attached to the price tag in order for them to get a better sale.

Even when using any of the bargaining tactics that we described above, you will be pretty hard-pressed at getting a dealership to drop the price down to an area that you feel would be a bargain.

A lot of dealerships tend to over-price their vehicles in order to allow for “bargaining room” to begin with and the salespeople there are typically more familiar with the going rates of the various side-by-sides than you are so they will use that to their advantage.

That is why private seller price will usually fall closer to what the value of the vehicle is actually worth on the street.

A private seller will not just have better prices, than dealerships, but they will also tend to be easier people to bargain with. Most private sellers are not trained salespeople trying to make a quick buck.

Instead, they are average people like you and me who are just trying to get some money out of whatever it is they are selling, instead of scrapping it and getting nothing.

The fact that private sellers are average people like you and me works in your favor. Everyone has interests, and when meeting with someone normal you can try and connect with them on that kind of level, something that is difficult to do with a trained salesperson.

So all in all private sales are the way to go, you will get a better, more realistic price, have an easier time negotiating with them, and quite frankly a nicer, less stressful, experience as well.

If you are wanting a few more tips on how to act in a private sale environment or what questions you should ask the seller when viewing the vehicle or item check out this video below.

11. Find Ways to Save Money

This seems like a pretty obvious tip, but you should always find ways to save money. Avoid spending extra cash on unnecessary things and do not pay too much for something that just is not worth it.

Perhaps you are thinking to yourself “Yeah okay Matt, but you’ve already talked about bargaining, and buying private so the cost is low, what else is there to really do?”

Here are a few tricks on things you can do within the negotiation process that will allow you to save a few bucks and maybe get some extra things thrown in as well.

Get Free Stuff: One way you can save money is to buy getting things thrown into the deal so that you do not have to spend that money later on yourself.

When negotiating the price of the side-by-side you are looking to buy, see if the seller is willing to throw in some extra stuff for perhaps a few dollars more.

Those things could include, helmets, a winch, riding jackets, or even something as simple as a free tank of gas.

Obviously, you are going to want to pay less than what those objects would be worth, but throwing in an extra 100 dollars for 250 dollars worth of stuff is not a bad deal.

The fact the seller usually just wants to get rid of what it is they are selling and so asking for some extra gear to sweeten the deal never hurts.

Passed Over Ads: Another way to get a good deal and save money is to look at the ads that seem to be passed over. These ads typically tend to be the ones that have been listed for a while.

They could be ones that just do not have too many photos of the vehicle, or a very general, non-descriptive description about the vehicle that is being sold.

While it does not seem like much, these ads usually get skipped over because of the lack of information provided, that causes them to be left for sale longer and the longer that the item is for sale the more impatient the seller gets.

If you see a listing such as this, do not be afraid to reach out to the seller and request more photos and information, since the seller is most likely impatient you can probably get a better deal out of them.

12. Do Your Homework

Avoid being ignorant. We talked a little bit about this topic when we discussed bargaining but it does not hurt to hit on it a bit more in-depth. The more you know the better a deal you can get and the less likely it is that you will get scammed.

It really is not enough to know just what kind of side-by-side you are looking for and for how much you are wanting to pay. You should be sure to research various different side-by-sides and compare and contrast their prices and attributes.

If you are not quite sure on how or where you can get the information needed to become knowledgeable on the subject, allow me to share some of the various sources that I use when I do my own research on things.

Internet forums: Internet forums can be your best friend whenever you are doing research. Especially if you are researching a certain product.

They are a great way to get a feel for whatever potential model it is that you are looking at getting. There you can ask questions about how the vehicle runs and how well it has held up over the years for other owners.

While you will need to take a grain of salt with some of the comments found there, most of the time internet forums are a good way at getting some real-world perspective on side-by-sides and other products.

Youtube: Youtube can be a gift and a curse. You can either use it wisely to look at videos that help educate you, teach you something new, or catch up on recent events, or you can watch silly cat videos for nine hours straight.

However, if you choose to use youtube for good, then it really is a great resource for getting to know about things. I mentioned that I am a car fanatic and that I watch lots of videos on cars and youtube is where I do most of my watching.

I personally use it to help me learn about things such as fixing engine problems and installing aftermarket parts. It can be just as advantageous in researching your side-by-side.

There are tons of videos about some of the most popular side-by-sides that give reviews of them, compare them to other models, or just show pictures and walkarounds of the vehicle itself.

The internet, in general, is just a well of information. There are countless sites that can help you find out about different side-by-sides, including this one and some of my other posts that are more model specific.

13. Be Wary of a Deceptive Seller

Avoid getting scammed. I know that is another pretty obvious tip, but you would be surprised just how many people get ripped off when they go out to buy something like a side-by-side.

I am sorry to say that not everybody in this world is honest and truthful people that want the best for their neighbor. Some people just want to take advantage of others and are willing to do whatever it takes for them to get ahead of others.

As the buyer remember that you are in control of this situation. You are entitled to ask as many questions as you feel necessary about the vehicle and there are no bad questions.

Ask about the side-by-side’s history and if they have a list of maintenance done ask for that as well. A lot of people will try and cover up damage done to the vehicle and lie about how hard they drove it.

That is why we check the things we talked about previously. Be sure to pay attention to how the seller is acting. Look for body language and conversational clues. Just use your best judgment when dealing with other people, especially if they are someone that you do not know personally.

14. Know If You Need a Title or Not

Avoid legal problems. This tip is very dependent on what state you live in especially if you are wanting to drive your side-by-side on the roads. A lot of people do not have actual titles for their side-by-sides but do have bills of sale and so forth.

If you want to register your side-by-side so that you can get it on the road then you will need to contact your local DMV. There you will probably have to have a title for the vehicle or whatever your state needs in order to register your side-by-side.

There are even some state and national trails at the park that will require you to show that your vehicle is registered, but once again these are strictly local laws and vary from state to state so be sure to check what your state and parks require before riding on the road or in-park trails.

15. Do Not Be Brand Loyal

Avoid being brand loyal. If you are trying to get a good deal and a good side-by-side then avoid being loyal to one brand. It is something I like to call brand ignorance.

There are a lot of different brands to choose from, and for the most part, each brand makes similar products to the next. There are certain attachments and so forth that a particular brand may have that another one does not, however, for the most part, they are all pretty similar.

If you follow the first tip of knowing what you want out of a side-by-side then you can avoid this brand ignorance and go with the side-by-side that is most cost-effective for you.

16. Avoid Impulse Buying

Personally, I am terrible at not impulse buying especially when it comes to snack foods at Walmart. However, when it comes to major purchases such as a side-by-side I take a bit more time with the decision.

This relates back to that immediate gratification problem that seems to be running rampant throughout society. When you are buying your side-by-side just take your time and do not rush into any type of sale just because you “have to have that vehicle.”

If you have followed the other tips then this should not really be a problem for you but just remember to avoid impulse buying.

17. Know When to Walk Away

Knowing when to walk away is an imperative skill to have in any negotiation. Most likely the first vehicle that you look at and test drive will not be the one that you buy.

Personally, whenever I am working on a project car or looking for something new to get, I will look at and test-drive dozens of vehicles until I find the one that I am willing to get, and most of those vehicles are damaged and it is a question of am I willing to fix it!

For you, however, buying a damaged side-by-side is out of the question. You are going to want something that is in good condition, and that runs and drives with no issues.

So as I said, the first one probably will not be the last. Because of that, you need to know when to walk away. Do not let a smooth-talking salesperson entice you into buying a vehicle that you just are not ready for or want.

As for private sales, do not let the fact that you drove out somewhere to look at something have hold over you so that you feel obligated to get the vehicle and do not let someone’s sappy backstory on why they need to sell the vehicle coerce you into buying it either.

Like I stated before you are in charge of this experience, inevitably you are the one who will pull the trigger on buying something or not. You should never feel bad because you did not find what you wanted on the first try.

Be okay with walking away and continue on the search for the side-by-side that will be the perfect fit for you and your specific situation.

Walking away from a sale does not make you incompetent, it makes you a well-educated buyer who holds all the power and that is exactly what you want when you are trying to buy a side-by-side or anything else.

Hopefully, this article was of some help and happy side-by-side hunting!

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Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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