Like many things in life its cheaper to buy used. This is true when it comes to UTVs, but how do you know if you’re actually getting a good deal? How do you know if the used side by side will have any life left. Well this article will help give you an idea of how long UTVs can last and are expected to last with proper maintenance. Although its obvious, it should be noted that a UTV will not live up to its expected life expectancy if it is not properly maintained.
Mileage as low as 5.000 miles can be considered as high for a UTV. However with proper maintenance and service, a UTV can last for thousands of miles. So high mileage shouldn’t scare you off if you are a used side by side buyer. UTV lifespan is really a matter of many factors like service intervals and driving style.
Why Does UTV Lifespans Vary?
Unfortunately there isn’t a clear set of hours or miles that a UTV is supposed to last. UTVs don’t last as many hours and miles as a car because they have a much harsher life. Off roading, mudding and high speed sand dunes all take a serious toll on the side by side. The type of mileage that a UTV was used for will be a factor in its life. A side by side used for transport around a farm or worksite should last more miles than one used for mudding. The amount of hours also plays a roll in a UTVs life span. Many UTV’s spend a lot of hours rock crawling on trails. They don’t rack up a lot of miles, but they do rack up a lot of hours.
UTV lifespans will vary dramatically based off of how well it is taken care of. Engine oil, transmission gear case oil, and air filters all need to be changed at the proper intervals. Running old oil can dramatically reduce engine and transmission life. Lastly engine rpm also plays a role. Many side by sides operate at high rpms of 4,000 – 6,000 rpm while a typical car operates in the 1,500 – 3,000 rpm. Higher speeds puts more wear on the engine components like: bearings, pistons, crankshaft, spark plugs, fuel injectors, etc. These are all factors that can cause UTV life to vary.
What Is High Mileage For A UTV?
A quick scan of facebook marketplace will reveal 10 year old Polaris RZRs with 3,400 miles and 3 year old RZRs with already 4,000 miles. So how many miles do they last? The answer depends on the type of riding that the UTV owner does and the maintenance that is performed on the side by side.
Generally speaking 5,000 – 10,000 miles of rough trail riding would be considered high mileage. However high mileage isn’t necessarily bad. The most important factor is how well you maintain your vehicle. A poorly maintained side by side might not make it 5,000 miles, but a properly maintained side by side could last you years and 20,000-30,000 miles. Diesel UTVs can last more hours and miles than gas side by side due to their robust engines and the fact that they are typically used for work rather than trails. For more information, check out our article on diesel UTVs here.
The main take away is that condition is greater than mileage when it comes to UTVs. So if you’re in the used market what should you look for when purchasing a side by side?
Buying High Mileage UTVs?
So how do you determine if a side by side has been properly maintained? What should you look for when buying used? Well that is enough for its own blog post, but here are a few things you should check out.
- First and most important: review maintenance logs and make sure that the UTV has been properly serviced
- Inspect the cage for signs of roll over
- Check the underside of the side by side for damage like dents, bent frame, cracked housings
- Check the engine oil to make sure it is within the proper level
- Inspect the engine coolant for the proper level of fluid and color
- Check if the power steering is electric or hydraulic. For more info check out our article here.
- Inspect shock mounts for cracks
- Ask how long the gasoline has been sitting in the UTV
- Inspect the driveshaft, axles, and CV joints (looked for burst CV joint boots and deformed axles)
- Check the engine and transmission for leaking fluids
- Review make and model for common reliability issues
- Take it for a test drive!
These are just a few of the things you should check out when you’re planning on purchasing a used UTV. You don’t have to be afraid of the mileage, but you do need to make sure that it has been properly maintained.
How To Make Your UTV Last
Just like a car following the manufacturer specified service intervals will ensure that your vehicle lasts a long time, but what else can you do? There are a few things you can do to make sure your UTV lasts a long time.
- Use synthetic oil and change at the recommended intervals
- Inspect axle cv joint boots after every ride (look for tears and grease). Catching a cv joint boot failure can save you from more costly repairs. Also if you have aftermarket axles, be sure to check if the cv joints need to be greased periodically. Many aftermarket axles of short maintenance intervals.
- Put stabilizer in with the gasoline if you’re going longer than three weeks between rides
- Inspect the engine air filter and replace it if its dirty. Keep in mind you may need to change it more than the manufacturer says if you’re riding in dusty and sandy areas.
- Inspect belt tension regularly and adjust tension when it is out of spec.
These are all simple but effective steps you can take to increase the lifespan of your UTV.