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How To Finance An ATV Or Four-Wheeler

Adding an ATV or four-wheeler to your vehicle collection is a surefire way to get the most fun out of your free time in the summer or on weekends.

And if you've always wanted an off-roader but haven't felt that you could afford it, we have good news!

Financing your new ATV is a quick way to get you on the road, and because it's similar to financing cars or trucks, you're probably already more familiar with the process than you might think. Below, you'll find out everything you need to know about how to finance an ATV, from ATV loan rates to typical ATV financing terms and more.

At the Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal), we’ve provided low-interest loans to Southern Californians for over sixty years, and even if your credit history isn’t perfect, we can still help you buy the ATV or four-wheelr of your dreams.

Give us a call today at 866.287.6225 for a no-obligation consultation and get all the answers you need.

Get Started on Your ATV Loan!

What Is An ATV Loan?

Like loans you may have taken out for your education, your car, or your home, recreational vehicle loans work in much the same way.

Essentially, a financial lending institution will finance your ATV purchase, which you will pay back over time with interest. Because an ATV or four-wheeler is not considered a necessity, you might find the terms of your loan to differ slightly from auto loans you may have used in the past.  

How Much Will An ATV Loan Cost?

How much an ATV or four-wheeler loan will cost you, in the long run, will be determined by a few things:
  • The total price of the ATV
  • Your down payment
  • The interest rate offered by the lending institution
  • The loan term (i.e., how long you will be paying off the loan)
Because there are a few factors to consider, it's wise to shop around and evaluate your options when looking for 4-wheeler financing. Remember, just because an offer has a low interest rate doesn't mean it will be the best offer overall. You should also consider the length of the loan, known as the loan term, and your desired monthly payments.

At CU SoCal, we pride ourselves on offering our Members the best possible terms and interest rates. To ensure there are no unwanted surprises, check out our loan calculator that will help you figure out the ideal terms for your desired loan. And don't forget – if you need hands-on assistance, you can always call CU SoCal for an obligation-free consultation.  


If you're wondering how to finance an ATV, you might already know what you're looking for. But if you're not quite at the point that you've chosen your perfect ATV, you might have a few questions about which is the best vehicle for you. A typical ATV, short for All-Terrain Vehicle, can also be referred to as a four-wheeler or quad. It is designed for only a single rider.

Conversely, a UTV, or Utility Task Vehicle, is often larger and provides space for two people riding next to each other, which gives it the alternative name of a "side by side" or SXS.

ATV / Four Wheeler Financing Guide

At CU SoCal, we know how important it is for our Members to get the best financing assistance possible.

And for those wondering just how do ATV loans work, we have compiled a step-by-step financing guide to help you get offroad on four wheels. We'll discuss everything you need to know about how to finance an ATV, ATV loan rates, preapproval, and more.

1. Check Your Credit Score

Before even beginning to shop for a four-wheeler, you should check your credit score first. Knowing your credit score will help you determine if you're ready to go ahead and start shopping or if you need to take some time to improve your score.

If you have excellent credit, you're all set and can proceed to step two! However, if you aren't in the best financial shape, there are ways to improve your credit score so that you can qualify for a loan with better terms.

Additionally, CU SoCal’s Credit Builder Loan can help you get back on track if you need further assistance.

2. Create A Budget

Once you’re happy with your credit score, you can start creating your budget. To begin, you'll have a few factors to consider:
  • Your current debt. How much you owe to other lenders will impact how much you can borrow for your ATV. 
  • Your annual salary. Understanding how much money you take home after taxes will give a realistic look at your income.
  • Your possible monthly payments. How much can you afford to add to your monthly expenditures without increasing your debt?
When you're creating a budget to see how much you can borrow to purchase your quad or ATV, make sure you consider the total cost of ownership. In other words, don't forget to account for insurance, fuel, and accessories when creating your budget.

3. Save For A Down Payment

Now that you know what your budget is looking like, you should start saving for a down payment.

The typical cost of an ATV is between $5,000 and $15,000, and the regular down payment is usually around 10-20%. Depending on the price of your vehicle, you're most likely looking at down payment between $500 and $3,000.

4. Comparison Shop Different ATVs, Four Wheelers, Quads

Now for the fun part – finding your perfect ATV, four-wheeler, quad, or side-by-side!

If you aren't sure what exactly you're looking for, it's time to do some online research. Several websites are dedicated to reviewing ATVs and other recreational vehicles, so a quick Google search should give you all the information you need to compare different makes and models.

When comparison shopping, you'll want to take into account availability, specs, and price. Taking a look at dealerships near you will give you a good idea of what's available in your area and the price range for those specific vehicles. Many dealerships have knowledgeable staff that can help you make an educated decision.

5. Shop Different Lenders

After choosing your ATV, it's time to start shopping different lenders. There are several options that you'll come across, but the primary lenders are banks, dealerships, online lenders, and credit unions like CU SoCal. We'll talk more about each of these in more detail later on.

When shopping for lenders, you should compare their offers regarding loan terms and interest rates. You should also check out whether there are any fees or penalties that could affect you.

6. Get Preapproved

With all of your well-researched information in hand, including your budget, the item cost, and your chosen lender, it's time to get preapproved.

To do this, your lending institution will have a look at your financial situation, including your credit report and verifications of debt and income. Then, they'll decide how much money they are willing to loan you under those circumstances, along with their terms and interest.

If you've followed the previous steps, your credit score should be in good shape, and you should know exactly how much you'll need for your ATV financing. Thorough preparation will likely lead to a successful loan, so you're almost done!

7. Calculate Your Payments

With your preapproval, you will likely be given the terms under which the loan will be provided, including interest rates and terms. Typical ATV financing terms are between three and six years with a fixed annual percentage rate (APR). 

With CU SoCal's loan calculator, you can modify the loan amount, down payment, monthly payment, interest rate, and term so you can calculate your monthly payments on your new ATV.

8. Get The Right ATV For Your Needs

In step four, we talked about comparison shopping for ATVs, quads, four-wheelers, and UTVs based on their specs, reviews, and prices. Now it's time to take a more personal look at the vehicle to see if it's suited for your particular needs. While many ATVs are used recreationally for fun on the weekends, heftier UTVs can haul small trailers if needed for work. Other things to think about are whether you'll be riding solo most of the time, if you're looking to get into racing, or if you'll be taking it out onto unusual terrain, like sand dunes.

9. Make The Purchase!

For the final step, all you have to do is make the purchase! Now is the time that you will see the ownership cost of the item, including insurance, safety gear, and any applicable licensing. However, since you've budgeted and considered your long-term financial situation, you will already be prepared for this.

Where Can I Get An ATV Loan?

As with simple auto loans, there are various ways to get a loan for your ATV purchase. ATV loan rates will vary from institution to institution, so it is wise to do some research if you want the best 4-wheeler financing.  Here are the most common places to get ATV loans.


Banks are generally one of the first places people consider to ask for a loan, and for good reason. They usually have highly competitive interest rates on loans, and since many people already have a bank account, seeking a loan from the same institution makes sense. Add in online banking and ease of checking finances, and it certainly makes sense in some cases to use a bank.

However, banks are also much more strict with their policies and have very high credit standards. A low credit score could mean a quick refusal. They also tend to have higher fees on loans.

Credit Unions

Unlike a bank, credit unions are owned by their Members and are not for-profit institutions. Because of this, they can offer much lower interest rates on recreational vehicle loans than a typical bank. Plus, credit unions are usually much smaller than banks, so you'll get more attentive service and personalized help with your loan application.

To take advantage of the low interest rates and personal service, you usually have to be a Member. With CU SoCal, joining is simple, so you can start enjoying the benefits of a credit union whenever you're ready. CU SoCal has a fully secure website and mobile app so you can stay up to date on your loan payments.

Online Lenders

In the last few years, online lenders have become more and more ubiquitous in the financial world. Their strictly online presence means they've invested a lot into making a streamlined and intuitive user interface, which means their sites are easy to use for virtually any memeber.

That might not sound like a lot, but the ease of use means you can keep a better eye on what you owe on your loan. Users can also easily compare online lenders to see which one would be best for them.

For non-internet-savvy users, getting a loan from an online lender may not be the best idea, especially if they struggle to navigate or read websites.


Whether for cars or recreational vehicles, dealerships will often offer unique credit cards or special types of loans for items they sell.

There are several benefits to getting a dealership loan. Dealerships usually offer more options to customers with bad credit, so if your score isn't where you want it to be, you might be ok. It is also more convenient to accept a loan from the dealer since you are already there. Additionally, some lenders have exclusive partnerships with dealers, so you might be presented with more lenders than you would have otherwise.

The disadvantages of getting a loan with a dealership depend on the dealership itself and the ATV loan rates they offer.


Manufacturers often create exclusive relation-ships with financial institutions to create incentives that bring in more customers. These incentives could include extremely attractive benefits like 0% financing for the first year. Many ATV makers are linked up with a "captive lender" that offers a manufacturer loan, making this a viable option for ATV shoppers.

Additional ATV Financing Options

Along with different institutions from which to seek out a loan, there are also other types of ATV loan options that you can choose from. Here are the most common types.

RV Loans

RV loans are a dedicated type of loan specifically for purchasing recreational vehicles – from motorcycles, to boats, to your new ATV. You can get this kind of loan from banks, credit unions, and occasionally online lenders. Some lenders offer 3-6 months of no payments or reduced APR on RV loans.
As for disadvantages, there are quite a few with RV loans. Qualifying for a loan in the first place can be tricky, even more so than an auto loan. Keep in mind that the loan will also be secured by the vehicle itself as collateral.
That means if you stop making payments, the lender can repossess the ATV or UTV.

Credit Cards

If you already have a credit card, you might be wondering if you can simply use it to buy your chosen ATV. The short answer is yes, and there are even some advantages to doing so.

If you have or qualify for a credit card that offers zero interest for the first year, you could pay off the ATV without added costs.

Don't forget, though, that credit cards don't enforce any payment over the monthly minimum. This might sound like a good thing, but unless you're making higher monthly payments, it could take you years to pay off the ATV.

Retailer Financing

Retailer financing is similar to getting a dealership or manufacturer loan. Essentially, what this means is that instead of applying for a separate loan elsewhere, you can take care of the loan directly at the point of sale and take advantage of manufacturer-subsidized loans.

Do keep in mind, though, that the most significant benefit of 0% APR for the first six months or year does end, and when it does, the interest rate will jump up to a much higher number than other types of loans.

Also, with retailer financing, your new ATV becomes the default collateral for the loan, so if you can't make payments, the retailer can repossess the vehicle.

CU SoCal ATV Loans

At CU SoCal, we are big fans of the Southern California lifestyle – and that means always being on the go and having outdoor adventures year-round.

Whether you're looking for a four-wheeler or a side-by-side, we have you covered. With a loan from CU SoCal, you'll get up to 100% financing and a fixed interest rate, so there are no surprises to keep you from getting your ATV.

All of our terms are flexible and applicable to new and used vehicles. We don't ask for any application fees from our Members, so you can be sure that every penny will go toward getting the recreational vehicle of your dreams.

Apply For ATV Loan At CU SoCal Today!

Please give us a call today at 866.287.6225 to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our vehicle loan representatives.

Get Started on Your ATV Loan!

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Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) is a leading financial institution empowering those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County to reach their goals and build strong financial futures. CU SoCal provides access to convenient money management services and offers competitive rates and flexible terms on auto loans, mortgages, and VISA credit cards—turning wishing and waiting into achieving and doing.


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