How Many Hours Do ATVs Last? What is Considered High?

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When you’re in the market for a second-hand ATV, doing your due diligence is crucial to ensure you make a good deal. One of the factors you need to consider is how many hours the ATV has run. But be aware that the hour count alone does not paint the complete picture of the vehicle’s condition.

If properly cared for and from a reputable brand, an ATV can last over 1000 hours. Beyond 1000 hours, it might require substantial repairs or thorough maintenance. In contrast, an ATV that is poorly maintained or mistreated may only last a few hundred hours before experiencing significant issues.

The lifespan of an ATV can vary greatly, and there’s no single, definitive answer. How long an ATV lasts depends primarily on how well it is maintained, how it is ridden, and several other factors. The lifespan may range from just a few hundred to 5000 hours or, in some cases, even more.

How Many Hours Do ATVs Last on Average?

We’ll explore the factors determining an ATV’s life expectancy later in this post. But to give you a general idea of what to expect, here are some guidelines on how long the bike will last in the different scenarios, ranging from one extreme to the other:

  • 100 to 200 hours: The ATV is a cheap, generic, poor-quality ATV brand. Poor, incorrect, or nonexistent maintenance and upkeep. Regularly or grossly exceeding the bike’s rated capacities. Widespread abuse and misuse.
  • 1000 to 2000 hours: The ATV is a well-reputed ATV brand. The service schedule specified by the manufacturer is kept up for the most part. Parts are replaced when worn out or broken. Proper storage.
  • 5000 hours or more: The ATV is of a top-quality brand. Excellent service record and upkeep. Possibly some more extensive repairs or maintenance. No abuse or misuse. Dry, indoor storage.

Related: ATV Hours vs. Miles Explained – Hours to Miles Conversion

The Reckless Ill-Advised ATV Owner

Don’t we all know someone who somehow manages to break almost everything they get their hands on? 

It doesn’t matter whether it is tools, camping gear, sports equipment, or a vehicle. After a short while in their possession, the item shows clear signs of deterioration until it eventually breaks completely, long before the typical life expectancy. 

This kind of individual often overlooks factors such as build quality or brand reputation when buying an ATV. They may not enjoy or prioritize maintaining their possessions well, or they might use the ATV beyond its intended capabilities.

If you fit in this category, even the highest quality ATV won’t last more than just a few hundred hours of use before it will need significant repairs or possibly a complete restoration.

I’ve seen ATVs with 200 hours on the counter in a state where it makes more sense to buy a new bike rather than spend the time and money required to repair the old one. 

The Average Casual ATV Rider

This is the category where you’ll find most ATV owners, myself included. 

These people typically use their ATVs for weekend trail-riding, hunting, or everyday work around the farm. They maintain the specified service schedule, at least for the most part, and clean the bike when it gets too dirty. They generally use the ATV like it’s supposed to be used, without taking it to the extreme.

If you fit this category, your ATV will likely last 1000 to 2000 hours before significant repairs or more extensive maintenance is required.

ATVs with this number of hours on them typically get sold to someone with the time and skill required to keep the bike going further, or they end up being sold for parts or sent to the scrapyard. 

The Full-Blown Enthusiast or Mechanic

At the far end of the scale, you have those who genuinely enjoy and take pride in keeping their gear in top shape.

These individuals are meticulous with their ATV maintenance, often changing the oil before it’s due, always cleaning their ATV thoroughly after use, and riding it carefully without overstraining the machine.

When things break or wear, they put in the time and effort required to get the most out of the bike rather than swapping it for a new one. 

ATVs owned by people in this category are the ones that tend to last the longest. Don’t be surprised if their ATV with 1000 or even 2000 hours on the clock still looks and runs like new. Or their 25-year-old thumper with 5000 hours of runtime is still going strong.

Factors That Affect the Life Expectancy of an ATV

These factors matter the most regarding how long you can expect an ATV to last.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Maintenance is critical when it comes to the life expectancy of ATVs. Failing to keep up with the scheduled service intervals will drastically reduce the hours you get to enjoy the vehicle. 

ATVs have a higher power-to-weight ratio than most cars or other on-road vehicles. Small, high-output engines are typically more service-intensive than heavier engines with less power. 

In addition, ATVs are often used in more challenging conditions, such as rough and muddy terrain, with a lot of acceleration and braking, pulling cargo, or turning large, heavy mud wheels.

These riding applications put a lot of strain and wear on the engine, drivetrain, suspension, and steering components, making regular service and upkeep critical to ensure long service life.

Proper maintenance should include regular cleaning and re-greasing. Proper cleaning is essential after riding in the mud and before long-term storage. 

Mud left sitting contains moisture that speeds up corrosion and may negatively impact plastic and rubber materials. Bushings and bearings must be greased regularly to expel moisture that would otherwise cause corrosion, premature wear, and, eventually, component failure. 

Related: 15 tips to prevent rust from developing on your ATV

Riding Style: Hard Hours vs. Light Hours

Some ATVs are used for less demanding tasks like light farm work, casual trail riding, or transporting a hunter to a cabin. These activities are less strenuous on the ATV and are known as “light hours” of usage.

Other ATVs are regularly put through challenges such as deep mudding, racing, rock climbing, or pulling heavy cargo in extreme conditions. On the other hand, these riding applications put a lot more strain on the bike and are considered “hard hours.” 

An ATV that spends most of its days doing light hours will likely last much longer than one that does mostly hard hours.

Vehicle Age and Parts Availability

Most manufacturers keep spare parts in stock for about 15 years. After that point, getting spare parts becomes increasingly tricky as parts run out of stock. 

After a while, you get to a point where the hassle of scavenging for parts becomes too tedious to be worth it.

Storage Conditions

An ATV is best stored in a dry, dark, and well-ventilated area, protected from the elements, moisture, and critters. 

  • Moisture may cause rust and mold and shorten the life of electrical components. 
  • UV exposure from the sun may damage plastic fenders, the seat, and tires. 
  • Critters such as mice may cause damage to the wiring and fuel lines.

Related: Can You Keep an ATV Outside? What You Ought to Know

Performance Enhancing Modifications

Many ATV owners modify their bikes for increased ground clearance, more power, or better performance in the mud. 

A stock ATV is carefully designed and manufactured with an optimal balance between its components. 

Any modification that increases performance strains other components such as the engine, transmission, drivetrain, bearings, bushings, and CV-axles. These parts can be upgraded or tweaked to keep up with other performance-enhancing modifications. 

Once you replace a single part on the ATV, it can lead to a chain reaction where other components may also need replacing, potentially resulting in high costs. What often happens is that people choose the upgrades that increase performance the most, such as lift kits and bigger tires, but skip out on the ones required to maintain reliability. 

Regardless of your efforts, you will rarely achieve the same reliability and longevity in a modified ATV as in one that’s kept stock.

Related: 26 Essential ATV Mudding Mods

How Many Hours Do ATVs Run Per Year on Average?

The average ATV rider goes for recreational trail-riding every other weekend, does some light work around the farm, uses their ATV to get to their remote cabin, or plows their driveway in the winter.

On average, this typically adds up to about 50 to 100 hours of run time each year.

Some people use their ATVs daily, accumulating many hours of use, while others use theirs infrequently, resulting in much fewer hours of operation.

How Many Hours Is High for an ATV?

A well-maintained ATV with 500 hours on the counter still has a bit of runtime left. An ATV that is run for more than 100 hours each year on average or more than 1000 hours throughout its lifetime is often considered high because it may soon need more extensive maintenance. 

However, simply counting the hours of use doesn’t provide an accurate measure of the ATV’s overall condition.

Hours of runtime should be one of the many factors you consider when in the market for a second-hand ATV.

Other factors that are just as, if not more important, include:

  • How hard did previous owners ride the ATV? One hundred hours on a bike that’s seen primarily light use, putting around at moderate speeds, does not cause anywhere near the same wear as 100 hours of hard use. 
  • Maintenance and upkeep. A well-maintained ATV with 400 hours can offer a much better deal than an abused and neglected machine with 200 hours on the counter. 
  • The hour-to-mileage ratio. Most modern ATVs register both hours and mileage. The balance between the two can tell you a thing or two about how the ATV has been ridden. Click here to learn more. (link) 
  • Modifications. A heavily modified ATV will typically not last as long as one kept stock.

Here are 20 questions you can ask the seller to give you a better idea of whether the bike you’re considering makes a good deal. 

Is 200 Hours a Lot for an ATV?

Two hundred hours is generally not considered a lot for an ATV as long as it’s properly maintained, has not been involved in any accidents, and is in overall good condition. However, 200 hours in just one year is on the higher end of the scale. 

Is 400 Hours a Lot for an ATV?

An ATV that has clocked 400 hours will typically start showing wear and may require the replacement of parts like brakes, wheel bearings, and axle joints. If it has been well-maintained and not mistreated, it should still have considerable service life remaining.

How Long Do ATV Engines Last?

An ATV engine should last the vehicle’s lifetime, typically 15 to 20 years. This applies as long as the specified maintenance schedule is fulfilled, the engine is kept stock, and not abused (improper break-in procedure used, regularly overheating, high revs when cold, etc.).

Related: How Long Do ATV Tires Last? When Should They Be Replaced?

Haavard Krislok
Haavard Krislok
Haavard Krislok is an ATV and off-road enthusiast with a rich background spanning two decades in owning, maintaining, repairing, and utilizing ATVs for farming, logging, and hunting. Outside his professional life as an engineer and project manager, he cherishes recreational trail riding and is the creative force behind, serving as its owner, editor, and content creator.

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Hi, I’m Haavard, the guy behind Boost ATV.  I made this site to share what I have learned as an avid ATV owner and enthusiast. I hope it can help boost your ATV experience! About Me