Sled Shopping: Tips for choosing a new or used snowmobile

Sled Shopping: Tips for choosing a new or used snowmobile
[![Snowmobile models abound. Will you choose new or used? Photos courtesy of Yamaha.](]( models abound. Will you choose new or used? Photo courtesy of Yamaha.
Winter has arrived. For those of you who live in snow country and are snowmobilers, plenty of opportunities are out there for snow-going fun, whether you’re tracking on groomed trails, riding ridges in more mountainous regions or blazing your own paths among the snowdrifts and tall pines.

Maybe 2015 is the year you have decided to buy your first machine or maybe upgrade your current snowmobile. New and used models abound, from quick and lightweight machines to large and powerful models. So, how do you choose? Are you better off buying a used machine or a brand spanking new sled?

Well, it depends. Are you a long-time rider, putting on 3,000 to 4,000 miles each winter in the woods and on the trails? Then you’ll likely opt for a new machine. If you are new to the sport, and haven’t yet decided whether snowmobiling is for you, then choosing a used sled might be the way to go as a first buy—it’s less of a financial commitment. Or, maybe you have a snowmobile in your garage but only get out for one or two seasonal blasts each winter—you could probably go either way, new or used. And, no matter which category you fall into, your budget parameters will also influence your decision.

Here, we offer a few advantages regarding new and used for you to consider.

Advantages of New
Shiny and new. One obvious advantage of buying new is that, well, you’ll get a brand new sled, “as in zero miles on it,” says Stan Glumac, salesperson for R.J. Sport & Cycle in Duluth, Minn. “You’re getting a brand new snowmobile, rather than starting off with a used machine that could have problems.”

Your choice. Though there are plenty of used sleds out there, buying new offers you the opportunity to choose or buy exactly the make and model you want, say several sources.

Manufacturer’s Warranty. “Getting a warranty is a big advantage” of buying new, Glumac says. Generally, new models come with a one-year factory warranty that you can extend up to five years, Glumac says.

Daniel J. Peterson, a sales consultant with Rod’s Ride On Powersports in LaCrosse, Wis., agrees. “The factory warranty is an important consideration.” Beyond that, Peterson says buying a new snowmobile “is a lot like the car business, where there are special programs, sales events, incentives, cash rebates and extended warranties that all come in to play.”

Glumac and Peterson both noted that, depending on the year and condition of the machine, some used snowmobiles can also be eligible for warranties.

Financing. You can generally finance new machines through manufacturers, but Glumac and Peterson mentioned that their dealerships also offer financing through local banks and credit unions for both new and used. As Glumac points out, “Rates are really excellent right now, around 2.99 percent for example, for five years.”

New non-current inventory. One other option to consider, Glumac says, is something called new non-current inventory. These are 2013 and 2014 models that are brand new and now are rebated at a lower price to move them out. These machines are “still new, still have warranties, but you get a better price.”

Advantages of Used
Cheaper. The biggest advantage of buying used is the price. “The price for used is a lot less,” Glumac says. New snowmobiles, like cars, motorcycles and other vehicles, lose value quickly.

Surprising Selection/Deals. Because snowmobiles are seasonal, a surprising selection of used sleds can be found for sale that haven’t really been used all that much, several sources advise. This is especially true, Glumac says, in those cases in which owners may have only used their machines once or twice annually for a few years and then decide to sell.

Peterson says that, at his dealership in LaCrosse for example, they sell a wide variety of makes and models and years, ranging from 1990s models to 2013s. In addition, “It’s not uncommon to see sleds in here that are up to 20 years old but are in such good condition that they are sometimes featured on our sales room floor.”

Warranties and financing for used, too. Finally, you’ll find plenty of late model snowmobiles that are “well maintained and in  good shape,” says Glumac, and can still be covered by warranties and financed.

To shop for snowmobiles, click here.

—Angelo Gentile, Content Editor,

comments powered by Disqus