Seven tips when buying a used scooter

Don’t find yourself on the wrong end of a deal when buying a used scooter.

Set a budget

Scooters come at all prices. Establish a budget before beginning your search for a used scooter. Be sure to set aside part of your budget for possible repairs as well as for insurance.

Find a gem

Browse through the various ads on Kijiji and try to spot the scooter of your dreams at a price that fits your budget. Whether you’re looking for a Yamaha BWs or a Vespa, compare the ads that grab your attention, and eliminate the ones you find less appealing.

Meet the seller

Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time to meet the seller. Ask why the scooter is for sale, whether it’s been in an accident, whether the seller is the first owner and whether the original invoices for the purchase and any maintenance work are available. The seller will see that you’re a serious buyer.

Learn its history

For peace of mind when making a purchase, check with the personal property registry in your province that the seller is indeed the owner of the scooter and doesn’t have an unpaid loan. You can also ask provincial transportation officials for a vehicle information report on the scooter to see whether it’s been rebuilt, has had a mechanical inspection, or to find out how many owners it’s had.

Check

  • The condition of the scooter: A used scooter with low mileage (2,000 km) should be in excellent condition.
  • The original invoice: If available, compare the serial number of the invoice with the serial number on the vehicle. They should be the same. Otherwise, certain parts may have been changed, for good or bad reasons.
  • Shock absorbers: For the front fork, make sure there is no oil on the tubes. Traces of oil indicate a potential leak as well as damaged fork joints. For the rear shock absorber, put weight on the seat and release. Multiple rebounds are a sign that the rear suspension is damaged.
  • Tire wear: Make sure the tires are not too smooth.
  • The condition of the brakes: The pads should not be thin nor the discs rough.
  • Electrical system: Try the turn signals, cruise lights, high beams and horn.
  • Aesthetics: Look for any scratches on the body, check the condition of the mirrors, and beware of rust spots on the exhaust pipe or engine components.

Take a test drive

Once you’ve inspected the vehicle, it’s time to go for a ride. During the test drive, accelerate quickly and ensure the engine doesn’t make a clicking sound. Test the scooter’s brakes repeatedly to verify their responsiveness. To check the alignment of the wheels and fork, drive at a speed of 50 km/hr, and briefly let go of the handlebars. If the scooter deviates from the trajectory, don’t buy it, as it may have been in an accident.

Negotiate

Ask vendors which parts will need to be changed in the near future, and mention any irregularities you noticed during the inspection and test drive. Start the negotiations with your budget in mind. Take time to think carefully before accepting a final price, and never buy a scooter without having tried it first.
Following one or all of these steps will give you confidence and turn an otherwise long process of shopping for the right used scooter into an enjoyable shopping experience.

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