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Used Honda question

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I'm looking to buy a used Honda ATV.  Here's my question.  I'm wondering which unit you guys think would be a better purchase.  2006 Foreman 500 ES in Excellent shape with 800 miles OR 2012  Foreman 500ES Excellent condition with 1900 miles.  This is to be used on our farm doing daily chores driven by myself and my wife.  This will not be used for trail riding (other than around the farm) or any kind of mudding.  The 2006 costs $4400.00 and the 2012 is $5000.00.  This will be my 1st ATV purchase so I am trying to make the best decision I can..  I appreciate ANY input

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I used to have a 1998 Honda foreman 450S, and if you're looking at a utility ATV like you are I would definitely go with a Honda.  Between the 2, does one have a locking front differential (true 4x4)?  The reason I ask is the '98 I had it said it was 4x4, but when the rear tires started slipping (if I was pulling something heavy) only 1 front tire would have power, and it was always the one that had the least amount of traction.  I ended up getting rid of mine because of that, and went with a bigger ATV with real 4x4.

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my '09 honda foreman has a straight rear axle so I'm guessing the '06 does? Does the '12? Straight axle I believe can haul more weight vs independent rear suspension.  Also, those ES models had a bad year or two and not sure which ones..make sure they shift properly.  But given what you said, I'd purchase the '12. Honda's make the best ATV in regards to reliability. Our '98 has never seen a shop or needed work done! 

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I have a '03 450 ES with about 1k miles. I use it ice fishing, hauling stuff, very little trail riding. I did have some issues with the ES but found that it really needs a well charged battery and it works great. I now keep it on a tender when I am not there, and it works great, about 99% of the time. When super cold, like -10, I do need it to warm up a bit if it has been sitting out, before the ES will kick in. There is a setting I need to check and adjust but I have not done it yet.

It is tough, tows/pulls a ton, and I use mine like a pack mule :)  Our farmer friends in NoDak only use hondas for their work atv's on a big farm, that and JD Gators, but they have a Canam and Polaris but they never use those for working, just for playing, as they told us they couldn't depend on them.... not that I know other than what they tell us. They use the ES models, but the newer one has ES and auto, and boy is that nice to drive! Smooth and light and nimble and tough.

I like mine, but if wanting to trail ride I would get something else, mine ain't a smooth rider with that solid rear axle and heavy drop-basket on rear, haha! Good luck.

FWIW, I had choice of two, a 03 and 04, with the 03 having only like 70 miles or something - I took the older but fewer miles one.

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I would look at both. Providing they are both in excellent shape I would go with whichever you can get a better deal on. There were very little if any change from 2006 to 2012. Without seeing them I would go for the 2006 because it has less miles. But both are pretty low for a Honda. I personally have a 1997 Foreman 400 and I would never part with it. Honda makes the most bullet proof quad on the market PERIOD!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for the replies. Update: after looking at some used machines I have decided to spend a little more and get a new one. Going with a 2016 Rancher.  Thanks again for all the replies. 

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • On C/list now post 2hrs ago.  That will plow some food plots for yeah. Talk um down a bit. 😉   Polaris Sportsman 6x6- ONLY 500 miles - $4,500 Registration card in hand and ready to go . 2005 Polaris sportsman 6x6. 500 cc. Runs great , carb just gone through , spark plug replaced. Brand new battery. ONLY 500 original miles . Comes with plow and winch .    
    • C/List is dying with not that many wheelers or sleds posted as there use to be. I know some folks don't want to get on Facebook, but Facebook Market place is the site to look on now. Tons of them listed. You could join, look for what you want, then get off before the relatives find out!  Lol   I picked up a 2009 Polaris Sportsman 500HO almost spotless with only about 450 miles on it last fall for $3500. It does take some digging and price wrangling, I looked at a few before I found this one. He wanted $3,800 for it. Good Luck.
    • If nonresident, the first 2 seasons can be tough to draw. The closest I have drawn was the C season.
    • Mileage can be relative.....my last wheeler had 10,000+ miles on it and I sold it to a friend. He is still riding it with over 13,000. Since that time I have put over 6000 on my current one. I was going to update this year but decided against it since they are so hard to come by right now. (and I still love this one)  I am admittedly a diehard Honda owner and have never and likely wouldn’t shop for anything else. I’ve had 13 different ATVs in the 44 years I’ve owned them and to this day not one has ever had a warranty visit. I think that speaks volumes.  I don’t baby my machine, it’s seen it’s share of mud 😉 but I maintain it well. I’d have no hesitation to take it anywhere, or sell it to a friend. Rundrave gave you some good sound advice for shopping, but don’t let mileage be your main determining factor. Well-maintained is better than low miles in many cases.  I do repairs on ATVs for friends, relatives etc, and aside from general appearance , the main things that I’d watch for on older machines is loose or noisy wheel bearings, brakes that don’t work well or drag, cv axles and boots and seals. Look at fluids, especially front and rear differentials, engine oil and antifreeze if it’s a liquid cooled machine. As far as tires, meh, I personally pulled off my new stock ones and replaced them before it had even been out of the garage, so the stock ones are like brand new. People replace them for all sorts of reasons including where they ride and what they use it for. 
    • Its hard to say, 1k miles in mud and beaten on could be worse than a well maintained machine with 5k that saw easy use.   I always look at the seat,  the exhaust pipe and tires. If the seat is worn, has holes etc it been ridden hard. If you can still read the logo and it doesn't have any rips or tears that says a lot.  If the exhaust header pipe and muffler is rusty its seen a lot of mud and water. If the tires are not OEM it had the original tires worn off. What did they replace them with and why? If they replaced it with big mud tires they rode in mud etc. Talk to the owner, make sure they kept up on maintenance. You will get a good feel for how it was used. Old man that just checked fields and livestock but high miles or young guy that mud rode with his buddies etc.   For under $5k I would just suggest looking for a machine  with EFI thats shaft drive . Carbs are great and most have pull start as a back up but I would have a hard time trusting an old carb unless your not afraid to dive into one yourself. Stay away from anything with chains and sprockets. They were unreliable and I wouldn't buy a one new off the showroom floor.
    • Under 5K. Looking at the list of Craig, that puts me in late 90's early 2000's machine for the most part with a few newer in that range.    What is considered high miles for an ATV? Most I see are in the 2000 range. 
    • what's your budget?   any of the newer machines in the last 10yrs will be reliable regardless of brand. get power steering if you can swing it    I am actually shopping hard right now myself. Looking to spend $5k to $7500 but prices are crazy right now. If I go any higher I might as well get a SxS. New prices are ridiculous for both.    I am just looking for that low mileage machine that someone never used and wants to get rid of. They are out there someone just keeps gets to them before I do.
    • I've never owned an ATV and ridden very few. I am looking to get a used machine for my hunting property. It will be mainly used for food plot creation and maintenance as well as some snow plowing. Any recommendations or things to look for?
    • shut down facebook      I miss the glory days on here and seeing these builds 
    • I did exactly the same thing, those pictures are invaluable. Mine starts with the bare trailer the day I brought it home. Man, that was a lot of work hours ago.  What needs to be done to get people back on HSO? 
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