How to Buy a Used Motor Scooter

by Contributor

With gas prices fluctuating and so many people concerned about the affect of fossil fuels on the environment, more people than ever are in the market for motor scooters. To save money, consider a good quality used scooter.

Research the various makes and models of scooters on the market today. Everything from the top-of-the-line Vespa to the "maybe it's really welded together, maybe it's not" Chinese scooter is available if you want to buy new. You, however, want to buy used--which means you'll save money, but you'll have less to choose from. Decide which scooters you'd be happy to own, and which you are definitely not interested in.

Scour the internet ads in your area. Scooters have been selling so well since the summer of 2008, newspaper ads are typically not even worth the seller's time. Even in smaller, less-urban cities, scooters have been known to sell in less than 24 hours of being listed. Check eBay, craigslist, and any other community site you have access to.

Take note of how much scooters are selling for, by make and mileage. Have a look at your budget. How much can you afford to spend? What size engine do you require? Licensing and insurance requirements vary by state--you will need to look these up, as well. Luckily, scooter enthusiasts web forums can really help you out with this research (and you might even find someone with a used scooter to sell).

Once you know how much you can spend, you have the cash at the ready, and you know what kind of used scooter you want exactly, watch the ads closely for your scooter to pop up. As soon as a suitable-sounding bike is listed, contact the seller for a test-drive.

Things to look for: does it start easily? Is anything loose? Is there any rust? Does it come with a trunk? How many people can ride it? Examine the tires. What kind of fuel does it take, and how do you add oil? Do the brakes feel tight? Do you enjoy riding it? Make sure and ask why the seller is getting rid of it. If you are looking for something like a luggage rack or a cart to tow behind the scooter for running errands, ask the seller if they have any recommendations.

Ask how and when the bike has been serviced. Are there service centers in the area? If you have been researching all the makes in your area, you have probably already familiarized yourself with the local service centers for various scooter brands.

If you're sure this is the bike for you, make your offer. I suggest offering cash, and a little less than they are asking, because they might accept, and then you've saved some $! But with most scooters selling for full price even on the used market, be prepared with enough $ to cover the asking price.


  • check Even though the scooter market is hot right now, don't just buy the first bike that comes along. If it doesn't seem like it's in good condition, if it may require costly repairs, take a pass.
  • check How will you get your scooter home? Make sure you've brought a large enough vehicle, and someone to help you load it.


  • close Scooter theft is a serious problem. Consider insurance, even if it's not required in your state.
  • close Helmets are vital! Law or not law, buy a DOT helmet. The first time you take your scooter out and get stuck in the rain, you'll be glad your head is protected in case of an accident.

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About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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