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While some may prefer the comforts of a fireplace and a good book on a cold winter’s day, snowmobile fanatics would beg to differ. With more than 1.2 million registered in the United States and 600,000 in Canada, snowmobiles have become a hit for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy the cold.
Snowmobiles aren’t just for hobbyists, though. They are a critical means of transportation for the military, government services, farmers and ranchers, postal delivery workers, and ski patrols all across the North.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for a snowmobile loan to finance the purchase of a new vehicle. We’ll explain how these loans work and cover a few of your options, below.
In this review:
Where to find snowmobile financing
Since the cost of a new snowmobile can be high, snowmobile loans are common. Generally, the most common sources of funding are personal loans or dealership financing. We’ll break down some of your options below.
- Personal loans—easy applications and online financing
- Dealership financing—get your snowmobile and loan from one source
- Credit cards—probably not a good idea
Using a personal loan to purchase a snowmobile
Personal loans are one of the most common financing tools because they are unsecured, you can get funding quickly, and you can use them for just about anything, including financing a snowmobile.
One thing to understand about personal loans is that, as with most forms of financing, your rates will depend largely on your credit. If you have a good credit score, you could probably get a snowmobile loan at a great interest rate. But if your credit is poor, you’ll face higher rates.
We’ll cover a few of your options below, but our list of the best personal loan lenders is a great place to compare more rates and lenders.
LightStream is one of the leading online personal loan lenders, offering loans for almost anything you can imagine. If you have good credit, LightStream’s personal loan is an excellent choice.
- LendEDU rating: 5.00 / 5.00
- Minimum credit score: Not disclosed
- Loan amount: lightstream-perl-40-amountlow – lightstream-perl-40-amounthigh
- Loan terms: lightstream-perl-40-termlengthrange_m
- APRs: lightstream-perl-40-alllow – lightstream-perl-40-allhigh
- Full review: LightStream Personal Loan Review
Marcus is another excellent option, especially for those whose credit is only fair. This will get you higher rates than other borrowers, but you should still be able to get a competitive offer on your snowmobile loan and get your fundinig quickly.
- LendEDU rating: 5.00 / 5.00
- Minimum credit score: marcus-perl-56-mincreditscore
- Loan amount: marcus-perl-56-amountlow – marcus-perl-56-amounthigh
- Loan terms: marcus-perl-56-termlengthrange_m
- APRs: marcus-perl-56-alllow – marcus-perl-56-allhigh
- Full review: Marcus Personal Loan Review
If you’re looking for an online snowmobile loan and you have bad credit, OneMain Financial is a good option. However, those with bad credit will face higher rates on personal loans, so you should explore other options, such as dealer financing, and compare rates with what OneMain offers.
- LendEDU rating: 5.00 / 5.00
- Loan amount: onemainfinancial-perl-51-amountlow – onemainfinancial-perl-51-amounthigh
- Loan terms: onemainfinancial-perl-51-termlengthrange_m
- APRs: onemainfinancial-perl-51-alllow – onemainfinancial-perl-51-allhigh
- Full review: OneMain Financial Personal Loan Review
How we rated these snowmobile loans
LendEDU rates personal loan lenders based on the weighted average of a variety of factors, such as the lender’s BBB rating, loan amounts, interest rates, and the credit profile each lender targets. You can learn more about our methodology here.
Dealer financing and specialized lenders
Another common form of snowmobile financing is an installment loan through a power equipment loan specialist. These lenders specialize in financing power equipment such as motorcycles, snowmobiles, watercraft, all-terrain vehicles, and the tow trailers needed to transport them.
Financing is often obtained through power equipment dealers who partner with lenders; but consumers can also obtain these loans directly from the lender. Every now and then, manufacturers offer special factory financing as well.
If you’re buying your snowmobile from a dealership, ask if they offer financing. They may finance your purchase directly or refer you to a partner lender.
However, if you’re interested in using dealership financing, make sure you compare their rates with another option, such as one of the personal loan lenders above, to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Some dealers may pressure you into taking a bad offer by getting you to sign on the spot.
A credit card is probably not a good option
Many snowmobile purchases are made with credit cards, which could be the most expensive form of financing available, since the average credit card interest rate is around 17%.
If you’re hoping to offset the higher rate using a rewards credit card, it will be a temporary offset at best. The ongoing interest charges will negate the benefits unless the balance is paid off quickly.
The best option for credit card users is to use a balance transfer credit card with a 0% APR introductory period. However, unless you are able to pay the full balance before the expiration of the promotional period, you will begin to incur the accrued interest charges on the purchase.
What are the costs of snowmobiling?
Generally, the amount of money you pay for a snowmobile depends primarily on the type of riding you do. Snowmobilers who stick with trails and gentle open areas don’t need as much power or sturdiness as those who enjoy more extreme riding.
Here are a few factors that will affect the cost of your snowmobile.
The type of vehicle you want
According to Snowmobile.org, novice snowmobiler could pay as little as $3,000 for a new, 120cc, four-stroke snowmobile. More experienced snowmobilers who can handle speeds up to 60 MPH, might pay an average of $9,000 for a more powerful two-seater vehicle with more stability.
Thrill-seekers who want to test their own limits can buy a snowmobile with many of the elements of a lightweight racing motorcycle for around $15,000.
Other gear & equipment
The costs don’t stop at your vehicle, however. Active snowmobilers average more than 1,200 miles per year on and off the trails, spending as much as $4,000 a year for trail fees, transportation costs, insurance, maintenance, and equipment.
For example, if you do extreme snowmobiling and you need high-quality protective clothing, an outfit could cost as much as $800. Of course, these costs will vary a lot based on your needs and preferences.
Regardless, snowmobiling is definitely not a poor man’s recreation. At an average cost of about $12,000 (including tow trailer), it is no small investment; and because many families own at least two snowmobiles, the costs can climb to more than $20,000.
That’s why many people turn to snowmobile financing.
Bottom line: Compare snowmobile loans to find the best rates
The preferred financing option may be factory financing that includes a rebate and a low rate. The next best option would be to obtain your financing through a personal loan lender, then negotiating your best cash offer with a dealer.
If you are unable to qualify for good rates with either form of financing and are looking at a high-interest credit card as your financing source, your best bet would be to wait until you can save more money towards your purchase, or to take steps to improve your credit score before reapplying.
Author: Daniel Caughill
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