Most Common Polaris Ranger Problems (and How to Fix Them)

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Don’t get me wrong: Polaris Ranger is an excellent line-up with some remarkable utility side-by-side vehicles. The list of options is still growing, with the newest addition being electric vehicles (EVs). 

Nevertheless, they’re certainly not without flaws. Some models are riddled with issues (think of the XP 1000 recalls). From the clutch to differentials to the software — users have had to go through many rounds of troubleshooting.  

Red and black Polaris Ranger 1000

Here are some of the most common Polaris Ranger Problems as far as UTVs are concerned. Of course, you’ll have possible solutions.

Noise and Vibration in the Differential

Several users have complained that their Polaris Rangers’ front differential causes vibrations. In most cases, that occurs during the 4-wheel drive mode (4WD). This has been seen on models like the XP 1000, the High Lifter, and many more.

The vibration can worsen with time and even affect the driving experience if left unsolved. Let’s explore the reasons, shall we?

  • One of the reasons behind this issue might be a leaking pinion seal or, in worse cases — bearings within it coming apart.

Once this seal starts leaking, the fluid level keeps going down. Consequently, that increases the friction and affects the differential negatively.

  • The driveshaft may also be a catalyst, as a shaft bent out of place can hurt the seal and cause it to leak.
  • Corroded splines can also be the culprits and can make the differentials behave unexpectedly.

The Fix

The solution may require one of a few things — you’d either have to repair the pinion seal, fix the driveshaft, and/or replace the bearings within the differential.

Repairing the spline may be another way out. Consider going to an expert if the issue persists after trying out the fixes.  

Here’s a guide that can help with replacing the pinion seal:

If users keep driving their UTVs without addressing this problem first, it can result in out-of-place rollers and bearings that’ll wreak havoc. Early troubleshooting is, therefore, vital.

Random Throttle Cut Outs — Faulty TPS

Anyone unlucky enough to face a random throttle cut out on their UVT knows what a throttle position sensor is (many Ranger 700 XP users, for instance). This sensor determines how far the throttle valve is open concerning the position of the throttle.

Given its influence, it’s often related to issues such as a bogged engine or cold starts. Rough idling may be another symptom.

  • For most users, the TPS turned out to be faulty — or dead. A few models came with “Okay” sensors, but the calibration was the culprit.
  • Limited airflow may cause this, as the engine keeps choking for air. If that is the case, the engine can bog down every time you apply throttle. A choked-up carburetor or main jet can also affect the engine in this manner.

The Fix

If resetting the sensor doesn’t alleviate the problem, replacing the TPS sensor should fix it. Additionally, cleaning the clogged-up air filter or carburetor (if any) can help.

Engine Misfires or Starts and Idles Roughly

This one isn’t unheard of, either. Users have reported their UTV’s engine either idles roughly or fail to start up altogether. These issues are often related and can be traced back to a few problems. Let’s list the causes one by one.

  • More often than not, it’s a simple spark plug failure. The symptoms are evident if that’s the issue. It can start or idle roughly, it might occasionally misfire, and sometimes it doesn’t accelerate the way you expect it to.
  • Another possible reason might be a clogged-up air filter. If that’s the problem, the engine won’t have a sufficient air supply, and fuel residue will turn into soot. As a result, the engine can show the same symptoms mentioned above.

Funnily enough, an engine with a clogged air filter and soot residue can prevent a spark plug from working (that isn’t the only reason, however).  

The Fix

First, check whether the spark plug has any corrosion or physical damage. It’s very common. If that’s the case, the spark plug needs some cleaning. Here’s a straightforward guide —

Additionally, check if there’s a slight physical gap within the plug, without which the spark wouldn’t form. Re-establishing the gap shouldn’t be too hard. And if nothing works, try replacing the spark plugs.

If changing the plug doesn’t work, you may have to replace the coil.

Then come the air filters in the engine. After ensuring the engine has cooled off, take the filter out. I recommend using a cleaning solution for the process, as it makes things quick and efficient.

After soaking the filter in the solution, rinse it off. Oil the filter if you need to, and then reinstall it. Here’s a detailed walkthrough:

Fuel Pump Troubles

Problems in the EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) pump are common in many Ranger models (like the Ranger 570). The symptoms include a bogging engine, sudden throttle cut downs, backfires, or clogs in the fuel pump.

If you have a clogged fuel pump, you may need to push down on the accelerator like your life depends on it.

  • Note that a bogging engine can have other reasons, and I’m assuming that you’ve cleared any doubts with the TPS or fuel and air filters.  
  • If the fuel pump is worn out, it can also result in slower acceleration and a lower top speed — as the engine isn’t receiving sufficient fuel.
  • Some of the Ranger pumps also seem to have bad connections to the fuel pickup tube, while others show signs of overheating.

The Fix

If the pump is worn out, it won’t be able to maintain enough pressure for the engine (ideally around 40-50 psi for many, although it can be higher or lower depending on the vehicle). The easiest way to determine this is with a pressure gauge.

See if the pressure is below the requirements. In that case, replace the fuel pump.

An overheating fuel pump can also fail to perform. A simple cooling fan might do the trick if the overheating is caused by outside temperature or the EFI running for long periods. If it’s a deeper problem, the pump might require a replacement again.

If the connection to the pickup tube is faulty, try redoing the clamp. The clamp may be problematic, too, in which case it needs replacement.

Drive Belt Issues

For UTVs, the drive belt can be a troublesome component. Many users have complained about their belts barely lasting a few hundred miles.

For some, an awkward, clunky sound gets worse when braking or accelerating (or even driving in the four-wheel mode).

In other cases, the belt keeps slipping and prevents you from driving like usual.

  • One of the biggest reasons behind belt issues is the UTV’s clutch. If you don’t have the clutch properly aligned or tuned, it can make the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) belt fail.
  • Incorrectly installing the belt can prevent it from properly working, even if it’s brand new. If the cords are visible near the edge of the belt, that’s an indication of poor installation.
  • Heat is a belt’s mortal enemy. Extreme belt speeds, pushing the throttle even though the wheels aren’t moving, and driving with the brakes pressed can all result in excessive heat.
    Heat results in burn-in, reducing the consistency in the belt’s performance along with its lifetime.
  • If the CVT belt keeps slipping, the chances are that it has moisture in it. This is harmful to the belt, and trying to increase friction by driving the throttle up can make it worse.
  • Having particles or debris in the belt is another possible issue. Any foreign particles prevent the belt from working properly and can damage it from within.

The Fix

The first possibility is your belt has run its course if you’ve been using it for a while. Look at how often the manufacturer suggests replacing the belt and changing it if necessary. Here’s a nifty guide for belt replacement:

Check the clutch’s alignment. It’s often a culprit. This is a requirement, especially if you’ve changed the tires’ size. Additionally, check if there are any foreign particles near the sheave of the clutch.

Check for water or debris if the belt doesn’t have enough friction. Stop driving the vehicle when you have this issue, as driving can worsen it. Get rid of all the moisture and particles. Check if a poor belt seal allows them to enter and fix the issue in the root. 

Consider replacing the belt with a heavy-duty one if you want to drive on rougher terrains. These can handle moisture and harsh environments with comparative ease.

My Last Words

The Polaris Ranger line-up is great, but it hasn’t been without its flaws. The common Polaris ranger problems mentioned above are perhaps some of the most common Ranger UTV issues you’ll encounter. Remember to cross-check the problem’s sources before coming upon a decision.

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