Polaris is a pioneer when it comes to off-road vehicles such as ATVs and UTVs. They have a massive client base, and they do have a successful lineup to back that up. Even with all this success, you cannot overlook the fact that the company has been plagued by Polaris clutch problems for a long time.

Polaris Clutch Problems. The recent models of the Polaris Ranger 1000 and the Polaris Pro 900 had some major clutch issues and received necessary recalls. With the Ranger 1000, there is a chance that you’d run into a loose spider nut down the road as well. Apart from the above, with the General 1000 and the Ranger 500, you could run into a couple of minor issues, that isn’t going to be costly.

Due to this issue, some models are more consistently affected than others.  Let us look at some of the problems that you could encounter with the clutch on your Polaris. Furthermore, at the end of this, you will know how to perform required repairs and their costs.

Also read: Polaris UTV Reliability, Check Your Model Here!

polaris clutch problems

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1. Inadvertent Motion – Polaris Ranger XP 1000

Releasing the clutch on a regular ATV that is not in gear would immobilize the machine. This ensures that the ATV does not move without the rider’s concession. But with the ranger XP 1000, you will face a dilemma if you expect your ATV to stay stationary once you park it.

One of the owners explained the problem with the XP 1000 clutch as follows.,

“I have a 2020 Ranger XP 1000 with a strange Polaris clutch problem. When I decelerate and try to come to a stop, the Ranger keeps rolling. I feel like Fred Flintstone that I need to drag my feet to stop the machine.”

As long as you are mounted on the ATV, you can try to stop the ATV using the brakes if it does roll out of control. But imagine you park your ATV on a slight incline and walk away from it. Your ATV will start rolling down the hill, and it will eventually stop at a crash.

This is not a rare issue with the Polaris Ranger, either. Many owners have had the exact same Polaris clutch problem. So, is there a solution to this issue?

Spending on a mechanic to inspect the problem is unnecessary since Polaris issued a recall for this problem. According to Polaris, the problem is caused by a clutch component that was manufactured incorrectly. This causes the engine braking feature to fail to result in unexpected vehicle motion, thus posing a crash hazard.

A total of 15,000 vehicles were recalled and Polaris instructed owners to immediately bring the affected vehicles to the nearest dealer to schedule a repair.

Also read: 10 x Most Common Polaris Ranger XP 1000 Problems!

2. Primary Clutch Failure – Polaris PRO XP

In this specific model of the Polaris built between 2020 and 2021, a manufacturing defect led to an issue with the primary clutch. Polaris described this problem as an increased risk of primary clutch failure.

In affected ATVs, the primary clutch failure could lead to debris or clutch components being ejected from the clutch housing.

According to Polaris, this condition typically occurs under high-load, low-speed conditions (e.g., high boost vehicle launch, high RPM belt slip, launching with simultaneous brake and throttle application).

A total of 18,400 vehicles were affected and recalled by Polaris.

There are a few symptoms that you need to keep an eye out for in order to notice a failing clutch. But if you can figure out the problem before it escalates, you could save a lot of money when doing the necessary repairs.

If your clutch is completely shattered, you would have to rebuild it or replace it. Parts for rebuilding cost around $400. With labor, you are looking at a bill of over $600. The cost of replacing the entire unit is also the same. You should be able to find a replacement anywhere between $550 to $600. Since the labor costs will be lower for a replacement, this might be a better solution.

Also read: 8 x Most Common Polaris RZR Pro XP Problems!

3. Primary Clutch Stuck – Polaris Ranger 500

Though this is not a frequent problem seen in Polaris, the few times this issue has been recorded have been with the Ranger 500.

When the primary clutch is stuck, you won’t be able to ride your UTV. Your ride will start just fine, idling won’t be an issue either, but as soon as you try to shift gears and drive, your UTV would stall. Starting in gear wouldn’t work either.

This is what customers have been facing due to dislodged clutch belt,

“When I shift into reverse from P, it goes in really hard, the Ranger jumps and the engine dies immediately. When I shift into L or H from N, the gears rattle a bit and it jumps a little and dies immediately.”

The repair itself is not that hard. You need to remove the belt cover and inspect the clutch. Suppose the primary clutch is keeping the belt engaged. Once the clutch is exposed, manually disengage it.

If the problem occurs when you are stuck in low or high gear, be mindful when you drive. If you don’t drive according to the gear you are stuck in, you could end up shredding the belt. This could turn a seemingly easy repair, into one that is costly and time-consuming.

Also read: 6 Most Common Polaris Ranger 500 Problems!

4. Loose Spider Nut – Polaris Ranger XP 1000 And Polaris RZR

A spider nut, which is also known as a jack nut, is a component in the clutch of your ATV. It helps keep the system intact. This is not a piece of equipment that you work on often. You could pull off your clutch and put it back together without meddling with the spider nut. Yet, even if it is out of place by the slightest proportions, you would notice the effects immediately.

Here are a few effects of a loose spider nut,

  • Excessively high RPMs at low speeds
  • Even at max RPMs, you won’t get a lot of speed
  • Clutch belt slips under high loads

Due to these symptoms, it is safe to say that you won’t be riding your Polaris a lot with a loose spider nut.

The repair seems so simple. All you have to do is add some adhesive and tighten the spider nut, thus designating it back to place.

Start by removing the 6 nuts attaching the primary cover. Once those bolts are off, you should expose the spider nut. Upon inspection, you would see that the spide nut is tightly secured. Tight is a relative term when it comes to the spider assembly, it has almost a 300 ft-lb torque spec.

To put it back into place, you are going to need some special tools. You will need to purchase a spider socket and a clutch holding tool, along with a 300 ft-lb torque wrench. With these and some muscle,  you should be able to tighten the spider nut.

If your Polaris were covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, do not hesitate to take it to the dealership. They should be able to inspect it and perform the necessary repairs. Otherwise, you should be expecting to spend between $250 to $400 on tools.

Also read: 6 x Most Common Polaris RZR 1000 Problems!

5. Bad Clutch Bearings – Polaris General 1000

Clutch bearings don’t last forever. Especially the one-way bearing. But as long as you maintain your ride properly, it should last for a fairly long time.

With Polaris, especially the General 1000, there are multiple reports of premature failure of clutch bearings. You should be able to easily get to 5 figures in mileage with your stock clutch bearings.

When clutch bearings fail, you would notice clunking or rattling sounds whenever you are trying to shift. The sounds would be intense during take-off and at high RPMs.

According to one customer, he noticed the symptoms of failing clutch bearings with less than 15 hours on the ride. At around 55 hours, the bearings were entirely shot, and the UTV was no longer drivable.

Though this is not an issue that occurs regularly, you need to be aware of this. As long as you are comfortable doing repairs on your clutch, you should be able to repair the bearings yourself. As long as you have the necessary tools for the job, the repairs won’t cost you a fortune, but it will take some time.

If you get the repairs done by a professional, labor costs can add up. You could end up spending anywhere from $200 to $500. If your bearings fail prematurely, you should be able to get the repairs done under the warranty if you take your Polaris to a dealer.

Also read: Most Common Polaris General 1000 Problems!