What kind of problems does a Polaris Ranger 500 normally have? In this blog, we’ve outlined all the most important things you should watch for when you’re in the market for a Polaris Ranger 500. In the rest of the article, we’ll discuss every single problem in detail. Furthermore, we’ll tell you how to identify it, fix it and how much it costs to fix. Read on!

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

polaris ranger 500 problems

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1. Fuel Pump Issues

A faulty fuel pump is one of the most common UTV issues. If your Ranger struggles to start, sputters, backfires, or shuts down while driving, it is likely a fuel pump issue.

For example, a customer reports, 

“I was driving along a track when my ranger 500 suddenly died, lost power, and came to a halt. I tried to start it, but all I got was a lot of cranking. I did note that the fuel pump did not turn on every time I turned the key. I looked for sparks and checked and replaced all the fuses. I poured some fuel into the cylinder, turned it on, and it fired up. How are you going to test this?”

The fuel pump wears down over time and the fuel pressure drops below the factory setting. When your pump fails, your Ranger becomes less enjoyable to drive due to sluggish upper RPM, decreased peak speed, and poor acceleration. A faulty fuel pump can potentially cause severe engine damage by not supplying enough fuel.

To ensure that the fuel pump is functioning properly, install a fuel pressure gauge at the tank outlet and test the fuel pump pressure during normal operation. When the fuel pump is cold, the pressure may appear normal, but as the pump heats up, the pressure may drop. Also, inspect and clean the vent pipe on the tank regularly. Clogged fuel tank vent lines and other minor fuel system problems are frequently overlooked.

OEM fuel pump replacements cost approximately ‎$169.98. The Pump replacements include color instructions and everything you need to get started. You can install it in 30 minutes with simple hand tools.

Also read: 5 x Most Common Polaris Fuel Pump Problems!

2. Starting Problem

Your ranger 500 may experience starting issues due to various problems, including low or defective battery, lack of air or fuel, faulty ignition, damaged kill switch, or worn-out spark plug. For example, a customer says,

“Our Ranger 500 is having trouble starting, and I believe it is the switch, but it could be something else. When we turn the key to ignition, even if the fuel pump kicks on and all other indicators suggest everything is fine (lights, etc.), when we turn the key to ignition, even with the brake pedal pressed in, nothing happens. There was no click, no noise, only silence.”

To diagnose the problem, pay attention to how your machine behaves when you try to start it. To begin, ensure the run switch is on, the Ranger is in neutral, the battery is fully charged and in good operating order, and the solenoid clicks when you turn the key.

Step 1: If there is no clicking, ensure the solenoid is powered by the key switch. If there isn’t one, look at the switch.

Step 2: If the switch is in good working order, measure the solenoid connections while turning the key to ensure you have 12 volts on both sides. If the problem persists, clean both terminals, reattach the wires, and retest. If the problem persists, replace the faulty solenoid.

Step 3: Check the voltage at the starter motor if the solenoid is fine. Check the starter’s wire lug and the non-powered solenoid lug for continuity. Connect a jumper cable to the positive terminal and the starter motor lug if there is continuity.

Step 4: Remove and rebuild the starter motor if it does not turn.

Step 5: Check the spark plug for a strong spark if the starter motor starts on. Otherwise, the ignition has a defect.

Step 6: Examine the fuel system if the ignition is working well. Test if gasoline is flowing by pulling the fuel line and starting the engine. Inspect the fuel and air filters for obstructions.

Also read: 6 x Polaris Starter (Solenoid) Problems!

3. Shifting Problems

Shifting problems can arise from various causes, including shift cables or drive belt issues, rust, dirty clutches, weak clutch spring, worn EBS washers, or worn or shredded drive belts. The problems may also stem from an aftermarket drive belt, drive clutch defects, worn one-way bearing, and clutches misalignment because of an offset belt and a loose or defective engine mount.

A customer complains that,

“My 2014 Ranger 500, whether running or not, has become extremely difficult to shift. I can’t tell whether it is running or not when it comes to shifting. It can only shift with difficulty because it’s so stiff. I unhooked the shift cable at the side of the transmission, and it’s completely free moving, so that’s not it. I know it’s not too high because I adjusted the idle. The unit has over 300 hours, and I always treat well.”

If you can’t shift gears when the engine is off, the gear connection is most likely worn or out of adjustment. Often, gear shift problems that only occur when the engine is running stem from clutch or belt issues or a high idle. An offset drive belt, worn-out EBS washers, and misaligned clutches are the main causes of the CVT not disengaging properly or engaging too soon.

You will also experience gear shift problems if the clutches are dirty, the clutch spring is getting weak, or the belt is not well-adjusted to the drive clutch. An OEM Polaris Ranger 500 standard duty CVT belt costs around $99.95, while heavy-duty belts are $139.95 to $169.95.

Also read: 6 x Most Common Polaris Transmission Problems!

4. Compression Release Problems

If your Ranger doesn’t start and the starter, relay, and battery check out, the compression release is likely the culprit. The compression release feature reduces the effort required by the starter to crank the engine. It’s a small bump on the camshaft’s lobe. It works by opening the valve slightly earlier than usual to allow excess compression to flow off.

A customer reports, 

“My Polaris Ranger 500 would not start. I tried turning it over with the electric starter and a fully charged battery, but it wouldn’t turn. I remove the spark plug and use my compression tester, setting the first stroke to 30 pounds and the second stroke to 60 pounds, but the compressed air does not seem to escape. I need to let go of the air to make it turn again. Do you suppose I’ve got a jammed valve or valves?”

Compression Release issues are common with older 500s. Valve lash adjustment is essential for optimum compression release function. Valve adjustment is a reasonably straightforward activity that requires only a few tools. Once you master it, you should include it in your annual maintenance plan.

5. ECM problems

If your engine is stalling, misfiring, or experiencing other performance problems, it may be a symptom of a faulty engine control module (ECM). An ECM is one of the essential engine parts. It interprets data from various sensors and controls multiple systems to ensure everything is well.

The ECM does a system check when it first starts up to ensure proper performance. If anything isn’t working properly, the machine may go into limp mode.

6. Electrical problems

A low/defective battery, a loose connection, poor ground, the kill switch, fuse, Ignition coil, or a starter with worn brushes can cause electrical problems. However, it may be an intermittent electrical problem that is difficult to fix.

A customer lamented that,

“I’m working on a 2005 Ranger 500. Nothing happens when I turn on the key. The battery is brand new, and I have sufficient juice to reach the first termination block. The power splits there and travels to the ECU, where it is meant to go to the rest of the house, but it doesn’t. I’m curious if anyone else has had this issue. I don’t have any lights.”

In such a case, open the ECU up and check if the little black electrodes are damaged. Find the electrodes online and solder them in. They cost only around $10. Polaris may tell you that you need to replace the ECU because it can’t be repaired.

If you can’t figure the issue out and fix it yourself, look for a dealership with a bunch of guys who have worked on them for years. You need the assistance of a trained, experienced mechanic for this type of problem.

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