What kind of problems does a Polaris Sportsman 1000 High Lifter 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 Sportsman 1000 High Lifter. 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!

Even with all these problems, the High Lifter is still one of the best ATVs to take on muddy trails. A few modifications to the axle and the radiator cover and a few tweaks to waterproof your ATV and you are good to go. If you are riding through water, please keep in mind the dielectric grease.

Also read: Are Polaris ATVs Reliable, Check Your Model Here!

Let us look at some of the problems that you could encounter with the Polaris Sportsman 1000 High Lifter. Furthermore, at the end of this, you will know how to perform required repairs and their costs

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polaris Sportsman 1000 Highlifter Problems

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1. Axle Failure

Axles take a lot of stress when you are driving through rough terrain, especially when you are driving through mud. It is true that in ATVs axles don’t last as long as they would in a car, but you should still be able to survive with one for at least 6 months. This is not the case, with the Polaris Sportsman 1000 High Lifter.

The axles in the High Lifter are way less durable compared to any other ATV. Almost every single High Lifter owner will agree with this statement, as they’ve had to replace their axle multiple times on their ATVs.

One owner went ahead and made this statement,

“I’ve broken one front axle. Replaced both, keep one stock one for a trail spare.”

When you are suggested to have an axle on your ATV when you take it for a ride, similar to a spare tire, you know it is bad. But if you are not constantly riding through a thick layer of mud, you might not need to carry a spare axle all the time. That being said, keeping one stocked in your garage might be a good idea. 

If you are looking for OEM parts for replacement, you should expect to pay between $100 and $150 for an axle. Or, you can go for an upgrade with an aftermarket axle, which can be much more durable. An axle from a reputed manufacturer can cost twice as much if not more compared to the OEM axle. Before buying after-market parts, do your research regarding their reliability.

2. Flooding

This problem comes down to fit and finish. Not all Polaris High Lifter seem to make way for water to flood the ATV. But some owners say that there are less durable through which water seeps in, causing havoc to internal components.

“Put it In a mudhole, and it did great Getting through until I got out, my Highlighter had lost power (running on one cylinder) due to water seeking into the spark plugs.”

Similarly, another customer mentioned that water went through the clutch housing when riding through a moderately deep puddle. The CVT comes out of the factory barely sealed off. This causes the transmission to flood often. You need to seal this off right after you purchase the ATV.

Even if you do not have these openings when you buy the ATV, there is a chance that you’d develop cracks with time.

“Purchased this unit new. Took it out, put 50 miles on trails then washed It, noticed a bunch of hairline cracks in my engine casing. Took to warranty nothing they could do!”

Though these cracks might not look significant, they could allow water to get inside the engine, which can be disastrous.

Though it may not be fatal as other areas of your ATV, you can also get water inside your headlight. There are different ways to fix this, but replacing your headlight with an LED light is also an option.

Water seeping into the engine or finding its way to the electronics is not the worst part. Finding the source which the water used to enter is the hard part. These openings are barely visible when you look at them.

Thankfully, if you can find these openings, the fix is quite easy and cost-free. You do not have to replace the entire housing. All you need to do is use some silicone to cover these openings. But if your ATV is still covered by the warranty, you are better off leaving the repairs to the dealership.

3. Low-Quality Parts

A customer said,

“First time taking out the bike, the front driveshaft broke, the pinion cover broke, the front differential exploded, and the rear u joint broke. All within an hour of riding, and it was super easy riding, not like I was riding hard at all. Every single new sportsman that my buddies have had the same thing happen to.”

Polaris doesn’t make its own parts. Most of the parts equipped in Polaris vehicles come from other companies, and Polaris merely acts as an assembly line. No matter what Polaris-manufactured vehicle you own, there is a high probability you’ve had trouble with a shoddy component.

These parts might not be a major problem with most of the other models, but they greatly affect the 1000 High Lifter. The Sportsman 1000 High Lifter is a powerful machine, and it is often taken through the most brutal terrain. When the parts that make up these machines are weak, they tend to break down easily.

When customers pay upwards of $20,000 for the machine, they expect the best version of it possible. Polaris needs to up their quality to ensure the reliability of these ATVs.

Also read: 5 x Common Polaris Sportsman 1000 High Lifter Problems!

4. Overheating

This issue comes down to the poor design of the Polaris Sportsman 1000 High Lifter. The radiator does not get enough airflow to keep the engine temperature controlled. Combine that with a powerful engine that the High Lifter has, and it is bound to overheat.

Whether you’d run into this problem or not depends on a couple of factors.

  1. The area you live in would determine the temperatures outdoor and the weather patterns.
  2. Driving habits, if you constantly drive at high RPMs, the High Lifter radiator cannot handle it.

The simplest solution is for you to cut a few holes into the radiator cover. The extra holes should provide increased air supply, thus allowing the radiator to work more efficiently. It is the simplest and cheapest way to fix this issue.

But this solution comes with a price. With the holes cut up into the radiator cover, you’d be exposing it to all the nasty stuff outside. This means that if you ride through mud, you will be hauling a lot of mud back and covering your radiator.

So, every time you get home from a ride, you’d have to take off the cover and clean the radiator. Failure to do so will do more harm than good. The layer of mud could reduce the airflow through the radiator even more than the actual cover did.

Other than that, you can try changing your coolant. The type and brand of the coolant you use can dictate the heat of your engine. Try switching to a coolant that is capable of reducing your engine temperature more proactively.

Also read: 6 x Polaris Overheating Problems and how to Fix it!

5. Requires High Maintenance

There is no denying that Polaris vehicles require way more maintenance. The same is seen in the 1000 High Lifter.

The 1000 High Lifter is thirsty for grease. You need to constantly lubricate it to make sure the parts last. It is best to smother all the plugs, especially the spark plugs, with dielectric grease. If not, the moment you hit a pool of water, you’d regret it. A customer said,

“I maintain my bike for at least 2 hours after a ride, wash down, grease, waterproof. If you put these Polaris’s up wet, you pay for it in the end.”

This is the type of maintenance your 1000 High Lifter expects. Owners advise that you should check your oil levels after every ride as well. You should be comfortable swapping axles, like changing tires.

All in all, it is safe to say that you have to put a lot of time into maintaining the Sportsman 1000 High Lifter.

Even with all these problems, the High Lifter is still one of the best ATVs to take on muddy trails. A few modifications to the axle and the radiator cover and a few tweaks to waterproof your ATV and you are good to go. If you are riding through water, please keep in mind the dielectric grease.