What kind of problems does a Polaris Sportsman 450 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 450. 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: Are Polaris ATVs Reliable, Check Your Model Here!

Polaris Sportsman 450 Problems

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1. Gear Shifter Issues

The gear shift problems are among the most common Sportsman 450 issues. Some people have reported their ATV being unable to shift the gear properly after a certain period.

For example, a customer says,

“I have a Polaris Sportsman 450 from 2017. When I accelerate in high gear, it doesn’t “shift” allowing me to increase speed while keeping rpm constant. It simply revs to a high RPM while maintaining the “first gear” pace. If I take my foot off the throttle and then accelerate again, it will “shift” allowing me to gain speed.”

The transmission may not shift to reverse mode due to a stuck shift interlock safety switch. It may also be impossible to put the gear in neutral. The issue is that the forward/reverse slider fork shaft holds the shift interlock safety switch in place. This prevents the mechanism from returning to the unlock position.

Some models, such as 2016, may fault with the shift mechanism, which could allow the rider to move from Park to 1st gear without using the handlebar-mounted lever. It can lead the vehicle to roll over, putting the rider and passengers at risk of harm.

Gear shift problems may also arise due to various causes, including dirty clutches, weak clutch spring, Worn or shredded drive belts, or Worn EBS washers. The issues may also occur due to bad one-way bearing, an aftermarket drive belt, and misaligned clutches due to an offset belt and a bad or loose engine mount.

Also read: 5 x Most Common Polaris Clutch Problems!

2. Uneven Power Distribution

Another typical issue with the Polaris Sportsman 450 is uneven distribution of power between the front and rear wheels. It has the potential to destroy the front wheel and differential. Uneven power distribution can also cause the front wheels to rise off the ground, posing a crash hazard.

The problem may stem from a malfunctioning wheel speed sensor, and a skilled mechanic can replace it. In the most cases, the manufacturer has issued recalls to address the issues, which occasionally come with torsional bending in the frame’s center, which is a problem that affects most ATVs.

3. Loss Of Power Steering

The Polaris Sportsman 450 can suffer from a complete loss of power steering. The power steering gives the rider more control while off-roading, making it easier to maneuver the vehicle. The failure of power steering means that no matter how hard you try or what techniques you employ, all you will achieve is making the ATV harder to maneuver.

For example, a customer requests,

“I’m seeking some assistance. My EPS has stopped operating, and the warning light has turned on. It is also throwing codes. I took it to a dealer, but they couldn’t connect the power steering to the digital wrench. I have an appointment with another dealer soon. I was hoping that someone with EPS issues could tell me what they did to repair it. I have checked the voltage and tightened the fasteners on the battery terminals. I’m just hoping it’s something simple that someone else has solved and can share with me. Thank you in advance for your assistance.”

The problem may arise from an electrical issue with the power steering system, and an experienced mechanic may resolve it. However, it was discovered that the power steering mechanism on the previous Sportsman 450 models was unreliable and unsafe. The Polaris Company has issued a recall for many of their Sportsman 450 ATVs to address this issue because it poses a crash hazard.

The Polaris has also offered free power steering system repairs and improvements. The Company has not yet determined the cause of the pilot bearing failure, although it suspects it is due to heavy use.

Also read: 6 x Most Common Polaris Steering Problems!

4. Leaking Cooling System

If your Polaris Sportsman 450 begins to leak water or other liquid regularly, you should know that there is a problem with the cooling system. You may need to replace it.

For example, a customer reports,

“My Sportsman 450 is losing coolant. Not much, simply regularly until the overflow container is empty. As it warms, pressure forces a little coolant to overflow into the overflow container and out that cap. When it cools, the coolant returns to a lower level. After a few of these cycles, the level in the overflow is depleted. Any suggestions? I replaced the radiator cap and the problem persists. It is also affecting my 2019. I was thinking of raising the overflow container to see if it would assist. Any suggestions?”

The engine can overheat and shut down if the cooling system is malfunctioning. Polaris has not stated what caused the problem, although engine failure is a probability. It remains unclear whether this is a production defect or a quality issue.

5. Overheating Problems

Overheating is one of the most common Polaris ATV problems. The machine can shut down all its systems to safeguard itself from further damage.

For example, a customer reports,

“My Polaris Sportsman 450 has overheating problems. It starts and runs great for about 20 minutes, the fan comes on as it should, and suddenly, the four-wheeler displays a “HOT CHECK ENGINE” message on the speedometer. I changed the oil, flushed the radiator, double-checked the cap (no visible fluid leaks), and replaced the thermostat. According to the local dealer, the ECU has been replaced. I’m at a loss; I’ve tested the wires from the temperature sensor, and the fan turns on as it should. Thank you for your assistance!”

While some overheating issues are complicated, most of them arise from basic causes. Mud, debris, grass, and weeds plug the tiny slots in the radiator that allow heat to escape and coolant to flow to the engine. The radiator can’t disperse heat when the air vents become clogged, and your engine will quickly overheat. So, change your engine oil regularly, and keep the engine exterior and the radiator screen and core clean. OEM Polaris Sportsman 450 thermostat replacement costs around $19.95

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

6. Loss Of Power/Fuel Pump Problems 

A defective fuel pump can cause a hard start, sputters, backfires, power loss, or even engine shuts down while driving. The fuel pump usually wears out, causing a decline in the fuel pressure. It makes your machine suffer from poor acceleration, sluggish upper RPM, and reduced peak speed. A faulty fuel pump can cause severe engine damage by not providing enough fuel.

If your engine doesn’t get enough fuel, it will run lean. This produces heat in the combustion chamber, which may result in detonation. In the worst-case scenario, the intense heat will melt a hole in your piston. Install a fuel pressure gauge at the tank outlet; test the fuel pump pressure with a fuel pressure gauge attached to the tank outlet during regular operation. Replace a malfunctioning fuel pump. OEM Sportsman 450 replacement fuel pump goes for $79.99.

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

7. Engine Problems

To identify the engine problem, you can try some simple troubleshooting steps:

• If the engine idles but will not rev up:

Check to see if the engine is flooding due to an excessive gas flow. Examine the tank vent, gasoline line, valve, filter, and fuel pump. Ascertain that the tank is full. Examine the ignition system, specifically the carb starter circuit and the spark plug. Check for high cylinder leakage.

• Where the engine doesn’t crank:

Examine the starter components, including the battery, solenoid, and motor. It can also happen due to a seized engine, corrosion, or mechanical failure.

• When the engine idles but doesn’t rev up

Clean or reinstall the air filter and other air intake parts. Also, make that the throttle cable, TRS switch, spark plug, and ignition timing are in working order. Examine the reverse speed limiter and exhaust system.

• If the engine runs but can’t idle

Clean the air filter. Check the crankcase breather and fuel system. Make sure the Choke and fuel system are well-adjusted. Check for high cylinder leakage. OEM engine head gasket for Sportsman 450 costs around $26.99.