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 Starter (Solenoid) Problems for a long time.
Starter and Solenoid problems are quite common in Polaris vehicles. If the starter solenoid is not working, it may be due to a bad connection, a short in the solenoid, or a problem with the starter itself. Polaris Sportsman, RZR, Ranger, and Outlaw models are more susceptible to starter problems.
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 starter (Solenoid) on your Polaris. Furthermore, at the end of this, you will know how to perform required repairs and their costs.
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1. Solenoid Overheating and Whistling – Polaris Sportsman and RZR
Since the solenoid is under continuous operation, it’s not a problem for the coil housing to be slightly hot to touch. The internal temperature of a solenoid is typically between 150 and 221 Fahrenheit. If the temperature exceeds that range, your Polaris vehicle likely has an overheated solenoid.
Polaris Sportsman 500, 700 and RZR XP 900 have several complaints of solenoid overheating.
If you experience this problem, you’ll feel like the vehicle is missing power when you try to start the engine. The solenoid becomes super hot to touch and produces a whistling sound (sometimes). Hence, the engine won’t crank.
Check that your connections at the battery and solenoid are good, free from corrosion and have good contact. Even a little corrosion will stop your vehicle from starting.
Use a test light or meter to see if the solenoid is jumping power from the battery side to the starter side of the solenoid. If it does not, it’s a bad solenoid.
If the starter wire is receiving power, the starter may be the issue.
In both cases, it’s better to replace both solenoid and starter, as they are cheap. Buy a heavy-duty solenoid like NAPA ST81 to withstand rising temperatures. It’ll cost around $20.
2. Starter Not Turning Over the Engine – Polaris Ranger
Ideally, the vehicle should start immediately when you turn the ignition key. If the engine turns too slow or if it has a hard time cranking, there could be a problem with your starter motor, or your starter has bad electrical connections.
Polaris Ranger 400 models have this problem.
The starter motor is an electric motor that engages the vehicle’s flywheel to turn the engine over. A battery powers the starter, allowing the engine to start on its own once engaged. Once started, the starter motor automatically disengages from the engine, leaving it to run on its own power.
When you turn your key in this situation, you may hear a clicking sound from under the hood. This can be caused by damaged gears or worn-out solenoids in the starter.
These components engage or disengage the flywheel when you turn your key. If they are damaged or worn down, they will make a clicking sound as they try to engage with each other. Clicking sounds coming from under your hood are usually accompanied by a wobbly feeling when turning the ignition key.
Here’s a Ranger owner having the same problem:
A couple of weeks ago, I began to notice a problem with starting my 2010 Ranger 400, that, I thought, was related to a low battery. I installed a new battery and that did not fix the problem. The best way to describe the problem is that when I turn the ignition key to activate the starter it goes “chug” (just once) and does not turn over the engine even though the key is still turned which would normally keep the starter cranking. It does not do this every time I try to start the engine, but is becoming more frequent.
To fix this problem, replace the solenoid and starter. It shouldn’t cost you more than $25.00.
3. Free Spinning Starter Due to Unengaged Intermediate Gears – Polaris RZR
Unengaged intermediate gears cause the starter to spin freely.
A starter engages and disengages intermediate gears to spin the engine. The starter engages the gears when the key is turned to the start position, which then turns on the starter motor. The starter disengages the gears when turning the key to the run position.
You’ll have to replace the sprag clutch along with the screws holding the sprag clutch to the flywheel.
All the parts you need will cost less than $250, almost half the price you would pay to your local repair shop.
Also read: 8 x Most Common Polaris RZR Pro XP Problems!
4. Bad Starter After a Few Thousand Mileage
Unfortunately, Polaris ATV starters become faulty after a while and may need replacement. It’s something with the quality of starters that Polaris has been putting on their ATVs recently.
SwitchBack 800 users have reported this issue, but it’s quite common with other Polaris models too.
If you think that your starter is going bad, then here are a few signs to look out for:
- Starter clicking sound or no sound at all when you turn the key.
- The engine will not crank over when you turn the key.
- The starter motor is spinning, but the engine is not cranking over.
- The lights on the control panel flicker or dim when trying to turn on the engine.
- There’s an electrical burning smell coming from under the seat or hood.
Here’s a Switchback driver explaining his issue on an online forum:
Only 1000 miles and starter is bad already? I put in a new battery and a new solenoid and still only clicks. Once in a while it might turn over with electric start after it was just shut off after running a while, but other than that nothing.
Anyone else had elec start issues?
Polaris comes with a one or two-year warranty. If you have time left, get your starter replaced under warranty. If the warranty has expired, you will have to replace the starter yourself or take it to a local shop.
5. Vehicle Not Starting in the Cold Weather — Polaris Outlaw
It’s difficult to start your ATV in the cold season.
You can do a few things to make it easier to start your ATV in the winter. Ensure the battery is fully charged, and the spark plugs are clean and dry before starting the engine. Finally, let the engine warm up for a few minutes before riding.
Polaris Outlaw 110 faces this problem commonly.
If you let the engine idle for about five minutes, it will warm up. You should also take it slow in the first few minutes of riding.
Also read: 7 x Most Common Polaris Outlaw 110 Problems!
6. Clicking On Start Button While Pull Cord Works Fine — Polaris Xplorer
If your vehicle is producing a clicking sound when starting but will start with the pull cord, it’s probably because of a bad battery or a bad starter.
Polaris Xplorer 300 have this starter problem.
Although you can start your Polaris vehicle with the pull cord, it’s hard to pull, and it can be dangerous if you’re not careful. You can simply turn a key to start the engine. But sometimes, it doesn’t work due to a faulty starter.
If the starter is not working, connect 12 volts directly to the starter terminal on the starter. If it turns over, then the starter is fine, and the battery has problems. If not, then the starter needs to be replaced.
The starter should be located directly beneath the ATV. Follow the wire leading from the solenoid (the box that makes a clicking noise when you try to start the ATV) to the starter. There are two large terminals on the solenoid – one with a wire leading directly from the battery and the other with a wire leading directly to the starter.
The starter shouldn’t cost you more than $25.
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