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 steering problems for a long time.
Polaris steering problems. Among the steering wheel problems, Sportsman, General, and RZR received recalls. Other than that, the Ranger 1000 and the General 1000 suffered due to low build quality. The Ranger has a weak rack and pinion, and the General 1000 has issues with loose components. With the RZR, a weak battery could cause a power steering loss down the road.
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 steering unit 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. Low-Quality Rack And Pinion – Polaris Ranger 1000 & Ranger 900
Many owners of the Ranger have been complaining about the weak rack and pinion in their steering system. They are easily bent or broken, causing many difficulties to the driver. Apart from the rack and pinion, the tie rod and tie rod ends are also common culprits when it comes to the steering issues in the Ranger series.
Whenever the rack and pinion fails, you can link the cause to driving habits. If you’re putting your ride through hell, or even if you drive recklessly through rough terrain, there is a chance that you’d end up with a damaged rack and pinion.
If the metal in your rack and pinion is bent, it will be clearly visible during a physical inspection. At this point, you could either replace it or try to straighten it.
Straightening the metal is easier and cheaper, but it comes with a few risks. When your metal bends, it is fatigued. When you bend it back to straighten it, the chances of the metal breaking increases. If the rack and pinion snap mid-drive, you are in deep trouble. If the problem arises due to your driving habits, chances are it will snap in two even after you straighten it.
If you do not want to risk riding with a weak rack and pinion, you can replace the kit. Polaris only sells the entire rack assembly. This costs around $150 to $200. But you can always opt for an upgrade and go for a heavy-duty rack and pinion. Though this would cost double, this will be more suitable if your UTV takes a beating regularly.
2. EPS Gone Haywire – Polaris General 1000
The electronic power steering is meant to assist the driver when making turns. It amplifies the force given by the driver, thus easing the process of turning the steering wheel. The motor in the EPS system can produce more than enough force to turn the steering wheel without the driver’s intervention. So, what if the EPS got a mind of its own?
This is exactly what a Polaris user faced, and here’s what he said,
“I let go of the wheel, and it again pulled hard to the right. I turned it fully to the left (which was difficult), let go of the wheel, and it again locked hard to the right on its own power. With the key on, the steering wheel continues to turn right under its own power.”
Apparently, he got stuck in a puddle of water and had to winch himself out before the EPS went haywire. The first thing that comes to mind is that the water could’ve affected the EPS. After all, electronics and water are never a good mix. But actually, the problem arose due to a dislodged component.
The torque sensor reads the direction in which you turn the steering, and then the motor works to assist the driver by providing a bit more torque. In this case, the torque sensor was off position and reading a constant torque to the right. So, the EPS motor worked to turn the steering on its own even when the driver tried to move the steering in another direction.
Attempting repairs associated with the EPS on your own is never a good idea. Especially since that would forfeit your warranty. There is a sticker on the EPS unit that says “DO NOT OPEN. NO USER SERVICEABLE PARTS. WARRANTY WILL BE VOIDED”. So, if your UTV is still under warranty, take it to a dealer.
Also read: Most Common Polaris General 1000 Problems!
3. EPS Failure – Polaris
This is not exactly a problem, but it is often mistaken as an EPS failure. Many owners have panicked due to this feature in Polaris. What happens is that once you start your UTV and stay idle for about 2 to 3 minutes, the EPS system automatically switches off.
Almost every Polaris with EPS has this feature. And it is not exclusive to Polaris, either. You’d see the same feature in many modern-day cars. This feature is available so that your battery is not spent on the EPS when you are idle.
To get the power steering back on, all you have to do is restart your UTV. Turn off and on again and the EPS should switch right back on.
You could disengage the EPS if you double foot the gas and brake at the same time. Some drivers use both feet, one on the brakes and the other on the accelerator, when driving over rocks or tackling other hazardous terrains. Again, the EPS should pop right up after you restart the UTV.
Other than these, you’d notice the same system if a fuse in the EPS fails. So, if restarting doesn’t get your EPS online, check the fuses.
4. Electrical Issues – Polaris RZR
This is not exactly an issue with the power steering, but an electrical issue that could end up affecting your EPS. Here’s what someone who encountered this issue had to say about it,
“I have power steering, but only until the radiator cooling fan comes on, then the power steering fails, and the failure light comes on. As soon as the radiator fan apparently cools the radiator down and the fan turns off, I get my power steering back!”
This is a result of a weak battery. As the battery ages, the power it can produce gradually decreases. To power the components in your UTV, the alternator should maintain the battery’s output at around 14V. You start to lose EPS at around 11V.
So, what is the connection between the EPS and the radiator fan? They are both powered by the battery and at this stage, the battery cannot produce enough current to operate both at the same time. Therefore, when the radiator fan kicks in, the EPS doesn’t get enough current, so it shuts down.
Therefore, if your EPS fails, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem with the EPS. You should also consider the power source.
In this case, the best option is to replace the battery. For the RZR 900, a battery should cost anywhere between $100 to $300 depending on the brand you choose.
Also read: 6 x Most Common Polaris RZR 1000 Problems!
5. Loose Steering Wheel – Polaris General
This issue resulted in a recall for particular models of the RZR and General lineups. The issue caused the steering wheel to separate, resulting in an uncontrollable vehicle.
Before the recall, there were 33 vehicles were reported with a loose steering wheel. This even led to a couple of rollovers. Polaris informed the owners of the affected models to avoid driving the vehicles until they are repaired. Furthermore, they were strictly advised not to attempt repairs themselves.
Thankfully, with the recall, Polaris provided a free repair along with the installation of a new steering wheel.
6. EPS Malfunction – Polaris Sportsman
Another recall related to the steering in Polaris was with the Sportsman series. Not many details were given regarding the recall, except that it was an EPS malfunction.
Sportsman 450, 570, 850, 1000, and Scrambler 1000 ATVs were among the affected models. 3800 units were recalled, and the consumers were given a free repair.