6 Common Polaris Sportsman 550 Problems (Easy Fixes)

The Polaris Sportsman 550 is a great off-road ATV because of its power and versatility. However, many owners have reported problems with this ATV. 

So, if you are going to buy it or already have it. You should be aware of these problems to avoid any kind of trouble. 

In this article, I will share some of the common problems that Polaris Sportsman 550 can have with solutions.

Polaris Sportsman 550 Problems

Polaris Sportsman 550 Problems

1. Gears Shifting Problem

One of the most common problems that Polaris Sportsman 550 users experience is gears are hard or difficult to shift. 

This is mostly due to the loose or damaged clutch cable. Because clutch cables can easily become loose which makes it difficult to shift gears. 

So, you should check it and if not properly adjusted, then adjust it. 

Another reason for this is the low or old transmission oil. When oil is low it causes the gears to grind which makes shifting hard. In this case, you will need to change the transmission oil. 

Dust in the drive belt or clutch can also be responsible for this problem. So, you should also clean the belt and clutch often to keep it working smoothly. 

If the shift linkage is not properly aligned or lubricated, it can also cause the gears to grind or become difficult to shift. To fix this you will need to lubricate the shift linkage properly.  

If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can take your ATV to the dealer. They can fix it for you, if your ATV is under warranty or if this is the manufacturer’s fault.

2. Starter Problem

Another common problem with the Polaris Sportsman 550 that many owners reported is a starter problem. 

This issue is due to a faulty starter solenoid, a bad starter motor, or a weak battery. When this happens, the engine will not start or will only turn over slowly when you try to start it. 

So, first, you should check the starter solenoid, if faulty then replace it with the new one. You can get new from the dealer if your ATV is under warranty. 

After that, you will need to check the motor. Then check the connections between the wires because maybe wires are crossed somewhere. 

There are two wires that go to the ignition harness from the solenoid. You will need to check them. You should also disconnect the winch power from the battery and then try to start your ATV. 

Also, you may want to check other related components like fuses and wiring harnesses for damage that could be causing an issue.

3. Power Steering Problem

Many Polaris Sportsman 550 owners have experienced a power steering issue, where the power steering light randomly comes on and sometimes causes them to lose power steering. 

You can fix this problem by simply turning your ATV off and on. However, a few riders have said they need to do this many times during their ride. 

This can be incredibly frustrating for you, as it will interrupt your ride and requires you to shut down and restart your vehicle multiple times. 

It’s also concerning that dealership doesn’t seem to know how to fix this problem properly. 

However, many people have found that cleaning the connector on the EPS unit fixes this problem. 

And also this can be due to a faulty steering pump so you should check it as well.

4. Backfires 

Backfiring is a common problem with the Polaris Sportsman 550. Most of the time riders face this problem when they start the vehicle, or when it is running at lower RPMs. 

The backfire is caused by incomplete combustion of fuel and air in the engine, which results in the ignition of unburned fuel and air mixture in the exhaust system. 

If your ATV is backfiring it can be due to the incorrect spark plug, clogged fuel injectors, a leaky intake manifold, or an overly rich or lean fuel-air mixture. 

In most cases, a faulty carburetor lead to backfiring as it may not be providing the right amount of fuel for combustion. 

To fix this issue, you should start by checking the ignition system components such as spark plugs and distributor cap/rotor for dirt buildup. 

Also, you should inspect all vacuum lines for leaks. 

If no defects are found then make sure that all vacuum lines are connected properly and that all gaskets fit correctly along with checking that everything is tightened to spec. 

5. Charging Problem

One common problem with the Polaris Sportsman 550 is battery charging issues. 

This is due to corrosion on the terminals or wiring harness, a loose connection, or a malfunctioning alternator. 

Corrosion can build up over time and create an electrical resistance that prevents a full charge from reaching the battery. 

So, you should inspect the terminals and wiring harness for corrosion. 

You should also make sure all connections are properly secured and tight to maximize efficiency. 

In some cases, a malfunctioning alternator might be responsible for poor battery charging. In this case, you will need to replace it with a new alternator. 

6. Engine Overheats

Engine overheating is another common problem for Polaris Sportsman 550 owners. 

The primary reason for engine overheating is when debris gets lodged in the engine’s cooling system, blocking the flow of coolant and preventing it from efficiently transferring heat away from the engine. 

Common sources of debris include leaves and other small particles that can enter through the air intake, as well as dirt and sludge that builds up over time inside the radiator and engine block. 

If this debris accumulates enough to block the flow of coolant, your engine will begin to overheat and experience decreased performance. 

To prevent this from happening, you should routinely check for debris, as well as flush out any accumulated dirt or sludge within your radiator using a garden hose. 

It is important not to use a high-pressure washer on your radiator, as this can deform its fins which reduces cooling efficiency. 

To further improve cooling efficiency, many owners recommend replacing your original radiator cap with an upgraded model that maintains higher pressure within your cooling system. 

Is the Polaris Sportsman 550 Reliable?

The Polaris Sportsman 550 has been on the market for many years and has earned a reputation as one of the most reliable ATVs available. 

It is powered by an efficient 550cc fuel-injected engine, which provides plenty of power to get you through any terrain. 

Also, the Sportsman 550 features on-demand true all-wheel drive, giving you maximum traction when needed. 

In terms of durability and reliability, the Sportsman 550 holds up quite well over time. Its frame is made from heavy gauge steel that resists bending or breaking even after years of use. 

The engine components are sealed against water and dirt, protecting them from damage in rough conditions. 

The vehicle has also been designed with numerous safety features, such as a protective roll cage and front and rear bumpers for added protection against obstacles.

Polaris Sportsman 570 Technical Specifications:

Engine TypeProStar 567cc, 4-Stroke
Displacement567 cc
Horsepower44 HP
Cooling SystemLiquid
TransmissionAutomatic PVT
Drive SystemOn-Demand True AWD/2WD
Front SuspensionMacPherson Strut
Rear SuspensionDual A-Arm
Front/Rear BrakesHydraulic Disc
Front Tire Size25 x 8-12
Rear Tire Size25 x 10-12
Length83 in (210.8 cm)
Width48 in (121.9 cm)
Height48 in (121.9 cm)
Wheelbase50.5 in (128 cm)
Ground Clearance11.5 in (29.2 cm)
Dry Weight702 lb (318 kg)
Fuel Capacity4.5 gal (17.0 L)
Front/Rear Rack Capacity90 lb (40.8 kg)
Towing Capacity1,225 lb (555.7 kg)
Seating Capacity1
LightingHalogen headlights
Colors AvailableMultiple options

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The Polaris Sportsman 550 is a great ATV that can provide you with plenty of enjoyment. 

However, it also has a few problems that you can experience from time to time. Fortunately, these problems are easy to fix. 

I hope this article was helpful for you in understanding the common problems. 

Also, share your experience or if you have any tips that helped you fix these problems through comments. 

Your feedback is really important in helping other owners enjoy their vehicles safely and comfortably.

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