Polaris Sportsman 550 Problems And Their Solutions

You’re in the market for a new ride, and if you’re considering the Polaris Sportsman 550, it’s important to be aware of the potential problems.

This blog will explore some common issues owners have encountered with the Polaris Sportsman 550 and provide possible solutions. So, before making your purchase decision, read on and get informed about what you might encounter.

Polaris Sportsman 550 Problems

Common Polaris Sportsman 550 Problems And Their Solutions

1. Gears Shifting Problem

Problem: Some Polaris Sportsman 550 owners encounter difficulties shifting gears, experiencing resistance and grinding sensations. This issue often stems from problems in the transmission system, like worn-out clutch components, damaged shift forks, or issues with the gear selector mechanism.

Solution: To address gear shifting problems, inspect and replace worn clutch components and damaged shift forks. Check the gear selector mechanism for misalignments and ensure proper lubrication. If issues persist, seek professional assistance for a comprehensive diagnosis and potential repairs. Regular maintenance, including changing transmission fluid, helps prevent future gear-shifting problems.

2. Engine Problems

Problems: The Polaris Sportsman 550 suffers from frequent engine issues due to poor construction quality.

The faulty wiring system can cause difficulties starting the ATV, erratic behavior, and even complete engine shutdowns. Compromised seals in the battery compartment also lead to accelerated wear and reduced reliability.

The solution: To prevent engine issues, owners should inspect the wiring system, ensure proper sealing, shield the battery from off-road conditions, and perform regular maintenance. Seeking a qualified mechanic’s expertise can help resolve any engine-related issues.

3. Shady Construction

Problem: Owners report problems with the Polaris Sportsman 550’s construction, including weak welds on frames and premature wear on essential components like suspension and steering parts. These issues compromise performance, safety, and overall durability.

Solution: To address construction problems, inspect and reinforce weak welds on the frame. Replace worn suspension and steering components, and apply corrosion-resistant coatings for maintenance.

For persistent issues, consult a professional technician or contact Polaris customer support for further assistance.

4. Starter Problem

Problem: A common problem with Polaris Sportsman 550 ATVs revolves around starter issues.

Users frequently encounter difficulties with the starter, experiencing failures to engage or crank the engine.

This common problem can be disruptive, preventing a smooth ignition and hindering the ATV’s overall performance. Reports suggest that the starter problem might be linked to issues within the cooling system, potentially affecting the starter motor’s efficiency.

Solution: To fix the starter, check and fix issues with the cooling system, replace any defective components, and examine the starter motor for wear or damage. Seek a mechanic’s help for a detailed diagnosis and potential repairs to ensure efficient starting of the Polaris Sportsman 550 ATV.

5. Faulty plugs and engines

Problem: A common issue with the Polaris Sportsman 550 involves faulty spark plugs and engine problems.

Users frequently report issues such as misfires, rough idling, or difficulty starting the vehicle. The problem is often traced back to loose or poorly connected spark plugs, leading to an insufficient spark for proper combustion.

In challenging off-road terrain, these faulty plugs can exacerbate engine issues, causing breaks in power delivery and triggering warning lights on the vehicle dashboard.

Solution: To address faulty plugs and engines, owners should routinely inspect spark plugs for tightness and build-up.

Ensure proper installation and tighten loose plugs to prevent misfires and rough idling. Regularly check and replace spark plugs that show signs of wear.

Additionally, watch warning lights on the vehicle dashboard, as they can indicate potential engine problems.

Seeking the expertise of a qualified mechanic for periodic inspections and prompt resolution of spark plug and engine issues is essential for maintaining the Polaris Sportsman 550’s optimal performance, especially in challenging off-road conditions.

6. Power Steering Problem

Problem: Off-roaders may encounter steering issues with the Polaris Sportsman 550 due to wiring harness and driver belt problems.

This can lead to erratic power delivery and reduced efficiency of the steering mechanism, making it challenging to navigate the vehicle smoothly.

Solution: To address power steering problems, owners should inspect the wiring harness for any signs of wear, damage, or loose connections. Repair or replace the wiring harness to ensure a stable power supply to the steering system.

Simultaneously, regularly check the condition of the driver belt, ensuring it is properly tensioned and free from damage.

If issues persist, seeking assistance from a qualified mechanic is recommended for a comprehensive diagnosis and potential repairs. Attention to power steering problems is crucial to maintaining optimal control and safety during off-roading adventures.

7. Faulty valves

Problem: Another issue Polaris Sportsman 550 owners reported is related to faulty valves, impacting the ATV’s performance.

Users often experience symptoms like engine misfires, power loss, or irregular idling due to problems with the valves.

The issue is commonly associated with components like bad batteries that can lead to insufficient power supply, affecting the proper functioning of the valves.

Additionally, corrosion on the valves can exacerbate the problem, causing disruptions in the engine’s combustion process and overall performance.

Solution: To address faulty valves, owners should begin by inspecting and replacing bad batteries with new ones to ensure a consistent and reliable power source.

Simultaneously, tackle the issue of corrosion on the valves by cleaning and treating affected areas. Regular maintenance, including periodic valve inspections and replacements, is essential to prevent further issues.

8. Backfires

Problem: One recurring issue Polaris Sportsman 550 riders face is backfires, disrupting the ATV’s performance. Riders commonly report instances of backfiring, which can occur during acceleration or deceleration.

This problem often stems from issues with the speed sensor, impacting the timing of fuel injection and causing the engine to misfire.

Additionally, concerns with the build quality may contribute to backfires, as the manufacturer’s construction may lead to weak points in the exhaust system or fuel delivery, further exacerbating the problem.

Clogged fuel lines or filters can also play a role in backfires, disrupting the proper fuel-air mixture and causing combustion irregularities.

Solution: To resolve backfires, inspect the speed sensor and ensure it functions correctly. Replace or repair any faulty speed sensors to restore proper timing in fuel injection.

Address concerns with the build quality by reinforcing weak points in the exhaust system and inspecting fuel delivery components.

Regularly check for and clear any clogs in the fuel lines or filters to maintain an uninterrupted fuel supply.

9. Brake Troubles

Problems: Many Polaris Sportsman 550 owners encounter frustrating brake troubles that impact the ATV’s stopping power.

Reports suggest incorrect brake adjustments, leading to ineffective braking and compromising rider safety.

Additionally, problems with brake lenses have been noted, confusing riders as the brake lights may not illuminate correctly, further increasing the risk of accidents.

These brake troubles frustrate many Polaris Sportsman users, creating concerns about the reliability of the braking system during critical situations.

Solution: To address brake troubles, owners should begin by checking and correcting any incorrect brake adjustments. Ensuring proper brake adjustment is crucial for optimal stopping power.

If brake lenses are faulty or not functioning as intended, owners may need to replace them to guarantee the visibility of brake lights.

Regular inspections and timely replacements of brake components, such as brake pads and discs, are essential for maintaining the braking system’s effectiveness.

10. Weaker frames

Problems: Many users of the Polaris Sportsman 550 have reported concerns about weaker frames, impacting the ATV’s structural integrity.

The frames of some units have shown signs of weakness, particularly in off-road conditions, leading to worries about durability and safety.

Reports indicate that the weaker frames may result in issues such as misalignments of tires and wheels, affecting the ATV’s overall handling and ride stability.

This problem raises questions about the manufacturer’s build quality and the ATV’s ability to withstand the rigors of off-road use.

Solution: To address weaker frames in the Polaris Sportsman 550, owners should consider contacting their local dealer or the manufacturer, especially if the ATV is still under warranty.

Seeking professional assistance can help assess the extent of the frame issues and explore potential solutions.

Additionally, owners may want to reinforce weak points in the frame through modifications or upgrades, ensuring improved durability for off-road adventures.

11. Charging Problem

Problem: One of the most common issues all-terrain enthusiasts face with the Polaris Sportsman 550 is a charging problem.

Users often encounter difficulties with the ATV’s charging system, leading to a lack of power for essential components.

Reports indicate that problems with the alternator, responsible for charging the battery and powering the ATV’s electrical systems, contribute to this issue.

The charging problem can result in a drained battery, affecting the ATV’s ignition system, lights, and other electrical components.

This situation poses a significant inconvenience, especially during off-road excursions where a reliable charging system is crucial for sustained performance.

Solution: To address the charging problem in the Polaris Sportsman 550, owners should focus on inspecting and, if necessary, replacing the alternator.

Ensuring the alternator functions correctly is essential for maintaining a healthy charging system.

Regular checks of the air intake and surrounding components can also prevent debris or damage that may affect the alternator’s performance.

Keeping the alternator and associated components well-maintained contributes to a more reliable charging system, reducing the likelihood of power issues during off-road adventures.

12. Engine Overheats

Problems: Users of the Polaris Sportsman 550 frequently encounter issues with engine overheating, impacting the ATV’s performance.

Reports suggest that the engine’s cooling system may struggle to regulate temperature efficiently, leading to overheating during extended use or challenging off-road conditions.

The problem can result in reduced power output and potential long-term damage to engine components.

In some cases, inefficient power distribution to the cooling system exacerbates the issue, creating concerns about the ATV’s ability to handle demanding conditions without overheating.

Solution: To address engine overheating problems, owners should prioritize regular ATV cooling system maintenance.

This includes checking coolant levels, inspecting the radiator for any obstructions, and ensuring the proper functioning of the cooling fan.

Upgrading the radiator or adding additional cooling components may be necessary for those frequently engaging in challenging off-road conditions.

Properly distributing power to the cooling system and maintaining a consistent airflow around the engine can significantly reduce the risk of overheating.

Seeking the assistance of a qualified mechanic for a comprehensive inspection and potential adjustments to the cooling system can provide a lasting solution to engine overheating in the Polaris Sportsman 550.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Polaris 550 fuel injected?

Yes, the Polaris Sportsman 550 has electronic fuel injection (EFI).

What is the fuel economy of the Sportsman 550?
The fuel economy of the Polaris Sportsman 550 typically ranges from 15 to 20 miles per gallon, depending on factors such as riding conditions and usage.
Are Polaris Sportsmen reliable?
The reliability of Polaris Sportsman ATVs can vary. While many users find them reliable for recreational and utility purposes, occasional reports of mechanical issues have occurred. Regular maintenance and thorough research on specific models can provide a more reliable ownership experience.


While the Polaris Sportsman 550 has established a reputation as a versatile ATV, users have reported persistent problems.

The thrill of exploring the great outdoors can be compromised by its unreliable performance, as complaints regarding various cheap aspects have surfaced.

The market for an ATV is dynamic, with new models constantly emerging to meet consumer demands.

Potential buyers must know everything about the specific model they are considering, as reliability issues may tip the scales in favor of competitors like Honda or other more dependable options.

As consumers seek a reliable and robust off-road experience akin to the iconic Jeep, weighing the pros and cons becomes paramount in making an informed decision.