Common Polaris Ranger 900 XP Shifting Problems and Solutions

Polaris ranger 900 XP has various shifting problems, especially shifting between gears. These issues include shifting from Park (P) to Reverse  (R) and Neutral (N) to Low gear (L). Another problem is grinding sounds when shifting to a gear.

Some users have fixed the shifting problems by replacing the stock clutch with a new compatible one. However, this is a half solution as it only fixes the grinding sounds, but gears still have issues shifting. Now keep reading this post to learn all these in detail. 

Polaris Ranger 900 XP Shifting Problems and Solutions

Shifting problems have been regular in most of the Polaris Ranger models, which have caused frustrations among users. The table below has some of the shifting problems and their solutions.



Gears grinding when engagingOiling the transmission
Difficulty in engaging the reverse gearChange the reverse gear sprocket because it might be worn out
Engaging gears is difficult when idlingAdjusting the shift linkage
The ranger jerks forward at the slightest touch on the acceleratorInstalling a new clutch and changing the drive belts

Let’s look at these problems in depth;

1. Gear Grinding

Tickling sounds are coming from the transmission during a gear change. The issue often happens after the transmission selector fails to get the right gear.

Grinding is caused by various things, including worn-out drive belts, lack of lubrication, or misadjusted selector cables. 


The quick solutions include oiling the transmission and adjusting the shift linkage. Thus, the grinding problems require immediate fixing to prevent damage to the drive train.

2. Difficult Engaging Reverse Gear

Users have reported that most of the time the reverse gear will fail to engage and often result in grinding. The problem is linked to a worn-out reverse-gear sprocket.


Most times, replacing the gear sprocket works and fixes the problem. However, the problem would happen when the ATV is still new and it reduces when you drive the ranger more. Also, tapping the handle down when engaging the reverse helps reduce the problem.

3. Problems Engaging Gears

Other than shifting to reverse, other gears like Low and Neutral are also problematic to engage. The gear knob would click as if the transmission is successfully engaged, while it hasn’t. The first sign that the gear has failed is the teeth clicking sounds when you try to give it some gas.


The problem is often fixed by adjusting the linkage shifter cable at the motor. You can lengthen or shorten the shifter cables while testing until the gear problem improves. However, this doesn’t always provide a permanent fix but reduces the problem.

4. Jumpy After Transmission

The regular problems include jerking forward during transmission. Your ranger would jump at the slightest touch on the gas in either reverse gear, high, or low. This problem is linked to the clutch or the CVT drive belt being loose or worn out.


Changing the drive belt with a new compatible one is the quickest solution. Also, you can install new clutches, which helps reduce jerkiness, especially when reversing.

Other Possible Solutions to the Polaris 900 XP Shifting Problems

While some of the problems improve after servicing the ranger and driving for some time, others require fixing. Following are some possible solutions to the shifting problems in the Polaris 900 XP, as suggested by professionals and experienced mechanics.

  1. Shift to the parking brake before shifting to reverse gear if it has problems engaging
  2. If you have a hard time shifting to low gear, shift to high gear first, then to low gear
  3. Switch off the ATV before shifting to the problematic gear, especially the high gear
  4. If the gear clicks but doesn’t engage, throttle up, and just after you hear the ticking sounds, engage the desired gear
  5. Lube the transmission selector lever if the gears grind when changing
  6. Remove the shift lever and gear position sensor, and check if the pawl has a roller on it. If the roller is missing, replace it with a new one to resolve the issue
  7. Verify the gear is engaged by slightly tapping on the gas pedal to minimize gear wear through grinding

Always remember not to attempt a repair if you’re unfamiliar with or without following the user manual. Also, if you open the transmission cover, you’ll notice it has no gaskets between it and the housing. Use crankcase sealant to put the transmission back on.


The following section covers some frequently asked questions related to the topic. 

Q: Which Year of Polaris rangers 900 XP has Shifting problems?

Since their introductions in 2013, the rangers from 2015, 2016, and 2018 have reported multiple transmission problems.

Q: Does Shifting from Low to High gear While Moving My Polaris Ranger 900 XP Cause Damage?

Yes, shifting from low to high gear when the vehicle is moving can result in transmission damage. So, use Low gear when hauling and towing only, and shift to high only when stopped.

Bottom Line

Polaris ranger 900 XP has much power to haul and tow, a reason it’s much loved by farmers and hunters. However, the transmission problem has frustrated both new users and regular ones. Unfortunately, there has not been a recall specifically for the shifting issues.

Likewise, the problems include grinding and difficulty while engaging gears, especially reverse gear. The solutions include replacing the reverse gear sprockets and installing a new clutch. Luckily, sometimes as the user gets used to the ranger, it improves, and the transmission problems become fewer.


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