5 Common Polaris Ranger Power Steering Problems (How to Fix)

The Polaris Ranger is a side-by-side vehicle known for its durability and off-road capabilities. However, many riders have reported steering problems with their Rangers, particularly with the factory rack and pinion.

Common Polaris Ranger power steering problems include jerky and unresponsive steering, burning smell from power steering, fluid leaks, grinding noises when steering, car wandering from side to side, the steering has become difficult, the steering wheel loose, oversteering, and steering rack flex.

Most of these issues can be resolved by replacing or lubricating the steering system components while others require professional checkup. 

Polaris Ranger Power Steering Problems And Their Fixes

Power Steering Problems Possible CausesPossible Fix
The steering wheel feels jerky and unresponsive when turning. Failing steering rack or worn-out components in the steering system.Replace the rack and pinion assembly with an upgraded aftermarket unit or conduct an at-home fix by heating the bent area with a torch and using sand to cool it slowly.
Burning smell from the power steeringLack of lubrication or a faulty seal in the steering rack.Flush the power steering system and replace the seal in the rack and pinion.
Grinding noises when steeringLack of lubrication or excess heat in the power steering system.Flush the power steering system and lubricate the steering rack.
Car wanders from left to right or oversteeringIncorrect wheel alignment or problems with the steering rack.Get the vehicle checked out by a professional and replace the steering rack if necessary. Install steering stops and replace the steering rack.
The steering has become difficult Build-up of dirt or debris in the steering system or a lack of lubrication.Clean the steering rack and lubricate it.
The steering wheel is looseWorn-out rack and pinion. Replace the rack and pinion.
Steering Rack Flex Improperly secured steering rack or worn-out mounting hardware.Secure the steering rack and replace any worn-out mounting hardware.

The Polaris Ranger is a versatile and rugged vehicle that can easily handle even the toughest terrain. However, the Polaris Ranger can experience problems over time like any vehicle. One common issue that many Ranger owners encounter is power steering problems.

power steering

Here are some of the most common problems that can affect the power steering system in a Polaris Ranger:

1. Steering Wheel Feels “Jerky” And Unresponsive

Many Polaris Ranger owners have reported issues with their steering wheel feeling jerky and unresponsive. This is usually caused by a failing steering rack or worn-out components in the steering system.

This issue can be exacerbated if you ride on rough terrain or go over large bumps. In some cases, the steering wheel will lock up and not allow the driver to turn the wheel at all.

While it’s a problem experienced with most of the Rangers problems, the 3-Seat and Crew-Cab Rangers are the most likely to be affected.

Steering Wheel Feels


The solution is usually to replace the steering rack with an upgraded aftermarket unit or conduct an at-home fix by heating the bent area with a torch and using sand to cool it slowly. You can also flush the power steering system and replace the seal in the rack and pinion.

Some SP 570 and Ranger 500 owners were able to fix this problem by replacing the rack and pinion assembly (our pick: Jofynzo Front Steering Rack Pinion Assembly for Polaris Ranger Crew). In some cases, you may need to replace other steering system parts, such as the power steering pump or the control valve.

The following video will give you a good visualization about the rack replacement:

2. Burning Smell and Grinding Noises When Steering

If you’re driving your Polaris Ranger and you start to smell a burning odor resembling oil, this could signify an overheated power steering system. It’s mostly caused by steering fluid leaks which take away the lubrication. It’s often caused by a faulty seal in the rack and pinion.


How to Change a Polaris Ranger Steering Rack

Flushing the power steering system and lubricating the rack can often fix this common problem. In some cases, however, you may need to replace the entire rack and pinion assembly to fix it. 

Flushing the power steering system and replacing any damaged or worn components will help eliminate the noises.

3. Car Wanders From Left To Right Or Is Oversteering

If your car is exhibiting unusual symptoms such as excessive veering to the left or right, or uneven tire wear, it could be a sign that you have a faulty steering rack. This can be caused by issues with wheel alignment or other problems. 


A good rule of thumb is replacing the steering stops every time a new front tire is installed. clean or lubricate the steering rack to restore proper functioning.

For the XP models, the steering stops can be found on the underside of the steering rack. For other models, they are located in or near the front suspension area.

4. Steering Rack Flex

If you’re riding on rough terrain, the steering rack can become flexed and distorted. This can lead to a lack of responsiveness and a feeling of looseness in the steering wheel. The cause of this is usually due to the steering rack not being properly secured or worn-out mounting hardware. 


A possible fix is securing the steering rack and replacing worn-out mounting hardware. This should restore the steering to its optimal level of responsiveness.

5. Damaged Steering Pump

One common issue with Polaris Ranger power steering is a damaged steering pump. This can cause the steering wheel to feel stiff and difficult to turn. 


The damaged steering pump will need to be replaced with a new one. It is recommended to have a professional mechanic handle this repair to ensure it is done correctly.


What Are The Symptoms Of A Failing Steering Rack?

The symptoms of a failing steering rack include a loose feeling in the steering wheel, difficulty turning the steering wheel, and strange noises from the steering wheel area, as well as pulling to one side and a wobbling or vibrating steering wheel.

Does The Polaris Ranger Have Power Steering?

Yes, the Polaris Ranger has power steering designed for improved ride and easier handling with Ranger Variable Assist Electronic Power Steering (EPS).

Is A Weak Battery Related To Heavy Steering In Vehicles With Power Steering?

A weak battery may cause heavy steering due to insufficient power for the power steering system.

In Summary

Polaris Ranger power steering problems can be frustrating, but they are fixable. With the right knowledge, you can easily diagnose and fix most of the common problems with your Ranger’s power steering system. Remember always to consult an experienced mechanic if you’re unsure about any of the steps listed above.


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