Polaris Sportsman 500 Problems [Exploring Best Solutions!]

Polaris Sportsman 500 is a great all-around ATV, but it faces a few problems that must be fixed. Thankfully, we’re exploring the best solutions!

We have identified all the specific Polaris Sportsman 500 problems that can be solved easily.

Polaris Sportsman 500 has issues regarding engine overheating, not starting, bad battery, stiff suspension, and internal components failures. Other problems include the exterior, such as uncomfortable seats or misaligned wheels. The solutions are simple, with repairs, cleaning, and replacements.

So, without stretching much, let’s move swiftly into details!

Polaris Sportsman 500 Problems For Different Year Versions

The Polaris Sportsman 500 is a popular all-terrain vehicle with several problems in different versions. Some of these problems are included below:

Polaris Sportsman 500 Model YearProblemsSymptomSolution
  • System Overheating
  • Cam Wear Issues
  • Burning Smell
  • Loss Of Power
  • Cool Down The System
  • Replace The Camshaft
2000Engine Won’t StartFailing BatteryTroubleshoot the Fuel and Ignition System Or Replace The Battery
  • Stator Failures
  • Touchy Throttle
  • Inconsistent Engine Respond
  • Unwind And Clean The Stator Core Or Replace The Spark Plug
  • Adjust And Clean The Throttle
  • Bad Battery
  • Sensors Issues
  • Electrical Components Not Running On Full Power
  • Loss Of Fuel Efficiency
  • Tighten The Connections Or Replace Battery
  • Replace Sensors
  • Stiff Front Suspension
  • Clutch Problems
  • Shifting Problems
  • Vehicle Vibrating While Riding
  • Squeaking Noise On The Pedal
  • Machine Failing To Get In Gear
  • Soften With Shock Absorber Oil Additive
  • Replace The Clutch
  • Replace The Transmission
Others (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, And 2013)
  • Misaligned Wheels
  • Uncomfortable Seats
  • Difficulty In Balance
  • Rider Fatiguing Quickly
  • Realign Wheels
  • Set The Saddle At Right Height

From here, we will go into the details indicating each symptom from the problems and suggest necessary solutions.

1999 Polaris Sportsman 500 Problems

Polaris Sportsman 500 1999 Model

In 1999, Polaris released the Sportsman 500 as a successor to the Sportsman 400. The new model was designed with updated features, including an all-new engine and chassis. However, reports soon surfaced of various problems with the vehicle.

Problem 1: System Overheating

Riding the ATV in high gear for an extended period can cause piston seizure. This can happen due to a lack of lubrication and dirt build-up.

This overheats the engine, especially when riding on very hot days. Too low an oil level can also lead to piston seizure and overheating.

Symptom: Burning Smell

When the ATV rider’s internal system is overheating, a burning smell will often be present. The fumes can be quite intense and cause headaches or nausea if inhaled.

In addition, it produces black smoke from the exhaust, meaning a problem with the engine.

Solution: Cool Down The System

Stop the engine immediately and allow some time to cool down. Then, remove the spark plugs and spray water into each cylinder. Crank the engine over several times to distribute the water.

Also, you can replace the spark plugs if it is blown and try to start the engine. To do the job, you must do these things:

  • Gather all the tools you need, such as screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches
  • Unscrew the spark plug by removing the coil and the wire. 
  • After that, place the new spark plug down and screw it into the system with the wire and coil. 

Furthermore, to resolve piston seizure, the engine must be taken apart and the piston replaced with a new one. Additionally, regular engine tune-up and oil changes can help prevent piston seizure.

Problem 2: Cam Wear Issues

There are a few things that can cause a camshaft to wear out inside an ATV rider. One of the most common reasons is that the camshaft becomes misaligned.

When there is too much slack in the chain or belt, it causes the camshaft to move out of position. It can rub against the valves and wear them down over time if it becomes misaligned. Too much friction can also cause camshaft wear as they are made of thin metals. 

Symptom: Loss Of Power

When a camshaft wears, it will cause a knocking noise inside the engine. The camshaft is responsible for opening and closing the valves; when it wears, the valves will not close properly.

And so, there will be a loss of power inside the system, and the engine may not work. 

Solution: Replace The Camshaft

  • First, remove the old camshaft from the engine. 
  • Using a mechanic’s wire brush to clean the old camshaft sealant from the engine block and cylinder head. 
  • Once it is clean, use a wrench to remove the camshaft. 
  • Next, apply a light coating of petroleum jelly to the new camshaft. This will help it slide into place more easily. 
  • Carefully insert the new camshaft into the engine block and cylinder head. You may need to use a hammer to tap it into place gently. Make sure that it is fully seated before proceeding. 
  • Now, reinstall the valve cover and apply a new sealant around the edge. This shall do it!

2000 Polaris Sportsman 500 Problems

Polaris Sportsman 500 2000 Model

You can experience various problems with your 2000 Polaris Sportsman 500. This guide is designed to help you troubleshoot and repair some of the most common issues that can occur.

Problem: Engine Won’t Start

The most common problem in this Polaris Sportsman model is that the engine won’t start.

There might be something wrong with the battery, the spark plugs, and the fuel or ignition system. Some owners have also posted about concerns about radiation fans that went bad and caused overheating.

It is essential to troubleshoot to find the exact cause of the problem.

Symptom: Failing Battery

If the battery is weak or failing, it is likely not providing enough power to the starter motor to turn over the engine. Also, ATV batteries often lack adequate cooling, leading to premature failure.

Solution: Troubleshoot The Fuel and Ignition System Or Replace Battery

Several things can go wrong with the fuel and ignition system of Polaris Sportsman. Run a diagnostic scan to check for any codes indicating an issue with the fuel and ignition systems.

A common issue is a clogged fuel filter. A clogged fuel filter can easily be cleaned with spray cleaners or baking soda.

This is how you do it:

  • With Spray, cleaners follow the instructions on the bottle carefully and take appropriate safety precautions while using the product.
  • You must spray the cleaner on the surfaces and wipe out the dirt with a soft cloth. 
  • Baking soda can also be used to clean clogged fuel filters. Mix baking soda with water to form a thick paste then spread the paste over the fuel filter and let it sit for about an hour. 
  • Rinse the fuel filter thoroughly with water afterward.

A defective fuel pump can also cause problems with the fuel and ignition system. This problem has appeared in the 2010 model also. You may need to replace the fuel pump with the assistance of a qualified mechanic.

However, if the battery fails, you need to replace it. Remove the old battery by disconnecting the negative and positive terminals. Then, connect the negative and positive terminals to place the new battery.

Also, the radiation fan switch can be replaced to prevent any overheating problems. 

2001 Polaris Sportsman 500 Problems

Polaris Sportsman 500 2001

The 2001 Polaris Sportsman 500 Problems is a four-wheeler released in 2001. It is a popular choice for outdoorsmen because of its capability to traverse rugged terrain.

Despite its popularity, there have been several complaints about the vehicle’s performance. There are two main problems to look at. 

Problem 1: Stator Failures

The stator can fail for several reasons, including overheating, electrical overload, and corrosion. If a stator fails, it can cause the electric motor to overheat or stop working altogether, leading to mechanical malfunctions. 

Symptom: Weak Spark

A weak spark that fails the stator generally means an issue with the ignition system. This could be due to a faulty spark plug, a problem with the wiring, or an ignition coil.

Solution: Unwind And Clean The Stator Core Or Replace The Spark Plug

To unwind and clean the stator core, here are the steps you should follow:

  • To do the job, you will need some essential tools such as a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a hammer, a socket set, and a wrench.
  • First, you have to remove the end cap. This can be done by unscrewing it. 
  • Once the end cap is removed, the windings can be unwound by gently pulling on them until they come loose. 
  • The windings can be cleaned after completely loosening them. This can be done by spraying them with a degreaser and wiping them clean with a cloth.

The other option is to replace the spark plug alongside the wires and coils. We have explained the process before. 

Problem 2: Touchy Throttle

If a vehicle’s throttle is touchy, it is sensitive to the slightest touch. This means that the slightest movement of the accelerator will cause the vehicle to accelerate or decelerate. 

This can be a big problem because it can make it difficult to control the vehicle’s speed while riding. 

Symptom: Inconsistent Engine Respond

With a touchy throttle, the engine’s response to throttle input is unpredictable or varies from moment to moment. This can manifest as a jerky acceleration, sudden power loss, or a throttle that seems to jump from one setting to another.

Solution: Adjust And Clean The Throttle

The simple solution requires some attention and time, and here are the things to do:

  • To adjust the throttle, locate the throttle linkage and use a screwdriver to adjust the screw-on end. 
  • Be careful to avoid overtightening it – just a few turns should do the trick. 
  • To clean the throttle, use a brush or a can of compressed air to remove any built-up dirt or debris.

If the problem doesn’t solve, take assistance from a good mechanic. 

2006 Polaris Sportsman 500 Problems

2006 Polaris Sportsman 500 Issues

Polaris has had its share of issues with the 2006 Sportsman 500. The ATV has been known to lose power randomly, leaving riders stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Problem 1: Bad Battery

Many Polaris Sportsman 500 owners have raised concerns about battery warning lights that keep flashing while driving. Bad battery issues are there in all of the models of the ATV but are more concentrated in the 2006 version. 

Symptom: Electronic Components Not Running On Full Power

The dead battery does not have enough power to supply the necessary electricity for all the inner components to work correctly. And so, the system won’t push the engine to start and run. 

Solution: Tighten Connections Or Replace Battery

When it comes to tightening battery connections inside a vehicle, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. 

  • Ensure the battery is disconnected before you start working on it. 
  • Use a wrench to tighten the connections, ensuring that they are tight enough that they won’t come loose.

Replacing the battery is the last resort when the battery is completely dead. The process of battery replacement is explained before. 

Problem 2: Sensors Issues

There are various reasons why sensors malfunction inside a vehicle. One common reason is exposure to extreme temperatures. If a sensor is located in an area that is too hot or cold, it may malfunction and provide improper performance.

Sensor accuracy is key to fuel efficiency in any vehicle. If the sensors are not calibrated correctly or are dirty, the rider will not run as efficiently as it could.  Also, any vibration or impact can damage sensors, which may stop working correctly. 

Symptom: Loss Of Fuel Efficiency

The sensor is responsible for providing essential data to the engine management system, such as air-fuel ratio, engine temperature, and other information. If the data is incorrect or unavailable, the engine management system may use more fuel than necessary to operate.

This results in an inefficient burn and increased fuel consumption; thus, fuel efficiency depletes. 

Solution: Replace Sensors

To remove an old sensor and install a new one inside a vehicle, the following tools may be required:

  • Ratchet and socket set 
  • Wrench set 
  • Pliers 
  • Screwdrivers

And so, the process goes like this:

  • Remove the old sensor from the vehicle. You just have to unscrew them, and they will come out. 
  • Next, install the new sensors by screwing them into the placement.
  • Once placed, test the new installment for proper function.

If the DIY process doesn’t work for you, seek expert assistance!

2010 Polaris Sportsman 500 Problems

2010 Polaris Sportsman 500 Issues

The 2010 Polaris Sportsman 500 has been experiencing some problems since it was first released. Many owners have taken to online forums to voice their concerns and seek help.

Problem 1: Stiff Front Suspension

Riders often experience a stiff front suspension when they hit a bump or dip in the terrain. The improper inflation of the shocks can cause this, and the rider’s body weight is shifted too far forward.

When this happens, the bike’s weight is thrown forward, and the suspension cannot absorb the impact, which can cause the rider to be thrown from the bike.

Symptom: Vehicle Vibrating While Riding

When the front suspension is stiff, it does not move as much as when it is floppy. This means the ATV will vibrate more when ridden because the wheels cannot move as much.

Solution: Soften With Shock Absorber Oil Additive

The process involves a few steps:

  • Add a small amount of special oil to your vehicle’s shock absorbers to help them absorb more impact and soften the ride.
  • To do this, you’ll need to locate the shock absorbers on the rider. They’re usually located near the wheels, and you should be able to see the top of them sticking out from behind the wheel well. 
  • Once you’ve found them, remove the cap on the top and pour in the shock absorber oil additive. 
  • Make sure to read the instructions on the bottle to find out how much you need to add.

Replace the cap on the shock absorber and give it a few good shakes to mix in the additive. Then, take your ATV for a test drive. You should notice that the suspension feels softer and much smoother than before.

Problem 2: Clutch Problems

Over time, the clutch can become worn and start to slip, resulting in recurring clutch problems. In addition, the environment in which the ATV is being used can also cause problems, causing it to become worn and start to slip.

Symptom: Squeaking Noise On The Pedal

If the clutch is worn out or damaged, it won’t be able to provide the necessary friction to stop the ATV, leading to the squeaking sound. It would broadly impact the transmission system. 

Solution: Replace The Clutch

Removing the old clutch to replace a new one can be done in a few simple steps. 

The necessary tools are a lug wrench, a socket set, a clutch alignment tool, a clutch release tool, a torque wrench, and a flathead screwdriver.

With these, you can follow a few simple steps:

  • Begin by draining the engine oil from the ATV and remove the clutch cover. 
  • Loosen the pressure plate and remove the clutch plates and springs. 
  • After this, disconnect the clutch cable from the clutch lever and remove the clutch assembly from the engine. 
  • Clean the clutch components of any dirt or debris and inspect for any damage.
  • When installing a new clutch, lubricate the clutch components with engine oil and install the new pressure plate and clutch plates. 
  • Reinstall the clutch assembly on the engine and reconnect the clutch cable to the clutch lever. 
  • The last step is to replace the clutch cover and refill the engine oil.

Be sure to handle the tools with care and take your time to ensure a secure installation.

Problem 3: Shifting Problems

Worn or damaged internal components can cause the shifting to become erratic, with the rider having difficulty staying in the right gear or having difficulty shifting into the right gear.

Symptom: Machine Failing To Get In Gear

When there is a sudden shift problem, the machine will fail to get into gear. There can be problems associated with the transmission control module, and a quick fix is required. 

Solution: Replace The Transmission

The process of replacing the transmission system inside a vehicle involves several steps. You will need these tools – 

  • Socket wrenches 
  • Torque wrenches 
  • Screwdrivers and 
  • pliers. 

Then, follow the process:

  • The old transmission must be removed from the vehicle. 
  • This can involve disconnecting the transmission from the engine and the drivetrain, along with the shifter, clutch, and transmission mount. 
  • Once the old transmission has been removed, the new transmission can be installed. This includes connecting the transmission to the engine, drivetrain, and other components. 
  • After the new transmission is in place, the fluid must be replaced, and the system must be checked to ensure everything is functioning correctly. 

When the work is over, the vehicle is ready to be driven.

Polaris Sportsman 500 Problems With Other Models (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, And 2013)

The Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV is known to have some common problems with different models. There are two real problems all these model owners have faced over the years. 

Problem 1: Misaligned Wheels

Misaligned wheels can happen when the rider goes over bumps or turns too sharply. Polaris wheels can also lose alignment when the front or rear tires are not perpendicular to the ground.

When the wheels are not aligned properly, it can make it difficult to control the ATV and lead to accidents. Riding on an uneven surface can be tough due to incorrect tire pressure. 

Symptom: Difficulty In Balance

When the wheels are misaligned, the machine pulls to the side or vibrates due to the wheels not being evenly matched. And so it will be difficult to balance while riding. There can be too little or too much tire pressure with a shaking and wobbling feeling in the handlebars. This indicates the time to seek good repairs. 

Solution: Realign Wheels

To apply the proper fix, you have to check the wheel is misaligned. You can see whether the steering wheel is in the center position. If not, get ready for the solution.

Realigning the wheels on an ATV can be done by following these simple steps:

  • Park the ATV on a level surface and remove the key from the ignition.
  • Place a jack stand under the frame of the ATV and raise it until the wheels are off the ground.
  • Use a wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the wheels.
  • Carefully remove the wheels and re-align them using a straight edge. Once aligned, tighten the lug nuts back up and lower the ATV off the jack stand.

Do take professional help when you can’t do the job yourself.

Problem 2: Uncomfortable Seat

Several factors can make an ATV seat uncomfortable. One is the height of the seat about the handlebars. If the seat is too high, it can be difficult to reach the ground, making it hard to control the ATV.

Another problem is that the seat may not be wide enough, which can cause discomfort for some riders.

Symptom: Rider Fatiguing Quickly

The rider’s muscles are constantly working to keep them in balance and hold them upright, so when the seat is uncomfortable, it puts more strain on these muscles. This can cause the rider to fatigue quickly from using more energy than necessary.

Solution: Set The Saddle At Right Height

To set the saddle at the right height, the first step is to find the seat’s height. This can be done by measuring the distance from the ground to the center of the seat.

The second step is to set the saddle at this height. This can be done by adjusting the height of the forks on the ATV. This will solve the problem. 

Maintenance Guide For Polaris Sportsman 500

Polaris Sportsman Servicing

Regular maintenance is necessary to avoid all the above issues. Just like any vehicle, the maintenance scenario of the Polaris Sportsman 500 is no different.

  • Change engine oil every 3000 miles.
  • Regularly change the air filter and clean it with soap and water.
  • Check and replace the spark plug more often.
  • Grease the front suspension regularly.
  • Check and adjust tire pressure every time you go out for a ride.

Adhering to these five points is crucial to ensure that your vehicle is more durable. 


Do all Polaris Sportsman 500 models have engine problems?

Out of all the models, the 2000-year version has been reported as having engine issues. Although other models have similar configurations, engine problems cannot be counted out as there are no reports. 

Do all Polaris 500 models backfire?

Some owners have reported that their vehicles have exhibited a backfiring issue, while others have not experienced it. There may be some variation between models, such as the 2008, 2009, and 2013 versions, regarding the likelihood of backfiring. 

What causes an ATV to bog down when accelerating?

The reason an ATV might bog down when accelerating could be insufficient power. This may be due to a weak engine, improper gearing, or excessive weight. Another reason is that the ATV is not adequately ventilated, leading to a loss of power.


From the models ranging from 1999 to 2013, about ten common Polaris Sportsman 500 problems could be identified. As you can figure out, the solutions are not so difficult, so there is nothing to worry about.

Hopefully, the article has served its purpose, time to go!

Bye for now!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *