Polaris Sportsman 500 Shifting Problems and Solutions

The most common Polaris Sportsman 500 shifting problems are stuck gear, hard shifting, overheating, and creeping. Besides, issues like reversing up at high speed before transmission, clunking, and grinding or rattling noises from the engine also arise in this vehicle model. 

Fixing these issues is crucial yet simple. Moreover, if you know the cause, you can do it on your own. In this article, we are going to discuss the multiple transmission problems of the Polaris Sportsman 500. Keep reading to learn more about its shifting problems and their solutions!

6 Most Common Polaris Sportsman 500 Shifting Problems: Discussed and Solved

Shifting Problems 


It doesn’t lock into reverse and makes noise while shifting gears into highThe dog’s gears aren’t engaging properly in the transmission 
Can’t shift into high or reverse gearDamaged bell crank or shift rod ends are responsible for this issue. Also, if the teeth of the dog’s gear inside the tranny get worn out, it can cause this Problem.
Clunking noise while turning at a slow speedMetal shavings on the magnet, insufficient greasing, and bad mounts
Hardship in shifting along with creeping issuesKicking in of tires, wear in linkage, and shift boxes cause this issue
The linkage rod gets stuck into the gear causing the stick to shiftMisalignment of shifting rods, water, and contaminants buildup due to the damaged seal on the cover
The engine revs up very high before shifting into high gearLack of adequate lubricant and damaged motor mountings, worn out belt, and clutch can cause this Problem

1. Clunking Noise

This is one of the most common shifting problems of the Polaris Sportsman 500. You may face this problem whenever you try to make a change in your speed or want to shift the gear.

There might be a variety of reasons behind this. But, the prime causes are bad motor mounts and damaged axles.


  • Check the transmission fluid. If the fluid looks insufficient or discolored, fill or replace the fluid for better transmission. (1)
  • Inspect the mountings and joints of the motor. Repair all of the damaged and worn-out joints.
  • Fix the damaged axles or replace them with new ones.

2. Hardship In Shifting High Or Reverse Gear

This problem mainly occurs when you try to shift the quad in high or reverse gear. It will not lock in those gears regardless if the engine is off or on.

Sometimes, you might also encounter rough, hard, and crunchy shifting. To understand the gear selector, you can check the following diagram.

Gear Selector Diagram

Source: Partzilla

This gear selector functions to shift the gear in your vehicle. The rod ends connect with the shifter through lock nuts and 10mm nuts.

If those nuts become loose or the O-rings become damaged, it may cause hard shifting.


  • Remove the shift linkage, and you will find a bell crank made of aluminum. Now, you have to tighten the vice grip of the bell crank.
  • Also, check the dog gear. If you find out that the teeth get cracked or damaged, you have to replace them.

3. Grinding Or Rattling Noise

Sometimes, a grinding noise comes from the engine when you try to shift from neutral to high or low gear. Low transmission fluid, dragging and damaged clutches, and bad linkage are primarily responsible for this issue.


  • Adjust the synchronizer properly so that the gear doesn’t slip
  • Change or repair the damaged clutches
  • Try to fix the “dogs” on the gear, and if you fail, install new ones (2)
  • Seek help from the mechanic if you can’t resolve it yourself

4. Stuck Shifter

This problem mainly arises when you try to shift the quad from high to low gear. As if you are stuck in gear, you won’t be able to shift the vehicle.

Mainly you will face this Problem often if the shifter is old enough. To understand this problem better, check out this video!


  • Disconnect the shifter and turn the shifter back on neutral
  • Check the alignment of the shifting rod
  • Adjust the misaligned shifting rod properly
  • Inspect the cover seal and replace it if it is damaged

5. Creeping Issues

This issue refers to the circumstances when you can’t shift the gear, and also it creeps at idle. When the belt doesn’t align correctly with the bearing, it rubs against the drive sheave. That’s why it becomes tricky when you try to change the gear and creeps when it engages with the gear.


  • Check the front hub fluid and replace it if needed
  • Check if the belt of the rear clutches is touching with the front clutch sheath
  • Remove the rear clutch shims and align them properly in the center
  • You might need to change the primary clutch

6. High RPM Shifting

When you encounter this issue, whenever you try to shift, the engine will show a high rpm. Mainly, when you give throttle, the quad will start moving as it will get the power from the engine. As a result, before shifting, it revs up to around 5000 rpm to 6000 rpm.


  • Check for the motor mounts if they are broken or not. Change those mounts if they are damaged
  • You can also install a pry bar between the frame and engine close to every mount
  • If you still can’t solve this issue, you need to change the clutches


Here, we will answer several questions that people ask about Polaris Sportsman 500 shifting.

Q: Can Car Overheating Cause Polaris Sportsman 500 Shift Problems?

Yes, it does. A deficiency of transmission fluid causes shifting problems along with overheating.

Q: What Are The Elements Inside A Polaris Sportsman 500 Shift Box?

The box is mainly filled with motor oil, and two rods go inside this. When you drain the motor oil, you will find a notch in every rod to hold the shift lever.

Q: When Is It Impossible To Shift Though The Polaris Sportsman 500 Motor Is Running?

This issue occurs when the shift rod is not adjusted properly and accurately. Also, high rpm in idle can create this issue. You have to check and fix these troubles to solve this issue.


Like any other vehicle, Polaris Sportsman 500 also may encounter problems like shifting problems. If you let those problems linger, they may cause further damage to your vehicle. That’s why it’s better to solve these shifting problems as soon as you notice them.

We discussed the reasons and solutions to a few Common shifting problems with Polaris Sportsman 500. If you understand those reasons that are responsible, you can also quickly solve them by following effective solutions methods.


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