Polaris Sportsman Turn Over But won’t Start: 5 Reasons

The Polaris sportsman can be a great ATV. However, this all-terrain vehicle might have a few troubleshooting problems.

So you’re wondering why your Polaris sportsman can turn over but won’t start?

More often than not it is because of a lack of fuel. If your tank is full then the other probabilities will include a flooded engine, weak or incorrect sparks, debris, or overheating. Furthermore, other issues might include battery issues or low coolant.  Fortunately, there are solutions to the problem. 

We’ve listed a total of 5 reasons why you’re facing the issue along with the solution.

Why Does My Polaris Sportsman Turn Over But Won’t Start?

There might be a few reasons apart from fuel as to why your ATV turns over but doesn’t start.

Polaris Sportsman

5 of them along with the solutions are: 

Reason 1: Weak or incorrect spark

Generally speaking the combustion reaction,won’t happen if your ATV has an improper or weak spark. Combustion reactions are what run your vehicle.

Even if your Polaris sportsman cranks, a spark might not be strong enough to start. Generally speaking, sparks alone may have a lot of problems.

There might be a problem with the gap in the spark plug. In this case, it’s best to adjust the gap of the spark plug to usable proportions.

There might be problems with faulty spark plug caps. Ideally, use good quality spark plug caps such as the non-resistor type spark caps. This issue can also be confused with wires being broken off your coil.

Apart from that defective spark plugs is also a possibility

In case the problem is grave then either contact a Polaris dealer or follow the repair manuals available for ATVs i.e ATV repairs. Some good spark plugs for ATV include-

Model Special feature Current market price
DENSO #4504 PLATINUM T T Spark Plugs — PK20TT Affordably priced spark plug that gives you a high-quality engine performance (25.62USD for a pack of 6)
Denso 3444 Spark Plug Relatively pricey but is made of high-quality materials 20.31USD for a single unit
NGK 7162 Standard Spark Plug – DR8EA, For those at a really tight budget 3 USD for a single unit

Hopefully, these spark plug recommendations will help. These can be good replacements for a nonfunctional spark plug. 

Reason 2: Weak Battery

Sometimes your engine won’t have a proper battery connection which leads to it turning and not starting. A Polaris Sportsman 400 or 500 cranking but not starting might have a weak battery in such cases. 

Make sure to test the battery with a battery tester before you charge up the system in this case. However, if the battery is bad then the charging systems probably won’t work. 

Make sure that your battery is charged at around 12.8 VDC. This will ensure that there is no problem regarding the low voltage of the battery.

Reason 3: Dirt

There’s the possibility that there’s dirt in your spark plug. Dirt may also be present in your ATV’s fuel line or your ATV’s filter.

Make sure that you clean your fuel line in case of this. Dirt existent in the fuel line will lead to clogged pipes leading to fuel not being delivered to be combusted. Make sure that the gas(or any other fuel that you’re using flows smoothly.

The filter’s purpose is of course to ensure that dirt doesn’t enter your vehicle. But make sure that you clean your filter so that the issue largely is never a problem.

Clean your spark plug if it is dirty.

Reason 4: Fuel Pump issues

Your fuel pump might fail on you worse than your grades in the darkest moments of your life. But it’s best not to fret about it. Make sure that there isn’t anything that is obstructing your fuel pump.

It’s a probability that you might find a noisy engine if there’s an ineffective fuel pump. Make sure that your fuel pump isn’t showing any other classic signs of failing as your Sportsman 400 cranking and not starting is a symptom.

And so is it turning over and still not starting despite being a newer sportsman model 500. Sputtering and surging are two other symptoms that you may face.

While cleaning a fuel tank may be easy in relative terms over here, ideally, you should still search for the best ways to do so

Fixing it on the other hand isn’t that easy. Make sure to go through proper sources that’ll be a helping guide or buy replacements. Don’t put yourself in danger of the toxic fumes that come along with it though.

Reason 5: Overheated Engine

Generally speaking your engine overheating and failing on you is generally a good thing. Make sure that the causes are properly dealt with. Here a dirty screen or debris being stuck in your screen might be an issue.

Make sure that the screen gets cleared of all debris in that case.

Other possible issues and tips

You might have problems that are more common. This may include things like low fuel in your ATV as well as issues like flooded engines. But generally speaking, it’s not a problem related to your ATV cranking but not starting.

If your ATV is low on fuel then make sure to refuel your ATV. Carry extra fuel with you if possible especially if you’re hunting.

If your engine is flooded then the possible culprits are either water or gasoline. In such cases drain your engine of any fuel or water. Make sure that your engine stays dry(not dry of lubricant of course) 

Tips to Make Sure that Your Atv is Okay

Ideally, you should make sure that your vehicle is spic and span. Various models of the Polaris sportsman may have various problems. Ideally, when looking for a solution in detail you should look into ATV repair manuals.

running Polaris Sportsman ATV

Generally speaking, our article should’ve gone through most of the issues that exist. But detailed nitty-gritty problems are possibly better dealt with there. Be sure to beef up your maintenance of the ATV. The last thing that you’d want is to be stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. It’s always best to make sure that the maintenance is on point so that you don’t face such situations again.

Stay safe and godspeed!


Polaris Sportsman Cranks But Won’t Start?

This generally happens if you’re out of fuel. Make sure to refuel your ATV if this happens. If it still doesn’t help then most of the other issues have already been dealt with by the rest of the article.

Why Is My Polaris ATV Not Starting?

The answer is that there is an ignition problem that exists in your vehicle. Firstly, remove your plug and then put it in the spark plug boot. Then ground its tip into the motor of the ATV and turn over. Make sure that you have a solid spark.

Why Does My Polaris Sportsman 500 Have Spark And Fuel But Won’t Start?

The problem might be in the valves of the vehicle. Ideally, you’ll have to fix your valves if there’s a problem that exists within them.


We hope that we were able to largely resolve your issue of your polari sportsman turning over but not starting. These 7 reasons and solutions should’ve gone through most of the existing issues.

However in case the issue still isn’t fixed, ideally, do more research. Go through ATV repair manuals. Or go to a Polaris dealership or a skilled mechanic to make sure that it’s fixed.

Mark Williams

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