When the Polaris RZR side-by-sides burst on the off-roading scene in 2007, they were the first vehicles to meet federal trail regulations that established a 50 inch width limit on ATVs, helping to establish Polaris as an industry leader in side-by-sides. But with recurring problems and recalls issued for several of their models, it’s been a tough few years for Polaris.
Among those recalls are recent versions of the RZR, those game-changing side-by-sides that took 2007 by storm. In April 2016 Polaris recalled RZR 900 and 1000 models from 2013–2016, adding up to more than 133,000 vehicles in total. There are a few different issues that caused Polaris to issue the recall, but they each have the potential to cause fire. More than 160 RZR related fires have been reported to Polaris, including one that resulted in the death of a rider, and 19 others causing burns ranging from third to first degree. As part of the recall, Polaris identified a few key defects that can cause fires, including:
misrouted fuel tank vent lines
faulty voltage regulators
leaky fuel box seals
For anyone who has been following the RZR line, this news won’t come as a complete surprise. In 2015, the RZR 900 and 1000 models for that year were recalled due to issues with fuel tank vent lines and reports of vehicle fires, and the more recent RZR recall just seems to build on these previously noted problems.
RZRs have been known in the past as some of the best handling side-by-sides on the market, but testing the limits of that handling has caused problems for some riders. A top-heavy frame in the RZR XP 1000 models from 2015 and ‘16 has caused complaints about excessive body roll from some, and other drivers report roll-over incidents. While almost any off-road vehicle has the potential to roll-over depending on how and where it’s being operated, drivers expect that machines are designed to reduce the chances of these accidents.
Aside from the fuel line problems and risk of fire or roll-overs, some less dangerous but still frustrating problems have been associated with the 2015 and 2016 RZR 1000 models. The clutch intake tends to bring in dust that can cause problems in your machine. But with or without dust intake issues, clutch replacement is one of the most frequent repairs needed on these machines, as both the primary and secondary clutches have been plagued by problems.
Unfortunately for Polaris, the recalls just keep on coming. The most recent, in March 2017, involved Sportsman 850 and 1000 ATVs from 2015 and ’16, with fire and burn hazards again being cited as the reason behind the recall. Owners of any recalled ATV are advised to stop using their vehicles immediately and contact Polaris to schedule repairs.
Safety should always be the primary concern of ATV and side-by-side operators and passengers. Issues like these can be frustrating and dangerous, but they help us to remember to pay close attention to our machines, and always ride safe.