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10 Most Common Polaris Sportsman 450 Problems- How to Fix

Since its introduction, the Polaris Sportsman 450 has been a popular all-terrain vehicle amongst outdoor adventurers and off-road enthusiasts. However, while the Polaris Sportsman 450 is a great ATV to own, it does come with its share of common problems.

The most common Polaris Sportsman 450 problems include:

  • Faulty gear shifter
  • Bad power distribution between wheels
  • Issue with the engine
  • Faulty Power Steering
  • Leakage in the cooling system
  • Overheating
  • Lagged acceleration
  • Issue with the warning lights
  • Poor build quality
  • Battery problems

In this article, I will look at the 10 most common Polaris Sportsman 450 problems and discuss how to address them best. From engine issues to structural flaws, I’ll cover it all. So if you’re in the market for an ATV or already own a Polaris Sportsman 450, this article is for you.

Basic Features of Polaris Sportsman 450:



Ground Clearance

11.5 in (29 cm)

Overall Vehicle Size (L x W x H)

83 x 48 x 47 in (210.8 x 121.9 x 119.4 cm)

Payload Capacity

485 lb (220 kg)

Estimated Dry Weight

698 lbs (317 kg)

Front/Rear Rack

90 lb /180 lb (40.8 kg /81.6 kg)

Fuel Capacity

4.5 gal (17.0 L)

Person Capacity


Active Descent Control

Not Equipped



Cylinders Displacement


Drive System Type

One Touch On-Demand AWD/2WD

Seat Height

33.25 in (84.5 cm)


50.5 in (128.3 cm)

Electronic Power Steering

Not Equipped

Front Tires

25 x 8-12; 489

Rear Tires

25 x 10-12; 489


12 in. (30.5 cm) Steel

Engine Braking System (EBS)

Not Equipped

Engine Type

Prostar 4-Stroke SOHC Single Cylinder

Fuel System/Battery

Electronic Fuel Injection / 340 CCA


33 HP

Transmission/Final Drive

Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H In-line Shifting

Now that you know the basic features of the Polaris Sportsman 450 (H.O. Sage Green, 2023 model), let’s move to the problems and their solutions.

1. Faulty Gear Shifter in Polaris Sportsman 450:

The faulty gear shifter is one of the most common problems with the Polaris Sportsman 450.

The gear shifter is one of the essential components in an ATV, and it is responsible for the smooth and efficient shifting of gears while driving. If it fails, it can cause jerks while up-shifting and down-shifting, making your ATV feel sluggish while driving.
10 Most Common Polaris Sportsman 450 Problems- How to Fix

The cause of the faulty gear shifter is usually due to worn-out internal components of the gear or the inner bearings. This can cause the gear not to shift correctly, leading to a sluggish riding experience.

10 Most Common Polaris Sportsman 450 Problems- How to Fix

How to Fix:

If you’re experiencing gear-shifting issues with your Polaris Sportsman 450, the best thing to do is take it to a mechanic or automobile expert to replace the parts.

Unfortunately, the gear shifter and its components are not something you can easily fix alone. However, replacing the worn-out parts is the only way to get your ATV back in working order.

The process of replacing the gears of your Polaris Sportsman 450 begins with the removal of the old ones. But first, you must carefully remove the entire gearbox from your ATV.

This delicate process should be done with care as the gears are under pressure and can easily break if handled improperly. Once the gearbox is out, the expert can replace the faulty gears with new ones.

2. Bad Distribution of Power Between Wheels:

Another common problem faced and reported by many Polaris Sportsman 450 consumers is that the ATV is unable to distribute equal power and torque to both the front and rear ends of the vehicle.

It means that when the vehicle is being driven, it would either tail out from the rear end or slip from the front end, which would endanger the life of the rider since it could cause an unwanted road accident. 

It happens due to a faulty speed sensor which helps regulate the speed of tires. A faulty speed sensor would cause the power to distribute unequally.

How to Fix:

This problem can be easily fixed. All you need to do is replace the faulty speed sensor with a new one. You can find replacement sensors at most ATV parts stores. It’s essential to ensure you buy the correct type for your Polaris Sportsman 450.

Once the new sensor has been installed, you should find that the power distribution between the wheels is much more consistent.

This should ensure that your ATV is much safer to drive and won’t suffer from unexpected tailing or slipping.

3. The Issue with the Engine:

The Polaris Sportsman 450 has a rigid engine, but it also comes with certainly known faults. A large number of users worldwide have reported an entire breakdown of the vehicle's engine, meaning that the ATV comes to a complete stop after being driven a few thousand kilometers.

The vehicle’s engine gets seized when the vehicle’s cooling system fails or due to numerous other issues.

How to Fix:

The only solution to this problem is a complete overhaul of the engine or replacing the engine assembly. Here are some of the possible solutions which can be followed to deal with the engine issues in Sportsman 450:

The only solution to this problem is a complete engine overhaul or replacing the engine assembly.

  • STEP 1: First, check to see if the engine is flooding due to excessive gas flow. To do this, you should examine the tank vent, gasoline line, valve, filter, and fuel pump. Additionally, make sure that the tank is full.
  • STEP 2: Inspect the ignition module, especially the spark plug and the carb starter circuit. This will help you identify any possible issues preventing the engine from working correctly.
  • STEP 3: Finally, you should also check for high cylinder leakage. This can be easily done by checking the compression ratio of your ATV. If the compression ratio is too high, it could result in a problem with the engine.
10 Most Common Polaris Sportsman 450 Problems- How to Fix

By following these steps, you can identify any potential issues with the engine of your Polaris Sportsman 450. If none of these steps work, you may need to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic.

However, if you can identify the issue, you should be able to resolve it yourself.

To keep your Polaris Sportsman 450 engine robust, perform a regular check of the follwing attributes:

3.1. Condition of Battery:

It is recommended to check the functioning and charging of the battery of your Polaris Sportsman 450 before consulting a mechanic.

  • First, check the readings of the battery. If the reading is between 12.4-12.8 volts on a multimeter, it indicates a good working battery.
  • Readings other than this indicate a defective battery that needs replacement and can interfere with the engine’s working.

3.2. Production of Spark:

Check the production of spark in your Sportsman 450 as it is linked with the engine. If there is weak spark production, the engine will not work correctly and will not start at a regular pace.

  • STEP 1: You can replace a worn-out spark by unscrewing it from the cylinder head and replacing the wire socket of the spark plug.
  • STEP 2: Check the strength and production of the spark and then start the engine. If the issue is still not resolved, the problem can be with the engine’s ignition system or the coil.
  • STEP 3: You can also check the working of the components of the ignition system, such as a primary fuse, solenoids, connections, and the starter motor.

3.3. Condition of Fuel Pump:

Check out the fuel system in your engine along with the spark.

  • STEP 1: First, it is recommended to ensure the gas tank is in full state. If there is a low level of gas or flow, remove its fuel line and start the engine again.
  • STEP 2: Next, check fuel intake and associated components like fuel pumps, clogs, air filters, and fuel filters. It is advisable to change the fuel after six months of usage as it can cause corrosion in the system, and if required, reinstall the air intake system of your vehicle.

Other than this, the engine also shutdowns in Polaris Sportsman 450 due to malfunctioning in the fuel pump.

You can replace the fuel pump, which costs around $180, and you can reinstall the pump within 30 minutes, even without the help of a mechanic.

3.4. Compression of Engine:

The issue with compression arises when the engine cannot pull the fuel in the cylinder. The compression issue occurs when there is a leakage in the head gasket or piston ring.

You can check the fault in compression by using a compression tester kit.

4. Faulty Power Steering:

The Polaris Sportsman 450 is equipped with power steering, which is a plus point if we compare the ATV to other competitor products in the market. 

However, the power steering component has been reported faulty by various consumers. They report that the steering sometimes lacks power and becomes hard and stiff, making it impossible for the driver to steer.
10 Most Common Polaris Sportsman 450 Problems- How to Fix

In the 2017 model of Sportsman, about 10,000 units of the vehicle were repaired due to low fluid levels in the power steering and malfunctioning in the power steering unit.

How to Fix:

STEP 1: First, check the power steering fluid level. Low fluid levels can contribute to poor steering performance. So topping up the fluid, or replacing it entirely if it’s old, should be your first step.

STEP 2: Inspect the power steering system for any wear or damage. If parts need repair or replacement, immediately take your vehicle to an authorized Polaris dealer. The dealer can diagnose and fix any issues with the power steering system.

STEP 3: If the power steering system is still not functioning correctly, it’s possible that the power steering belt has come loose or is broken. To fix this, you should visit a Polaris dealer and have them check and replace the belt if necessary.

STEP 4: If all else fails, replacing the power steering system is time. This is a more complicated repair and usually requires a professional. If you don’t have the technical know-how to take this on yourself, it’s best to leave it to the experts.

5. The Issue of Leakage in the Cooling System:

If you have a Polaris Sportsman 450, you may have experienced issues with the cooling system. The Polaris Sportsman 450 is powered by a naturally aspirated engine, meaning it needs enough coolant flowing through the cooling system to operate at its best.

Unfortunately, the cooling system of the Sportsman 450 can be unreliable and cause various problems.

One of the most common issues is the cooling system’s leakage. The Sportsman 450 has received many complaints about this problem, which is caused due to the poor design of the cooling system.

Leaks in the cooling system can cause the engine to overheat, leading to a complete breakdown.
10 Most Common Polaris Sportsman 450 Problems- How to Fix

How to Fix:

When it comes to fixing the issue of leakage in the cooling system, the first thing you should do is locate where the leak is coming from.

Once you’ve identified the source of the leakage, you’ll need to repair or replace the pipes.

Unfortunately, you cannot repair or replace the pipes independently, so it is better to seek help from a professional mechanic or an automobile expert who can handle this repair.

6. The Issue of Overheating:

The most common Polaris Sportsman 450 problem is overheating. This can sometimes happen when driving for an extended period or when the engine oil has not been changed regularly as recommended. In addition, the engine of the Polaris Sportsman 450 is much tighter than other ATVs, which can cause it to overheat.

Additionally, an issue with the Polaris Sportsman 450 can be caused by a low oil level. If the oil level is lower than the normal operating level, it can cause the vehicle to overheat. Overburdening the vehicle with too much extra weight can also contribute to the vehicle overheating.

How to Fix:

To avoid this issue, you must check the oil level regularly and ensure that you use the correct oil grade for the vehicle.

Additionally, ensure you are not overloading the vehicle with extra cargo or people.

7. The Issue of Lagged Acceleration:

The vehicle shows a significant lag in acceleration when it is being driven in terrains that are steep, muddy, or in the mountains. The issue with acceleration arises due to a faulty throttle cable or engine.

How to Fix:

  • STEP 1: The first step is to check the engine and throttle cable. The throttle cable controls the engine; if it is not functioning correctly, it could cause lagged acceleration. If the throttle cable is damaged or worn, you must get it repaired or replaced. This should be done by a professional who specializes in automobile repair.
  • STEP 2: If the throttle cable does not cause the lagged acceleration, then you can look at other potential causes. For example, if the drive belt is worn or out of alignment, it can cause the engine to run inefficiently, contributing to the problem.

In this case, you must take your Polaris 450 to a professional auto repair shop to replace the drive belt.

8. The Issue with the Display of Warning Lights:

It can be extremely frustrating to drive a Polaris Sportsman 450 and find the warning lights coming up on the instrument cluster without any warning. Unfortunately, this issue has existed for some time and can be found in vehicles worldwide.

Many users have reported that these warning lights appear for no particular reason, making it difficult to enjoy your ride. Therefore, it is essential to look at the cause of the problem as soon as possible to resolve it.

The issue’s root cause with the warning lights display can be attributed to a few different things.

  • First, the vehicle’s wiring system may have broken wires or loose connections. If the wiring system is not in proper condition, the warning lights likely show up even when the vehicle functions correctly.
  • It is also possible that the warning lights are simply due to a malfunction in the vehicle’s computer system. If this is the case, inspecting and repairing the computer system as soon as possible is essential.

Sometimes, the vehicle’s sensors may not work correctly and send incorrect signals. If this is the case, checking the sensors and ensuring they are in proper working order is essential.

How to Fix:

STEP 1: First, check your vehicle’s wiring system for any problems. A blown-out fuse, for example, can cause the warning lights to come up. Replacing the fuse should solve the problem. 

STEP 2:  Check the battery connections. If the connections are loose, then it can cause the warning lights to come up. Ensure the connections are tight and secure and the terminals are clean.

STEP 3: The next possible cause of warning lights is a loose wire or a faulty relay. If so, replace the wire or relay with a new one. This should take care of the issue.

9. The Issue of Poor Build Quality:

One of the most common issues with the Polaris Sportsman 450 is its poor build quality.

Over time, a body roll is created due to the substandard material used by the vehicle’s manufacturer. This can make it difficult for the driver to control the vehicle, leading to potential accidents.

Users have also complained about the cheap aspects of the build-up, which leads to the breaking of its parts. The new models needed better engines and components like bad batteries and brake lenses.

How to Fix:

If you have faced such build-up issues in your Polaris Sportsman 450 and there is a warranty for your vehicle, it is better to consult the manufacturers to fix the problems.

Other than this, for minor issues, you can consult an automobile expert who can temporarily fix such problems in the vehicle. 

It is also essential to regularly maintain your Polaris Sportsman 450 to prevent further damage. Regular maintenance includes:

  • Lubricating the engine and other parts
  • Checking the oil level
  • Checking all the nuts and bolts for tightness

Additionally, you should also check the air filter and tire pressure regularly. This will ensure that your Polaris Sportsman 450 can run smoothly and efficiently.

10. The Problems with Battery:

The battery of the Polaris Sportsman 450 is expected to supply enough power to start the vehicle and take it to any location. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Many users have reported that the battery discharges even when the vehicle turns off. This can be annoying and troublesome, especially if the vehicle is needed in an emergency.

The most common problem caused by the battery’s poor performance is that the vehicle fails to start. This is because the battery has weakened significantly, which results in a lack of power to start the engine.

How to Fix:

If your Polaris Sportsman 450 is not getting enough power, it’s possible that the battery is not charging correctly.

A damaged alternator or a faulty regulator can cause this. If this is the case, replacing the alternator or regulator is best.

You may also be experiencing a problem with the fuel system. For example, a faulty fuel pump, a clogged fuel filter, or a fuel injector can cause this. You may need to replace the fuel filter, pump, or injector.

Pros and Cons of Polaris Sportsman 450:



Polaris Sportsman 450 is a vehicle that does not produce loud and thundering noise during off-roading.

Polaris Sportsman 450 shows some issues with gear shifting, which creates problems for the rider.

This vehicle offers an excellent suspension system that is crucial for rough terrains.

Many customers have reported leakage from the cooling system and engine oil after a certain time of its usage.

It holds ergonomic seating, which provides comfort to the rider.

This vehicle lacks power steering, a significant issue shown while climbing uphill.

This vehicle has a fuel-efficient and powerful engine.

Polaris Sportsman 450 Users’ Feedback/Review:

Let’s see what the users of Polaris Sportsman 450 think about the vehicle:

Polaris Sportsman 450 Users’ Feedback/Review 1
Polaris Sportsman 450 Users’ Feedback/Review 2
Polaris Sportsman 450 Users’ Feedback/Review 3
Polaris Sportsman 450 Users’ Feedback/Review 4
Polaris Sportsman 450 Users’ Feedback/Review 5

Polaris Sportsman 450 Attribute

Users' Rating



Payload & Towing

Ride & Handling


Overall, many users are satisfied with the Polaris Sportsman 450. Some common positive points include its powerful engine, good suspension, comfortable ride, and versatile capabilities for both work and recreation.

Many users also appreciate the variety of features and accessories available for customization, such as winches, plows, and racks.

However, there are some negative comments as well. For example, some users have reported issues with reliability, such as engine problems or electrical issues.

Others have complained about the need for frequent maintenance and repairs. Additionally, some users have mentioned that the vehicle can be challenging to handle in certain situations, such as steep terrain or deep mud.

Overall, the Polaris Sportsman 450 is a popular choice among ATV enthusiasts, but as with any vehicle, there are advantages and drawbacks to consider before purchasing.

Final Thought:

In conclusion, the Polaris Sportsman 450 is an excellent ATV providing a great user experience. Although some common issues need to be addressed, the pros of owning this vehicle far outweigh the cons.

With proper maintenance and care, these issues can be easily resolved, and you can continue to enjoy the thrill of riding your Polaris Sportsman 450 for many years to come!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What are the common problems seen in the Polaris ATV vehicle?

The common problems complained about by the Polaris ATV owners include issues with electrical, power steering, and engine. Different models have shown separate issues, like Polaris Sportsman 850 showed problems with the battery and engine.

Is Polaris Sportsman 450 considered a good quad?

Polaris Sportsman 450 is considered a good quad and was the first choice of suitable ATVs for adults.

What are some of the issues complained about by the owners of Polaris Sportsman 450?

The owners of Polaris Sportsman 450 complained about the improper wiring harness, improper brake line, and poor frame of the vehicle from the side of the front brakes. These issues make the vehicle more prone to injury.

What is the worth of Polaris Sportsman 450?

The Polaris Sportsman 450 holds a worth of $6999. It delivers an excellent ride that can be handled with great care.

Is Polaris Sportsman considered a suitable vehicle?

Yes, Polaris Sportsman is regarded as a competitive vehicle giving tough competition to its competitors in the market. In addition, it is considered one of the best-selling ATVs in the market and performs exceptionally high.

How much average speed can a quad 450 attain?

Quad 450 can achieve an average speed of about 55 mph, which is impressive according to the engine’s size.

Which is the fastest 450R considered in Honda?

The fastest 450R is the Honda TRX. It offers a top speed of 74 mph.