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Common Polaris Sportsman 450 Problems In 2022 [ Explained ]

Common Polaris Sportsman 450 Problems In 2022 [ Explained ]

The Polaris Sportsman 450 is a utility vehicle approved by multiple federal and state agencies as a potential vehicle for hunting, fishing, and recreation. The Sportsman 450 has been a popular ATV for years.

This off-road vehicle is suitable for recreational riding, camping, and hauling. As with many ATVs, a few problems can crop up over time.

Polaris Sportsman 450 Common Problems

Although it is loved by many, it has come with specific problems such failing power steering, light falling out and a rough idling sometimes accomp[anied by oil leaking.

These issues though repairable and sometimes needing replacement of the whole system, are pretty expensive and make consumers shy away. Below we look at the most common problems.

1. Power Steering

It is equipped with a power steering system. This allows for greater control during off-roading, making it easier for users to maneuver the machine.

But in 2008, the power steering system on the Sportsman 450 was found to be defective and dangerous. Due to the power steering’s failure, the rider is forced to utilize their arms and shoulders to steer the vehicle, which creates a very dangerous situation.

The Polaris Company has recalled many of its Sportsman 450 ATVs to correct this problem. The Polaris Company has also offered free repairs and upgrades to the power steering system.

Although Polaris has not yet determined the cause, the company believes the pilot bearing’s failure is related to excessive use.

2. Leaking Cooling System

If the cooling system is not working correctly, it can cause the engine to overheat and shut down. Polaris is replacing the radiator in the Polaris Sportsman 450 due to a possible leak in the Cooling System.

Polaris has not indicated what the possible cause is, but it is safe to assume that the possibility of engine failure is high. It is unclear whether this is a quality issue or a manufacturing flaw.

3. Gear Shift Issues

Polaris is working on an issue with the transmission on the Sportsman 450. This problem can cause the transmission to not go into reverse due to a sticking shift interlock safety switch.

This can also result in the inability to place the transmission in neutral.

The problem is that the shift interlock safety switch is being held in by the forward/reverse slider fork shaft. This is causing the switch not to be able to return to the unlock position.

The problem with the shift mechanism in some models (2016)may allow the rider to shift from the Park position into 1st gear without using the handlebar-mounted lever. This may cause the vehicle to roll unexpectedly, posing a risk of injury or death to the rider and others.

4. Uneven Power Distribution

The Polaris Sportsman 450 has a problem with the amount of power going to the front wheel, resulting in damage to the front wheel and front differential. Uneven power distribution can also cause the front wheels to lift off the ground, leading to a severe accident.

In most cases, the manufacturer has had recalls to rectify the problems, which are sometimes accompanied by torsional flexing in the center of the frame, which is a problem that is common to all ATVs.

5. Warning Lights

Polaris has issued a recall notice for some of its utility vehicles. According to the company, if the ignition is left on, the warning lights on the instrument cluster may stay illuminated.

Although this condition does not affect the vehicle’s operation, it may cause the driver to think that a warning light is on when it is not. As a result, this may result in the driver taking extreme action, such as turning off the ignition and restarting the engine.

This problem could also be the wiring that runs to the dash. The wiring that has to be replaced is in the harness that exits the vehicle’s rear. This harness runs under the rear seat and just behind the driver’s seat.

6. Tricky to replace Lights and Bulbs

To save costs, Polaris made the front running lights, taillights, and brake lights all a single light in the front of the bike. When any of these light up, the bulb is broken. (In the rear, the brake light and tail lights are separate.)

This is a problem because the bulbs are not replaceable and must be replaced by a dealer. Since these are single filament bulbs, once they go wrong, they are dead.

This can leave the driver stranded. In some cases, the wires can be pulled out of the housing and repaired, but that requires removing the cowling, the seat, the bolts, a wrench, and a tool kit.

How Reliable is Polaris sportsman?

A person searching for an all-around utility vehicle will find the Polaris Sportsman a great value. This is an excellent all-around four-wheeler that will allow you to be out on the trails with the family or even carry cargo to the local track or farm within a reasonable time.

Polaris Sportsman is reliable because they are hardy and can take a lot of damage. They are made with a heavy-duty aluminum frame and are designed to be wildlife-proof.

This means that they can withstand dings, scratches, and small amounts of damage to the body, and it does not affect the vehicle’s performance. The suspension is also designed to be wildlife-proof.

The suspension is designed to be durable and robust to handle rough terrain. The suspension is also designed to be dependable so that your vehicle runs with the highest level of performance.

Is Polaris Sportsman Any Good?

The Polaris Sportsman all-terrain vehicles are a line of side-by-side utility vehicles built by Polaris Industries. The Sportsman ATV line is designed to be a rugged, affordable, multipurpose all-terrain vehicle that can navigate most terrains and is adaptable to most uses.

Compared to the Yamaha Grizzly, the Sportsman is more robust and heavier. For example, the 500 Sportsman has a 500cc engine, and the Grizzly has a 460cc engine.

The Sportsman is also one inch wider and one inch taller. So the Sportsman is a little more powerful, but it’s also bigger and heavier, so the power to weight ratio is a little less, maybe a little worse than the Yamaha Grizzly.


Polaris has many problems that they’re beginning to work on. Polaris is behind in design and technology that impact safety, reliability, and quality.

This puts Polaris behind in meeting the expectations of your consumer. Polaris also lacks a top-down vision for dealing with these issues.

Polaris Sportsman 450 problems can quickly be solved, and your local dealer can help you replace and repair parts.