Polaris RZR 900 & S900 Complaints and Problems – Is Your New ATV A Lemon?

Frame, drive belt and engine issues among the top complaints from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Polaris RZR 900 lineup is said to be the “most powerful, fastest accelerating” model for the trail. While it might have plenty of power, this off-road machine suffers from numerous complaints that cause concern. From broken drive belts to overheating issues, Polaris has a lot to fix before customers will be happy.

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Drive Belt Problems

Without a properly working drive belt in the Polaris, the rider is out of luck. This vital part should be made of highly durable materials to ensure a long life. While the machine itself receives a lot of abuse, there’s really no reason for this part to prematurely fail, yet that is what owners find.

Even on the Polaris website, reviews just like this one are rampant. “I bought this three months ago and before I even got two hundred miles on it the belt blew up and now I don’t trust it at all.”

It’s become such a significant problem that forums now discuss replacing the OEM drive belt with an aftermarket component instead. It seems that owners don’t mind spending more than $13k for an ATV as long as they can replace the drive belt with something better. Does this sound like a well-built machine? For that amount of cash, it is safe to assume that the major components will hold up for a short time, at least.

Here are some actual complaints logged with ConsumerAffairs about the Polaris ATVs Build Quality and Reliability Issues

RZR 900 EPS that was purchased from dealer when it had 4km on it and EVERY a-arm bushing, shock bushing and wheel bearing is shot after 2 years of ownership with 2600kms. Can’t ride it. Also pro shaft has excessive play at both ends and axles click. I drive 5kms a day to and from coffee shop on dry trail that has a couple puddles that are a few inches deep. Engine always clacks hard when started if it sits too long. Previous machine was sportsman 570 that had piston always stuck at top dead center and was very difficult to get to turn over and start since it was bought from dealer brand new. Front axles always clicked. Quality is just not there. These machines are fun and very capable but they just don’t last. Next machine is Kawi or Yamaha.

So I bought a new Polaris General and immediately the power steering went out. I looked in the manual and online and nothing except take it in. Then I called Polaris and they said it had to come in. I had it taken there, they said then that it was a fuse. $300 (towing and assessment) later when I could have changed a fuse. So bad.

People never ever buy anything that has Polaris on it. I don’t care what it is or what your friends and family have said good about them. They are trash. This company makes vehicles that last for 5000 miles then you need a new clutch, cv joints, motor overhaul, tranny overhaul and totally change all other parts of machine. Then it will last for another 5000 then do it all over again. It goes on and on. Just take this advice. 

Dealership has had my UTV more than I have had it. The front differential is going bad but for some reason they can’t figure it out. Both the rear axles went bad at 200 miles and they made me pay for them. Installed two upgraded axles and one is already bad.

Engine System Problems

Considering Polaris boasts about the power behind this model, it makes sense that it would contain a strong engine, but that isn’t what owners have found.

Again, a quick look on the product website shows us reviews such as this, “I have had great fun but in the shop with 19 hours because we were left stranded out in the country when it overheated and shut down. Then had to walk a ways and flag down someone who was nice enough to load up our RZR and take us back to our vehicle.”

No one should worry about a new Polaris overheating on the trail. That’s unacceptable. It turns out that engine fires and overheating is an ongoing problem that this company deals with. It wasn’t that long ago that they issued a recall on RZR 900 models for “thermal-related incidents, including fires.” After paying out millions of dollars in lawsuits for fire injuries and death, Polaris still finds itself in hot water. In fact, the lawsuits continue to flow in regarding other riders on RZR vehicles getting hurt. This is an issue that should have been resolved a long time ago, yet it persists. While one might not argue with the statement that it is powerful and fast-accelerating, it doesn’t seem worth the fire danger. It certainly isn’t worth paying so much for the ATV just to go up in flames.

Frame Structure Issues

As an off-road vehicle, the Polaris RZR 900 and S 900 should be built on a foundation of strong materials. This ATV is going to encounter rough and rocky terrain, so it makes sense for the manufacturer to keep this in mind when choosing parts.

Sadly, owners find that the frame and components aren’t constructed the way they should be. In fact, one review on the Polaris website talks specifically about the problem. “2nd time out bent an a-arm. I am 50 yrs. Old and don’t ride hard. I work with 2 other people that had the exact same experience with same machine as mine. It cost me for aftermarket a-arms and ball joints.”

It’s true that the A-arm takes a good amount of the abuse while riding. It is located in the front and faces plenty of danger. However, it should last for more than two rides, especially for the price these owners pay. No one wants to find themselves stuck on the trail with a broken ATV. Thankfully, the parts are plentiful to find and replacement doesn’t seem to be too time-consuming. It’s an aftermarket company’s dream to hear about the OEM parts being so weak. It just means they get to sell more. Hopefully, new owners keep this in mind when budgeting for the RZR. It might be best just to swap out the parts to begin with – at least then there’s less chance of being stranded.

Problems with the Brakes

On a final note, it appears that the braking system in this vehicle isn’t much better than anything else looked at previously. In fact, there was another recall issued to discuss a problem with this system. It appears that the front brake can detach in some models and create a crash hazard. The moral of the story is, if you don’t bounce all over the trail, catch on fire or ruin the structure, you can always count on the brakes failing instead. This “True Trail Blazer” is determined to go out with a bang.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Polaris pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • Ed g

    Hello I have a 2019 polaris rzr trail 900. I have had nothing but problems. Luckily it has a three year warranty that started Dec 10 2019. Purchase date. Front dif bolt thread shatter. Front headlights leaking, rear tale light fail. Exhaust raddle noise . Hanger bearing and driveshaft failer. Rad hose leak. Dash is loose. Seats are loose on base. Primary clutch issues. Se ondaty clutch failure. Damaged belt from clutch problems body shell out of alignment from factory. Witch is causing body cracks in paint and plastic. Driver door sweat line up because of this. Doors raddle. Skid plate bolt missing. Front bent lower a arm. Cracks in skid plate. Front wheel alignment out pulls 2 right. Rear engine cover loose I have taken very good care of this machine from washing cleaning, greasing, cluch cleaning and still all these problems. Even though they replaced the parts under warranty. Except belt and labor cost and toeing fees. Out a car . Can’t go anywhere. Machine is at dealer still been a month and a week so far. Since new I put 3400 kilometers on it not miles. Since May of 2022 I doubled it in just a few months. Now present day it has 7200 kilometers with around 300 hours. I’m exhausted and believe it’s a lemon. I want a replacement machine. Do I qualify.

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