6 Common Polaris Sportsman 550 Problems (With Solutions)

The Polaris Sportsman 550 is one of the few All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) that will give you unlimited driving choices. However, as with all vehicles, it can sometimes run into issues. Don’t worry, though, since all of these are easily fixable. 

Some of the most common issues with Polaris Sportsman 550 are engine problems, shady construction, faulty valves and weaker frames, and faulty plugs and engines. 

So, let’s discuss here more about these problems and their solutions in more detail.

Polaris Sportsman 550 Problems

Many riders gripe that they struggle to ride at a high speed of 62 miles per hour. The issue is that many claims that the ATV is riding at that high speed. 

Those who can successfully ride at higher speeds say they think that those who struggle to do so are riding older second-hand vehicles because of cost considerations.

That notwithstanding, some other common issues that owners face are:

1. Engine Problems

If you will ride this ATV at up to 40 mph for half an hour, it can overheat. Intensive riding is not good for it.


Use the upgrade kit that Polaris provides. Yes, you have to buy it, but it will let you ride the vehicle at higher speeds for longer without risking burning out the engine. 

The kit includes case cylinders, a digital ignition (your engine will run cooler when you use the digital ignition to reset the time that it starts to run), exhaust heat shields (to protect the engine parts and keep the engine from overheating quickly) pistons, jets, and specifications for having the engine combine fuel and air in new ways and at new levels for minimum overheating and maximum performance. 

You’ll find that the cylinders disperse more heat away from the engine and its parts faster. That will keep the engine cooler for longer. 

You’ll be able to drive your ATV at faster speeds for longer.

The components in the kit will also recirculate engine oil that’s pumped out of the oil tank back into the tank and not into the engine. 

That will also go a long way toward ensuring that the engine stays much cooler for much longer.

2. Shady Construction 

Polaris Sportsman 550 ATVs used to have quality issues mainly because some vehicles and models were manufactured in Mexico – a nation with laxer standards and some quality control issues. 


However, now most of these ATVs are manufactured in Roseau, Minnesota. Minnesota is in America. 

Most ATV components are world-class because they’re manufactured in Osceola, Wisconsin. There’s a reason for that. 

Many Americans and Westerners are picky and quality-conscious. They associate goods that are manufactured in the West as being better since they tend to be made with better materials, better-skilled labour, and according to more stringent standards.

So, shoddy manufacturing concerns and operation problems stemming from the ATVs being made in a developing nation are no longer as much of an issue.

3. Faulty valves

They have faulty valves that tend to be more of a hit-and-miss issue. Some users say that the valves are perfect. However, other users have had multiple issues with faulty valves. 


In this case, you will need to change the valves with the new ones.

However, I would also suggest you buy a newer version of the Polaris Sportsman 550, some users have done the research, and their findings have revealed that issues with faulty valves stopped with ATVs sold in 2010 or later. 

That’s probably because the newer models were manufactured in America, which has higher standards and better-skilled labour/better materials. 

Older versions were manufactured in Mexico.

4. Weaker frames 

Some users say weaker frames can be a sore spot with Polaris Sportsman 550 ATVs. 


To fix this problem you will need to change the frame of your ATV with the aftermarket frame.

It turns out that the issue of broken or weaker frames only applies to models that were made before 2011. 

The reason is that they were made in Mexico. 

Later versions were made in America and are much better built. They also last for much longer.

5. Faulty plugs and engines

Earlier versions have issues with faulty plugs and engines. Many users have complained about that.


Many online sources suggest connecting the spark plugs correctly and using the kill switch is the best way to troubleshoot this problem.

6. Bad ball joints and suspension bushings 

These can be issues since it has issued a recall of certain models manufactured and sold in 2009.


See if you can qualify to participate in the class-action lawsuit. 

Then, trade your older version of the ATV for newer versions. Newer versions of the ATV don’t have that issue.

Which Model of the Polaris Sportsman 550 has the most issues?

The 2014 or before models of the Polaris Sportsman 550 have the most issues. 

Common complaints are that the engines are overhead and the frames are weak, so they break and crack. 

That often occurs when they‘re being used!

Warranty and Recalls for Polaris Sportsman 550

Polaris has recalled certain models made in 2021, 2022, and 2023 for safety issues. All Polaris vehicles come with a six-month warranty that covers unlimited miles. 

The manufacturer will pay for any issues resulting from product defects during that period. 

You can transfer the warranty to another owner if you sell the ATV before the six months are up. 

Using the VIN Search Tool to research your warranty’s expiration date would be best. 

What to Know When Buying a Polaris Sportsman 550?

ATVs are hardy vehicles that create a smooth, pleasant, and adventurous riding experience with low-pressure all-terrain tires, high-ground clearance, and robust suspension. 

Indeed, there is no terrain that it can’t handle! These features make this ATV a great candidate for transporting heavy materials. 

Most people use ATVs for recreation purposes. 

If you’re one of these people, look for a vehicle with

  • Excellent rack and storage
  • Integrated hitches – these make it easier to transport heavier materials.
  • Independent rear suspension – you’ll have no issues riding the vehicle on challenging surfaces for hours.
  • High ground clearance
  • Electronic power steering

Frequently Asked Questions

How much fuel can the Polaris Sportsman 550 hold?

It can hold up to 5.25 gallons of fuel.

How fast can the Polaris Sportsman 550 travel an hour?

It can theoretically travel for up to 60 MPH.

What Spark plug gap does the Polaris Sportsman 550 have?

0.027 inches

Polaris Trailblazer 250 Problems

Polaris Ranger Years to Avoid

Polaris General Problems

Polaris Ace 150 Problems

Polaris Hawkeye 300 Problems

Polaris Predator 500 Problems

Scroll to Top