How to Troubleshoot a Polaris Ranger 500

Written by brianna collins
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How to Troubleshoot a Polaris Ranger 500
Polaris encourages owners to deal with minor repairs in the troubleshooting section of the Ranger 500's manual. (pliers image by Radu Razvan from

Expanding on its success in the all-terrain vehicle market, Polaris Industries created an original line of utility vehicles called Polaris Rangers. Designed for the transportation of supplies and people on rugged terrain, Polaris offered over a dozen Ranger models on its website in 2011, including two 500cc versions with four-wheel drive. Polaris has recognised that, like all mechanical vehicles, the Polaris Ranger can experience problems that prevent it from running correctly. The owner's manual includes helpful troubleshooting tips.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pliers
  • 20 amp fuse
  • Standard wrench
  • Wire-bristle brush
  • Solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 cup of water
  • 2 dry cloths
  • 12.8 volt replacement battery
  • 12.8 volt battery charger (separately powered)
  • 87 octane gasoline (leaded or unleaded)
  • 20W-50 viscosity engine oil
  • NGK BK5RE replacement spark plugs
  • Spark plug wrench
  • Spark plug gap gauge
  • Spark plug gap tool

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  1. 1

    Operate the Ranger 500's electric starter and listen. If the engine doesn't turn over, continue with the electrical system check. If the engine does turn over, move to the next section.

  2. 2

    Check the main fuse. This fuse is located near the fuse box underneath the hood. Remove the original with a pair of pliers and inspect.

  3. 3

    Replace the main fuse with a new 2- amp fuse if the connection at the centre of the original is broken.

  4. 4

    Remove the battery next, which is also located under the Ranger 500's hood in the battery case. Begin this process by disconnecting the battery straps and the battery vent tube, for conventional batteries. Next, disconnect the black (negative) battery cable, followed by the red (positive) cable. Lift the battery from its case without tipping it.

  5. 5

    Scrape away any corrosion on the battery terminals with a wire-bristle brush and clean the terminals with a solution of one cup of water and one tablespoon of baking soda. Dry the terminals with a clean cloth.

  6. 6

    Replace the original with another 12.8-volt battery if the original had any damage or serious corrosion. If the original is in good condition, charge it fully with a separately powered 12.8-volt battery charger.

  7. 7

    Place the battery back in its case. Connect the red (positive) battery cable first and the black (negative) cable second. Connect the battery vent tube. Redo the holding straps and close the bonnet.

  8. 8

    Operate the starter. If the engine fails to turn over once again, take the Ranger 500 to the shop for an inspection of the electrical system.

  1. 1

    Operate the electric starter and listen. If the engine turns over but does not start, or if it starts but runs irregularly, continue with the engine system check.

  2. 2

    Read the fuel gauge, located on the right-hand side of the front console. Refuel with a gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher if the fuel levels are low. Gasoline may be either leaded or unleaded.

  3. 3

    Check the engine oil level by first parking the Ranger 500 on level ground.

  4. 4

    Open the bonnet and remove the oil filler cap and dipstick from the oil tank. Wipe the dipstick clean using a cloth and reinsert it fully into the oil tank. Remove the dipstick and examine the engine oil level.

  5. 5

    Add engine oil to the tank until oil levels reach between the two marks on the side of the dipstick. Ranger 500 models take 20W-50 four-cycle engine oil. Screw the dipstick and oil filler cap back in place.

  6. 6

    Check the spark plugs. One spark plug is located in each of the Ranger 500's four cylinders. Remove each plug by undoing and removing the spark plug cap and by using a spark plug wrench to screw each plug from its cylinder.

  7. 7

    Inspect the electrode tip of each spark plug. If this tip is burnt, brittle or cracked, replace the spark plug with a new NGK BKR5E plug.

  8. 8

    Use a spark plug gap gauge to measure the spark plug gap. This gap should measure exactly 0.036 inches.

  9. 9

    Widen the spark plug gap as needed with a spark plug gap tool by pulling the hook-end wider.

  10. 10

    Tighten the spark plug gap by pressing the hook-end of the plug against a firm surface.

  11. 11

    Reinstall the spark plugs in each cylinder and return the spark plug caps.

  12. 12

    Restart the engine and take the Ranger 500 in for repairs if problems continue.

Tips and warnings

  • Troubleshooting tips help with minor repairs only. For major repairs, Polaris instructs owners to take the quad to a certified and experienced dealer.
  • Gasoline is highly flammable and could explode if introduced to sparks or flames. Do not smoke while handling fuel.
  • Conventional battery acid can burn exposed skin. Wear gloves and goggles to avoid battery burns.

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