Problems with ATV engines

Written by dora diamond
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Problems with ATV engines
ATVs have 4x4 capabilities. (fog lights on suv image by Kathy Burns from

An All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) is a four-wheeled vehicle designed for driving on uneven terrain. Manufacturers of ATVs include Honda, Yamaha, Polaris, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Arctic Cat, Can-Am, John Deere, Kymco, Bennche and OLink. ATVs are designed for recreation and enjoyed by many consumers. However, engine problems are a major concern.

Clicking Noise

In an forum, the owner of a 2008 Polaris 700 X2 complained about a clicking noise in the engine when the truck idled. He believed that the clicking noise came from the lifters. A dealership informed him that the clicking sound is a normal two-stroke engine noise. Another user reported an AC 500 with engine noise on YouTube's " '07 Polaris Sportsman 800 engine noise" video, with recommendations to top it off with Castrol oil. In some cases, a bad seal may cause an ATV to run low on oil, and if this occurs, the engine must be repaired before it overheats.

Deteriorating Wire Harness

Owners of a 2008 Polaris Sportsman 500 Touring experienced a deteriorating wire harness after ownership of less than two years, as reported on The wiring harness completely fell apart. As wire after wire broke, electronics stopped working--including the ignition.

ATV Does Not Start

User daylow2347 of installed a float needle and diaphragm to resolve a starting problem, to no avail. Opening the drain, pinching off the fuel line and draining it dry while attempting to crank the ATV, as well as spraying starter fluid into the carburettor also did not work. Causes appeared to be a wire or spark plug problem. When the plug was cranked with the wire connected, a spark occurred. Suggestions included pulling off the spark plug, unscrewing the cap that clipped onto the plug from the wire and cutting 1/8 of the wire before the cap was placed back on. ATV starting failure may be caused by either a fuel or ignition problem.

Brake Actuator Problem

Symptoms of an engine brake actuator problem include noise when the vehicle is turned on or off, or when the quad is shut off. On Kawasaki Brute Force or Kawasaki Prairie ATVs, flashing indicators usually alert owners of an engine brake actuator problem. However, based on reports on ATV forums, the indicators may not flash on the gauge. According to, a solution is to clean the motor and all related electrical parts.


If the engine backfires as it gets warmer or as deceleration occurs, the engine may be extremely lean, according to Engines become lean with increased airflow after changing their mufflers or exhaust systems. Another cause of backfiring is a weak spark.

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