Polaris ATV Forum banner

Wont Start Checklist

439016 Views 151 Replies 60 Participants Last post by  nskiver974
How to trouble shoot a no start issue

Okay so your quad does not start here is a logical step by step diagnosis to help determine what your problem may be. This guide is not meant to fix your issue just to help you determine what it is so you don’t throw away useless time and money. It is intended to help the person who has not had a lot of experience in fixing these issues. The seasoned mechanic knows these and the short cuts you can take while doing this stuff.
Something to consider: Occam’s razor says that the simplest solution is most likely the right one. If you hear hoof prints you should think Horses and not Zebra’s. :)


You put the key on and it does not start:

1) Make sure the run switch is on

2) Make sure the quad is in Neutral

3) Make sure the battery is in good shape and fully charged

4) When you turn the key do you get a clicking from the solenoid

a. If you don’t hear a clicking then you have to make sure that you have power to the solenoid from the key switch. You can meter it from the thin wire on the solenoid. If you don’t then you have an issue in the switch.
b. If yes, then meter the contacts of the solenoid while turning over the key. You should have 12 volts on both sides. If you do not then clean both the terminals, reattach the wires and recheck. If you still don’t then replace the solenoid. Just because it clicks does not mean that it is working.
c. If you do, then you need to check voltage at the starter motor. Meter the wire lug on the starter and check to see if you have continuity from it to the solenoid lug that is not powered. If you do have continuity, then put a jumper cable directly to the battery positive terminal and touch it to the starter motor lug.

5) If it does not turn over then you need to pull the starter motor out and rebuild it. It will be one of three things: The brushes are broken or work out (most likely), the starter is rusty and filled with sludge and crap or that the magnets have become unwelded from the side of the starter case. The first two can be easily fixed with an inexpensive rebuild kit and a cleaning. The third makes the starter motor useless except for parts.

6) If it does turn over then your next step is make sure you have spark. Remove the plug and put it back in the spark plug boot and ground the tip on the motor and turn over and make sure you have a solid spark. If you don’t then you have an ignition problem. If you do have a spark then pour some gas down the spark plug hole and put back in the plug and see if it fires. If it does then you have a fuel issue.

7) If it wont start with the starter until the motor is warm then you likely have water in the starter that is either freezing and then thawing when motor warms up or until some of it is evaporating letting the brushes make contact with the armature or loosening up the bearings so that it spins easier. Either way it need to come apart.

Hopefully this will help some people figure out what direction to work toward.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 4
1 - 20 of 152 Posts
How old is the battery? It may just be weak.
Doesn't make any difference what the static volts are 'after charging' - volts are not supposed to be checked until 4 hours after charging to let the float charge dissipate. What's important is how many volts with just the key on and how many volts during cranking?
Yep - has degraded and is not holding up under high load - get a good quality AGM battery - charge it on an automatic charger at 1.25 amps until fully charged (2 to 10 hours) before installation for best battery life.
A good battery will not drop below about 10.5 volts on an extended crank - anything over 5 seconds is an extended crank
One drop of fuel in the spark plug hole is probably 50 times more fuel than the carb supplies at a given moment, but liquid fuel does not burn - only the vapor from the fuel burns, so putting fuel in the spark plug hole is only a quick way to flood the cylinder and make starting difficult.
Sounds like it's time to stop guessing, throwing parts at it and take it to someone with the software and knowledge to correct the problem.
I have power to the silinoid but no lights doesn't click or any thing new cluster switch and ignition starter does work if I put screwdriver across the silinoid need help
Do you have battery voltage on the switched power wire of the wiring harness?
What year and model do you have?

Wild ass guess - you have a fried fusible link or the chassis power wire is not connected to the battery.
What part are you wanting to replace?
I didn't see the pic in the previous post (it didn't display properly) - see it fine now - that's a circuit breaker, probably 20 amp - it can be gotten at most any automotive or electrical supply - got them on Amazon and Ebay too - common on Harley's - get one from the local HD shop
Buddy broke it he pays to have it fixed!
Got a new spark plug in it?

Compression, spark, spark at the right time, fuel and air in the right ratio and it will run - SIMPLE! What don't it have?
Set the brake or parking brake?
The 4 pin switch is simplistic - when in the on position, red/blk connects to red/wht - when turned to the statrrt position 12v is supplied to the blue wire - the blu wire goes to the start relay in the fuse box connected to pin 42 - pin 46 is a brn/wht wire - brn/wht is ground when the brake is applied and the start relay closes sending 12 v to the starter solenoid via wht/red wire.

You should check the key switch first, the start relay second and the start diode third.

See less See more
The solenoid is part of the starter motor - when you turn the key, the relay in the fuse box should click and then the solenoid should close and the starter motor spin. If you turn the key on, set the brake so the brake light is on and jump pin 42 to 45 in the fuse box and the starter motor spins, then the starter and solenoid are good and the start relay is the probable culprit, but it could be something to do with the CPU also.
Be sure to test the relay - they typically fail before the starter motor, but to get warranty on the starter motor, you will either have to take the quad to the dealer and have the work done or (if the dealer is amicable) you take the starter to them and they will test it before warranting it - it will really suck if you remove the starter and then find out there is nothing wrong with it, but those Chinese starters are renown for short life. BTW - the starter motor is the same for the older 850's and can be gotten for about $250 from Rick's or FirePower
Just because a relay clicks does not necessarily mean it's working - it's doing something, but it may not be making contact - if you swapped the relays around and it it still won't work, at least the possibility of a bad relay is reduced to near zero - now you need to know there is power on the wire that the relay is making contact to - do you have 12v on pin 42 of the relay socket? If yes, short pin 42 to pin 45 - if nothing happens, pull the starter motor
Look closely at the pic in post 126 - when looking at the back side row 1 is at the bottom and row 4 is at the top - the pic of the location of the relays and fuses are from the top side - the pins are numbered from top to bottom - 41 is coil high or 12v in (hot when the key is turned to the start position) and 42 is 12v relay in (hot when the red/blk wire is connected to the red/wht wire by the handlebar switch) - 45 is 12v relay out to the starter solenoid and 46 is coil low or ground
Spoke to the dealer, Polaris will replace it for free. Being an HL the warranty is only 6 months and it's been 8. So awesome that Polaris has stepped up.
Sent from my SM-A715W using Tapatalk
Your warranty is only as good as your dealer - be thankful you have a good dealer.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
Did you ever figure out the issue? My 2010 sportsman 550 is having the same issue and I have replaces key switch, and solenoid, but still wont crank with key, jumping the starter works fine..
I'm sure the issue was resolved two years ago.

Instead of hitchhiking on an old thread, why not just start a new one and get guidance on resolving your issue - while the symptoms may seem the same most problems have their own resolution - what fixes one doe not necessarily fix another one.

When you start a thread, be sure to include vital info like VIN, year, model number, related modifications and recent work performed whether by yourself or a qualified mechanic.
1 - 20 of 152 Posts