Polaris Rangers are some of the most popular all-around utility vehicles. They’re perfect for hunting, exploring, or venturing into the woods. However, these vehicles can have problems with their rear axle from time to time.
To fix the rear axle on a Polaris Ranger, pay attention to its three main drivetrain components: the differential, the CV boot, and the joints. Identify signs of trouble, such as unusual noises, vibrations, and poor handling. Rear axle components need to be replaced once damaged.
The rear axle is a large, multi-piece assembly that contains several components that can break or wear out over time. Keep reading to learn the signs of a failing rear axle and how to improve its integrity.
1. Identify the Signs of a Problematic Rear Axle
Polaris owners who experience rear axle issues tend to notice similar signs of trouble. You’ll find countless stories about them in community forums (source).
During extreme off-road use, rear axle shocks absorb significant road impacts and can malfunction when the axle comes into contact with the CV carrier. When heavy downward forces are applied against the axle, rear shocks take further pressure and get worn down over time.
Polaris enthusiasts have observed that in the worst-case scenario, rear shocks can break right away when very large forces are exerted (source).
It’s important to know the signs of a broken or malfunctioning rear axle before it becomes a safety hazard. You can keep your rear axle in good condition by ensuring that your Polaris Ranger is adequately maintained and not overloaded with cargo or passengers.
The most common signs of rear axle issues in the Polaris Ranger include:
- Unusual noises when driving: Strange noises like humming or knocking may indicate that your differential is deteriorating. These sounds will gradually change whenever you accelerate, decelerate, or turn a corner.
- Vibrations when accelerating: If you’re experiencing a vibration coming from your back wheels, check your differential immediately. Vibrations brought on by a weak differential might worsen as you accelerate, and they might reduce as you decelerate.
- Poor handling: If you’re having trouble controlling your wheels, especially when steering around corners, you’ll need to check your differential and other connected parts.
According to an axle parts dealer, managing your UTV will be difficult if your differential is broken (source).
2. Replace or Maintain Your Vehicle’s Differential
The Polaris Ranger’s differential is an integral part of its drivetrain (source). It’s the part of the axle that distributes power to each wheel and allows both wheels to spin at different speeds. The differential also helps the wheels gain traction when going up hills or over obstacles by distributing power evenly among all four wheels.
A worn-out differential makes it hard to drive in low-traction conditions. You may feel like your tires don’t have enough grip on the road surface. You may also notice that turning at low speeds is more complex than usual, and a grinding noise may occur as you make turns.
Unfortunately, replacing the differential on a Ranger is not only expensive, but it’s also challenging. If you have never done this before, I recommend getting help from a professional mechanic who has worked on this type of vehicle.
According to car maintenance specialists, you can avoid wear and tear to the rear axle by changing the differential fluid every 100 hours or 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of use (source).
Below is an informative YouTube video to assist you in changing your differential fluid:
Check for Turf Mode Failure
Polaris owners have observed that a blown turf mode is one of the most common issues related to a malfunctioning rear axle (source).
The turf mode gives vehicles more traction and stability on grass or other soft surfaces and uses a different transmission, steering, and engine management (source).
A blown turf mode can be caused by a lack of differential lubrication or overuse of the vehicle. This issue can result in a sudden loss of power and added stress to your UTV’s differential, increasing the wear and tear or, in the worst case damaging it.
It can also cause significant damage to other components in your vehicle if not repaired quickly.
3. Repair Broken CV Joints
Your Polaris Ranger’s rear axle is attached to the wheels via CV, or Constant Velocity, joints. As you drive, the joints ensure the wheels and axle bend to accommodate turns and uneven terrain.
The CV joint is arguably one of the weakest links in the drivetrain system. Auto repair professionals suggest that lubrication and protection from rocks, debris, and other foreign objects are necessary for maintaining the CV joint (source).
A CV joint failure will break down your UTVs rear axle, resulting in a costly repair if you don’t catch it early enough (source).
If you feel vibrations or hear a popping noise when turning corners or hitting bumps in the road, it might be time to get your vehicle serviced. If you don’t replace your CV joints promptly, you damage other parts of your car and spend a lot more money on future repairs.
Here is an excellent YouTube video to take you through the entire process of replacing your Polaris CV joints:
4. Change the CV Boot
CV boots are made of rubber to absorb vibration and road shock and are designed to provide an airtight seal between the axle and transmission housing. Additionally, they protect the CV joint by keeping it dirt and moisture-free.
However, from time to time, you may find objects like rocks and twigs trapped in your CV boot, resulting in a loss of lubrication (source). This loss of lubrication damages your rear axle and will increase its wear and tear. In this case, you should consider changing the CV boot (source).
Below you’ll find a YouTube video to assist you step-by-step through this process:
Fixing the rear axle of a Polaris Ranger isn’t an incredibly difficult task, but it requires finesse, patience, and perhaps a little mechanical know-how. Once you’ve identified the different components of your rear axle and determined the necessary repairs, you maintain your vehicle’s excellent performance.