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Radiator Issues: How to Find and Fix Your Polaris Ranger Radiator Woes!

Feb 28th 2022

As reliable as we all know the Polaris Ranger lineup is, one quick search online will net you a lot of people describing a small issue: engines overheating.

Don’t worry, though, this is no reason to panic and sell your Ranger. Overheating can happen in every motorized vehicle, and your UTV is no exception. In fact, side-by-sides are put through a lot more abuse than your everyday car or truck.

With overheating being almost inevitable at some point, lets go over some potential causes and fixes, and even a few preventative upgrades!

Polaris Ranger Radiator Issues

Although many things can happen to the radiator in your Polaris Ranger, Ranger Mid-Size, or Crew-Cab Ranger, we found a few of the most common occurrences that are easy to fix. 

An overheating engine can lead to catastrophic failure, and may be the cause of a Check Engine Light coming on as well. So if your side-by-side is running hot, check for the following before moving on to less-common causes of overheating:

Polaris Ranger Radiator Fluid Leaks

This one should be obvious, but a leak, no matter how small, can lead to your radiator running out of coolant and your engine overheating. If you’re lucky, the leak will be small and fixable, or contained to a single hose in the cooling system.

Worst case scenario is having a huge crack in the radiator itself, which usually isn’t typically fixable and usually requires a replacement Polaris Ranger radiator

Another simple and often overlooked cause of a leaky radiator is damage to the radiator cap. You can test this by filling the fluid reservoir to the proper level and letting the UTV run. If it seems like the only place coolant is leaking from is the cap, it's time to pick up a replacement Polaris Ranger radiator cap and be on your way!

Clogged Polaris Ranger Radiator Fins

You would be surprised at how many people did not know they needed to clean out the fins on the radiator of an off-road vehicle.

Mud, dirt, grass and weeds all get crammed into those tiny slots all over the radiator that help it dissipate heat and provide colder coolant to the engine. When these become clogged, the radiator cannot dissipate heat properly and will very quickly cause your engine to overheat.

The fix?

Literally just spray it off with water to clean out the debris with a brush or something similar. If using a pressure washer, please use a low setting so that you don’t obliterate your radiator while you’re at it, okay?

Your Radiator Fans Don’t Cut It

The stock radiator fans in a UTV sometimes fall short. Whether because they’ve become worn out over time, or because they’ve been damaged by branches and rocks on the trail, these fans are known to fail. And without proper air flow, there goes your engine overheating all over again.

Replacement Polaris Ranger radiator cooling fans are a quick fix, and new radiator fans will ensure that you get back to riding quickly!

Faulty Polaris Ranger Temperature Sensors

More than a few owners have reported doing everything they can to cool their overheating engine. After finally giving up, they take their Ranger to a mechanic who diagnoses the issue as a faulty temperature sensor.

Installing a new Polaris Ranger/General Thermistor Temp Sensor fixed the problem immediately, but too many found this out after they had already replaced an entire radiator… Don’t let that be you!

Damaged Polaris Ranger Water Pumps

In the event of your UTV overheating, the stock water pump impeller in your Ranger can sometimes be the culprit as well.

Sure it’s made for your UTV, but that doesn’t mean it is the best option available. Through years of use, it can simply fail. When or if it does, replacing it with a Polaris Ranger Billet water pump impeller by Quad Logic will give you the most peace of mind. Made from billet aluminum, it is stronger and longer lasting than the stock unit by far. If the issue ends up being the entire water pump or the water pump seals, then a Polaris Ranger water pump rebuild kit will be just what the doctor ordered.

Barring any other major issues, here is an increasingly common radiator mod we see off-road enthusiasts making:

Polaris Ranger Radiator Relocation

Relocating your Polaris Ranger radiator to a safer spot with more ventilation can make a world of difference.

We’ve seen owners moving it to the rear of the UTV, just behind the passenger’s backs/heads on the rear of the machine. Some are even mounting their radiators near the top of the UTV for even more air flow.The whole point of this is to remove the radiator from harm's way. Not only does this prevent the accumulation of mud, dirt and harmful debris, but it also gets the radiator away from the heat of the vehicle's engine bay. This allows it to cool even more efficiently than ever before.

Just make sure you still attach the radiator cooling fan to the radiator, or you’ll be in for a world of hurt and disappointment!

So, next time your Polaris Ranger is running hot or overheating, make sure to check out this list and see if you can figure out what is going on. And always remember, if you can’t figure it out, be sure to have a mechanic check things over before things become way more expensive than they need to be!