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How To Start a Polaris RZR?

Polaris RZR

The Polaris RZR is an impressive machine, but you’ll want to follow the proper starting procedure to ensure you don’t encounter problems. In some cases, not starting the Polaris RZR can cause trouble codes or check engine lights. 

In this blog, we will explain why and offer you some helpful tips to ensure that your Polaris RZR starts quickly and easily every time.

Pre-Start Check List

Before starting your Polaris RZR, you should check to make sure the machine is ready. We will walk through the steps you can take to make sure your Polaris RZR will start when you are ready to hit the trails. 

Check Battery Voltage

The first thing you’ll do is to check the battery voltage. The Polaris RZR uses the latest 12-volt battery technology so you should get many years of use before replacement is needed. One way you can extend the life of the battery is by using a battery minder. These devices are designed to prevent the battery from discharging when not in use. Trying to start the RZR with a battery that has a low charge can cause damage to the battery and will lead to the battery failing. Use a battery voltage tester to ensure the battery has at least 12.5 volts before trying to start the Polaris RZR.

One of the customizations that we do on all of our UTVs here at Kemimoto is to add a second battery. Our waterproof battery isolator kit is ideal for adding a second battery so you have a backup if the main battery discharges. 

Make Sure Your Fuel is Good

A Polaris RZR sitting on the wooden platform

One problem people encounter is fuel that goes bad from sitting too long. Gasoline will absorb water over time and eventually will not let the engine run. Worse, contaminated fuel can plug up fuel lines and fuel injection systems, leading to a range of odd problems from rough running to a no-start condition. 

Never store your Polaris RZR with fuel in the tank. If fuel has sat for more than six months, it should be drained and discarded at a hazardous waste disposal facility. Never run gas down the drain or burn it off. 

It is also a good idea to make sure the fuel tank has plenty of gasoline before starting. Changing the fuel filter periodically is another good idea. The filter is located on the pump which is located in the tank, so this is not a job you want to have to do on the side of the trail. 

Check the Wiring

A quick check of the ignition wiring can often reveal possible problems. Rats and mice love to chew on ignition wires and the damage can lead to a non-start condition when the insulation on the wiring is compromised. Make sure the wiring is in good shape and is free of burns or cuts. It is a good idea to periodically remove the spark plug and clean the electrode for best performance. Old, worn, and dirty spark plugs can cause the Polaris RZR to start slowly or fail to start altogether. 

Sometimes, issues with starting can be traced to loose wiring connectors at the ignition switch. If your Polaris RZR is not starting or is making a sizzling sound when you try to start it, check the wiring on the back of the switch. Connectors should fit snugly and there should not be any signs of damage to the wiring. 

Proper Starting Procedure

Polaris RZR on the trail

Many Polaris models require that you press and hold the brake when starting. This activates a safety switch that prevents the RZR from unexpected movement when starting. Always depress the brake and hold it in place before starting the UTV.

The ignition key only fits in the switch in one direction. If the key is sticking or doesn’t want to go into the switch, make sure it is oriented properly. We have seen dirt and dust accumulate in the ignition switch which can cause the key to not fit correctly. If you are experiencing a sticky key or the key doesn’t feel like it fits correctly, you can use a spray lubricant to drive dirt and dust out of the mechanism. If this doesn’t work you’ll need to replace the switch. 

Turn the key to the “on” position, but do not crank the engine. On many Polaris models, you will notice the speedometer go all the way to maximum and then drop back to zero. When this is happening, the RZR is checking the ignition wiring and condition of the engine to make sure it is ready to start. During this process, you will hear the fuel pump build pressure. Starting the RZR without allowing the fuel pressure to build up can cause a problem with the fuel system that might result in a check engine light due to low fuel pressure. 

On models that have a manual choke, you will want to engage the choke fully before starting. The choke reduces the amount of air available which results in a rich running condition that helps the engine start smoothly and prevents stumbling and dying as the engine comes up to temperature. 

Turn the key to the “start” position and wait for the engine to catch. Immediately release the key. If your ignition and fuel system is in good shape, this process should take just a few seconds. If the engine does not kick over or start and then dies, you should immediately stop trying to start the UTV and identify the problem. Most of the time, you’ll spot the issue by following the pre-start checklist above. 

If the model you are driving has a manual choke, you will fully release the choke once the engine has come up to the proper operating temperature. This can take anywhere from a minute or two up to about five minutes in colder weather. 


Polaris RZR sand riding in the desert

The proper starting procedure for the Polaris RZR ensures that the UTV starts quickly. One of the most important things that many people tend to overlook is taking the time to do a proper pre-start procedure. You will often find problems that are easily fixed before you head out on an adventure and this can be the difference between a good day and one spent trying to fix a problem on the side of the trail. 

One thing we recommend to everyone is that they have a basic tool set that includes adjustable wrenches, a socket set, screwdrivers, and an electrical tester. Kemimoto has a number of excellent Polaris RZR accessories to outfit your RZR such as a suitable tool bag that is secure and convenient. Before heading to your off-road trails, accessorize your RZR with Kemimoto’s parts and make the most out of your machine!


1. Is there a way to start a Polaris RZR without a key?

A: It is possible to bypass the ignition switch if you have lost your ignition key but you’ll need to have a wiring diagram handy to make sure you bypass anti-theft devices. You will connect the power and feed wires together which will engage the starter, then release the wires once the engine starts. 

2. What are the most common reasons for slow starting?

There are a number of things that can cause a Polaris RZR to start slowly. The most likely is a low battery charge. The battery should always be fully charged before starting. You should also check that there is adequate fuel, the fuel is fresh, and the fuel filter is not plugged. 

3. How do I jump-start a Polaris RZR?

Jump-starting a dead battery is possible. The proper way to do this is to connect the negative jumper cable to the negative post of the grounded frame of the discharged battery, and then connect the positive to the battery terminal.

Next, you will connect the negative cable to the jumper battery followed by the positive. This procedure prevents damage and sparking. Start the jumper vehicle and let it idle for a few minutes before starting the discharged UTV. Disconnect the jumper cables in the opposite order.

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How To Start a Polaris RZR?