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How to drive a polaris ranger



"How to drive a Polaris Ranger?" This seems an easy question to answer, but it's worth going into detail as the Polaris Ranger has various features that make the overall driving experience better. Polaris off-road vehicles include All-Wheel Drive (AWD), which's controlled from an AWD switch. This is true not only for the Polaris Ranger but for other Polaris vehicles, including the Polaris RZR and Polaris General models.

The AWD Switch

The All-Wheel Drive switch has three positions, which are:

  • All-Wheel Drive

  • Differential lock or Two Wheel Drive (2WD)

  • Off (1WD or Turf Mode)


For 2WD, the Polaris Ranger 570 driver should press and release the top of the switch; this is to toggle through the various drive mode options; for several seconds, the information is displayed in the centre of the gauge.

To select the last option, one presses and then releases the bottom of the switch.

Whenever the switch is released, whatever drive mode is displayed in the centre is the active driving method.

All-Wheel Drive engagement

When set to AWD, the 4x4 indicator in the instrument panel will be on. The Polaris Ranger Diesel front gearcase automatically engages each time the rear wheels lose any traction. In contrast, the front gearcase disengages automatically as soon as the rear wheels regain their traction.

The vehicle can remain in AWD mode for any length of time.

Starting AWD

You can turn AWD either on or off when the Polaris Ranger EV is moving. To start with, the engine has to be at 3100 RPM or above for the machines electronics to enable AWD. After it's enabled, it remains in AWD mode until the driver switches it off. Furthermore, even when it's switched off, AWD will not disengage until the rear wheels regain their traction.

Ideally, you want to engage the AWD switch prior to getting yourself into situations whereby front wheel drive might be required. So, if the rear wheels are spinning, you would release the throttle prior to activating AWD. Driveshaft and gearcase damage may occur if you fail to heed these instructions and switch to AWD while the read wheels are either slipping or spinning. So, in summary, make sure that you switch to AWD when the rear wheels are at rest or have no traction to deal with.

Stopping AWD

When the switch is moved to the centre or bottom positions, this disengages AWD. If you turn off AWD while the front hubs are driving, they won't release until the back wheels regain their traction.

Occasionally, the front gearcase stays locked after you've turned off the AWD switch. In this case, you might notice that the Polaris Ranger's speed is slowed and takes more effort to steer. If this happens, then do the following:


  • Stop the utility vehicle

  • Drive in reverse for at least 3 metres

  • Completely stop

  • Move into low gear and then drive forwards.

  • If the front gearcase doesn't unlock after doing this, please contact your Polaris Dealer for service.

Turf Mode and 2WD

Note that harm to the differential can occur if it is engaged while the Polaris Ranger is traveling at high speeds or while the back wheels are spinning. Slow the UTV to nearly stopped before involving the differential.

Operating in 2WD a Polaris Ranger UK, for example the Polaris Ranger 1000, outfitted with turf mode will lock the rear differential, indicating both rear wheels turn at the same speed. Using 2WD in wet or low traction conditions helps increase traction. Move the rocker switch to the middle position (2WD) to operate in rear-wheel drive. Both back wheels will revolve at the same speed.

Touch the bottom of the switch to unbar the differential and allow the back drive wheels to operate separately in turf mode. This mode of action is well-suited to turf driving or whenever aggressive traction is not needed.


When working in turf mode, the inside rear wheel will rotate autonomously from the outside wheel during turns. Work in turf mode only as required to protect smooth, level surfaces from tire deterioration. Do not work in turf mode when climbing or declining hills, when side-hilling or when running on uneven, loose or slippery terrain such as sand, gravel, ice, snow, obstructions and water crossings. Working in turf mode when on sloped, bumpy or loose terrain could create loss of control and result in severe injury or death. One rear wheel might slip and lose traction or might lift up and grab when it meets the ground again. Always drive in AWD on these types of terrain.

Engine Braking System

Polaris Rangers, such as the Polaris Ranger 6 x 6, are provided with an engine braking system (EBS). EBS automatically leverages compression of the engine to help keep the speed of the Polaris UTV as it drives. EBS works independently of any driver input. EBS is helpful when driving in hilly terrain or hauling a load. It is also helpful for drivers who get in and out of the vehicle often, such as farmers or groundskeepers, and is useful to riders who want an easier, smoother driving adventure.

To find out if your Polaris Ranger UTV is equipped with EBS, check the specifications page for your model ask your Polaris UK Dealer.

Drive Mode Switch

Some RANGER models and Polaris ATVs are furnished with drive modes. These drive modes are regulated by the Drive Mode Switch, which, if implemented, can be found on the middle console on a RANGER. The Drive Mode switch has three settings: Performance (PERF), Standard (STND) and Work (WORK).

Performance Mode: Gives a more aggressive character to the capability of the vehicle. The vehicle will quicken harder with less throttle movement.

Work Mode: The throttle is more fluid than standard mode. Best for when the driver wants more accuracy over vehicle acceleration. This drive mode is suggested to be practised when backing up with a trailer, running over rough terrain, or packing vehicle on a trailer.

Standard Mode: Use this for the bulk of your driving.

Notwithstanding the selected throttle control setting, forever use low gear for any of the following states:

  • Operating in rugged terrain or over obstructions

  • Loading the UTV onto a trailer

  • Hauling heavy loads

  • Driving often at low RPM or at ground speeds less than 7 mph (11 km/h)

Beckside Machinery are official Polaris Dealers UK. If you are interested in a Polaris Ranger for sale, UK, please contact us on 01673828 for more information.

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