Reliability is something that buyers have always looked for in their side by sides, and that is because of several reasons. the first one is that UTVs have always been quite costly, especially if buying new. some of these UTVs can be more expensive than a well-equipped car, and because of that, getting something that lasts a long time is certainly important. the second reason is because of resale value. it’s no secret that more reliable UTVs are going to sell for more on the used market when compared to something breaking all the time. And so, many people keep asking the same thing: Which is the most reliable UTV on the market today?
And while I can’t really say which individual UTV is likely going to last the longest, I can definitely say that the most reliable UTV brand is Honda. The Japanese company has really cemented their cred over the years, with their cars all being lauded for being very sturdy and long-lasting, and that reputation has carried over to the ATV and UTV world. The Honda Talon and Honda Pioneer are widely considered to be the most reliable UTVs on the market by far.
And while Honda might have the most reliable and sturdy products, they aren’t the only ones making quality UTVs. I consider Polaris to have very good, long lasting UTVs. My RZR hasn’t given me any issues yet, and most enthusiasts generally agree that Polaris UTVs are going to last you a long time. Other brands that make reliable UTVs include Yamaha and Kawasaki. Below I talk a little bit more about reliability in UTVs, including how to make your UTV more reliable, and the factors that make a side-by-side reliable.
Which UTV Is Most Reliable?
So like I said above, the UTV brand that is most reliable is Honda, but that doesn’t answer the question completely though, we are talking about individual models here. and from what I have checked, the information on that is kind of nonexistent. so I did my fair share of research to find out really which individual models are really going to last the test of time. I wanted the opinion of general UTV enthusiasts like you and me, and so not only did I ask my friends and acquaintances, but I also decided to make a few threads about the topic on enthusiast forums too. and the results of this research are as follows: the most reliable UTV models are:
- Honda Pioneer: Most people that I talk to that are knowledgeable about the topic tell me that the Honda pioneer is number 1 when it comes to reliability, which is no surprise. Not only is it a Honda, but it’s the utility UTV in their lineup, so it’s supposed to be rugged, and dependable, and be able to work all day long on a farm or barn. The current generation Pioneer isn’t too packed with electronic features or things that run the risk of breaking over the long term, and the powertrain has been described as bulletproof. so no wonder this is considered the most reliable UTV.
- Honda Talon: Another Honda on the list! noticing something? anyways, this is the Pioneer’s faster and nimbler brother the Talon. just like the Pioneer, this ride is super reliable, not relying on gimmicks and using tried and true technology that is going to last a long time. From what I have heard, both the stock and the upgradeable Fox shocks are made to last several years without failing, the engine will also last you a long time, and in general, this is considered the 2nd most reliable UTV.
- Kawasaki Teryx: I probably know what you are thinking: Kawasaki on a most reliable UTVs list? yup. the company used to suffer from spotty reliability on most of its models many years ago, but this isn’t the case anymore. the Teryx is similar to the Hondas above in that it doesn’t have any cutting edge technology or electronics which might mean trouble a few years down the road. it’s kind of spartan when it comes to the most important parts. Kawasaki also made sure to keep the engine as understressed as possible and that definitely helps with the reliability.
- Polaris RZR: This is the UTV that I have, and so far I haven’t got a single problem with it. The RZR has always been one of the most popular sport side by sides available and one of the reasons for this is because of its reliability. many of my friends also have RZRs and they haven’t got any issues either. one of the great things about this UTV is the fact that parts are significantly cheaper when compared to the models above. this is because RZRs are everywhere, and that means that parts are going to be widely available and affordable.
- Yamaha Wolverine X2: This is one of Yamaha’s best sellers and it’s also one of their most reliable machines. Yamaha’s engines are famous for being very torquey and potent, with it’s 708cc being no exception. that engine is also famous for being very reliable given its power numbers. combine this with Yamaha’s Ultramatic transmission and you got yourself a beastly UTV that is going to be revving for years without an issue.
What Makes An UTV Reliable
So you now know which UTVs are most reliable and sturdy, but aren’t you wondering what exactly makes a specific model reliable and what makes another model not as much? this is something that made me a little bit curious, so as always, I decided to do some research on that too while we are at it.
And the first factor that makes a side by side reliable is the owner of said side by side. and what I mean is that there are some owners that will completely thrash their UTVs. we are talking about very heavy offroading at high speeds, not changing oil, constantly overloading the UTV, etc.. these will obviously affect the reliability and the resale value down the road too.
The second factor is if the engine is undertuned. there are some engines that can produce much more power than what they might produce at a given moment, but manufacturers decide to undertune them instead because of several reasons, including to maintain reliability. this is something that happens with the engine Honda product line in my opinion.
The third factor has to do with maintenance, or the lack thereof. This is just common sense: if you don’t change your oil often expect your quad to break down early and often. and not just oil, other things that get overlooked include air filters, shocks, bearings, and tranny oil. I have said this like 200 times but I’m going to say it again: frequently doing maintenance on a UTV is the best way to ensure it functions properly in the future. So if you aren’t doing your oil changes, and replacing your shocks, you better start doing so or else.
How To Make Your UTV More Reliable
Some of you reading this article might be having issues with your machines. if this is the case, or you really want to make sure the resale value stays as high as possible, then I have some good news for you: There are a few useful ways to improve your UTVs reliability. following these tips will ensure your UTV stays on the top of its game, plus it will also improve the resale value if you want to sell it in the future.
- Maintenance! Maintenance! Maintenance!: I hope this doesn’t sound like a broken record but the best way to improve reliability is by doing all the proper maintenance necessary, specifically oil changes, air filter changes, shock upkeep, among other things. this is something that will be noticed over the long term, but not immediately though
- Avoid overstressing the engine: Many people are guilty of making the UTV work harder than it was designed to, and then they start complaining after it breaks after only a few hundred hours of use. anyways, try to make sure that you are not hauling or towing more than what the manual tells you to, and try not to overload it with people either. another thing to keep in mind is that you significantly stress the engine when you constantly rev it on steep hills. this might not be avoidable but just to let you know.
- Pamper your UTV: Be like me and treat your UTV like it’s royalty. Feed it all the good stuff, like synthetic oil, fuel additives, and premium gas. if you do this consistently, not only are you going to make your side by side last a long time, but you are also improving the performance of it, especially with the fuel additives.