Tips, Tricks & Trends

The Most Common Side-By-Side Complaints

A UTV or side-by-side is easily one of the best recreation vehicles around. You can seat two or more passengers––depending on the model––plus, UTVs are engineered to conquer difficult terrain situations and add a whole new level of fun to your weekend. But owning a side-by-side isn’t always perfect. In fact, these are the most common side-by-side complaints.

a red Honda Talon UTV on display at an indoor auto show
A Honda Talon 1000R on display | Bilgin Sasmaz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

How often should you service your side-by-side?

According to Rocky Mountain ATV, your side-by-side will require ongoing service and maintenance. UTV service ranges from acquainting yourself with the grease fittings to replacing the brake fluid. Each action required to service your side-by-side will occur at varying time intervals.

Each unit is a little different. So it’s important to familiarize yourself with your specific UTV model and its distinct service requirements. Skipping service can lead to massive problems down the road that are lengthy, expensive, or both. These will lead to UTV problems that are often complained about––such as braking issues or an engine that begins to lose power.

a red Honda Pioneer side-by-side UTV scrambling up a rocky incline.
Honda Pioneer 1000 LE | Honda Powersports

Another important element in deciding how often to service your UTV is how you ride. A rider who only takes their side-by-side out every so often on easy groomer trails requires a different maintenance schedule for their machine than someone who rides hard, often over extreme terrain. Either way, regular service is an important part of owning a UTV.

UTV maintenance

One of the most common complaints is just about regular maintenance. Unless working on your side-by-side is something that comes easily––a job that you feel capable of and comfortable with––you’ll have to take your UTV in for service periodically. That said, this is true for virtually any motorized vehicle.

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While this is definitely one of the most common complaints, it’s certainly not one of the most serious. Nor is it one that needs to be worried about extensively. It just is what it is. Maintain your vehicle properly, and the longevity increases––it’s that simple.

One common side-by-side repair that ATV owners don’t really have to worry about

If you own a UTV or side-by-side, it’s inevitable that you will eventually need to repair/replace your CVT clutches. According to UTV Service, even going the extra mile with clutch maintenance only prolongs this looming repair. Clutch repairs are one of the most common side-by-side complaints.

A blue Yamaha wolverine side-by-side crossing a muddy creek bed
Yamaha Wolverine X2 R-Spec SE | Yamaha Motorsports

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Conversely, UTV Service writes that ATVs don’t tend to deal with this issue nearly as much––if ever. The problem is that dirt eventually gets inside the clutch housing no matter how meticulous you are. The dirt ultimately causes irreparable damage and the CVT clutch needs replacing.

The most common side-by-side complaints all come down to service and maintenance. From filters to high-wear components such as ball joints, to more severe issues like CVT clutch replacement, it’s easier to complain about having to perform maintenance than complaining of a larger problem later on because your UTV missed the appropriate service actions. But let’s be real––none of these complaints overturns the joys of side-by-side ownership, does it?