Polaris Slingshot’s Dangerous Recalls Where 3 Wheels Become 2

Polaris is a well-known manufacturer of snowmobiles, ATVs, and motorcycles. With more than 30 brands, the Minnesota-based company branched out into a new product category. In 2015, Polaris introduced the innovative Slingshot. The 3-wheel open-air roadster offers a one-of-a-kind driving experience but is not without issue. A current recall threatens to turn the trike-like design into a two-wheeler, creating a dangerous driving condition. Here is what you need to know before hitting the highway in your Polaris Slingshot.

A red Polaris Slingshot sitting in front of a black and white background.
Polaris Slingshot | Getty Images

Wheel configuration of the Polaris Slingshot

The base model Slingshot S has a starting MSRP of $19,999, while the high-end “Ultimate Upgrade” package starts at $32,799 for the Slingshot R Limited Edition.

Classified as an autocycle, the three-wheeled vehicle from Polaris has two wheels in the front and a third wheel in the back that gives the sporty design a strange wheelbarrow-like appeal. The low center of gravity and limited traction from the rear wheel can prove dangerous if pushed too hard.

The two 18-inch front wheels are forged aluminum with a 105-inch wheelbase. Car and Driver refer to the Polaris Slingshot as a “bizarre novelty,” explaining “burnouts are inevitable” with the 20-inch 305/30R20 rear tire.

The Slingshot utilizes a 2-liter inline-four front engine that generates an impressive 203 hp with an 8500-rpm redline and 144 lb-ft of torque. Transmission options include a five-speed manual and automated Auto Drive configuration. With a top speed of 100 mph, the Slingshot takes about five seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph.

Recall issued on the 2020 to 2021 Polaris Slingshot

On August 13, 2021, Polaris announced a recall on several 2020 and 2021 Slingshot models. According to the press release, “An improperly installed rear wheel stud could lead to loosening of the rear lug nuts.” The affected models have “rear-wheel studs that were not pressed into the axle during the supplier’s assembly process.”

Polaris Slingshot owners are at risk of the rear wheel detaching or coming loose while driving, resulting in a potential crash. The 2020 models listed in the recall include the Slingshot GT, Slingshot R, and Slingshot SL. The 2021 models are the Slingshot S, Slingshot R, and Slingshot SL.

Autoblog reported 4,744 units are possibly affected by the recall. They explained that during the assembly process, some of the splines got stripped. The malfunction prevented the studs from “being fully pressed/sealed during assembly.” 

Contact Polaris at 800-765-2747 and reference recall T-21-01 to see if your model is affected. You can also search On-Road Safety Recalls by entering your vehicle identification number (VIN). The NHTSA Campaign Number is 21V629000.

If your vehicle is part of the recall, contact an authorized Polaris Slingshot dealer. They will inspect the vehicle, and if deemed necessary, will replace the rear axle/stud assembly free of charge.

The Slingshot is not for the timid

Driving down a crowded highway in the 2020 Polaris Slingshot is bound to catch the attention of fellow commuters. USA Today claims, “If you enjoy being the center of attention… the Slingshot is for you because everyone – seriously everyone – asks about it.”

The driving experience of a Polaris Slingshot is comparable to a motorcycle. The open-air experience demands steady focus and constant maneuvering. There are no windows or doors, and touching the pavement is within arm’s reach. Storage is limited, inclement weather is a factor, and conversation in the dual side-by-side cockpit is nearly impossible.

But, if you are looking to escape the ordinary and want an exhilarating ride that most other vehicles can’t offer, the Polaris Slingshot may be what you need. Just make sure to check the recall status. It is not the first time the three-wheel motorcycle has experienced problems. Polaris previously issued a recall on the 2015 to 2019 models for concerns with the vehicle’s electrical system.

RELATED: The 2021 Polaris Slingshot R Is a 3-Wheeled Jet Ski for the Road