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The side-by-side (UTV) market has positively exploded. Over the last ten years, off-roading has changed at a fundamental level – thanks to these little 4x4s. While COVID had a major effect on the little machines’ popularity, the major driving force is that we now have tough off-roaders that cost a fraction of a proper pickup and can actually perform for our outdoor adventures. The best part is when you tear up a UTV or side-by-side, you can still get in your truck and drive home. Given the hard use of these machines, breakage and maintenance is common. Let’s take a closer look at the most common Kawasaki side-by-side problems. 

Are Kawasaki Side-by-sides reliable?

Kawasaki isn’t shy about acknowledging that it is a motorcycle company that makes other power sports equipment. That said, for a motorcycle company, Kawasaki makes a fine 4×4. The Kawasaki side-by-side models are the MULE and the Teryx. Each of these nameplates offers multiple models and trims. 

The Kawasaki MULE is the brand’s UTV offering that is most commonly used like you might use a pickup truck: hunting, fishing, farm/ranch work, and good old trail riding. The Teryx is a recreational machine more commonly used for racing, dunes, and all other activities. 

Both of these models are widely used in the side-by-side world by a variety of folks. Both have quickly become some of the most popular models in the market due to their reliability and performance. However, while UTV drivers are quick to praise Kawasaki side-by-sides, they are equally quick to express their irritation when it comes up. 

What are the most common Kawasaki MULE problems? 

  • Fuel filter
  • Overheating
  • Radiator

Everything Kawasaki Off-Road cites faults in the fuel system as one of the most common MULE problems. Given the rough terrain these machines are driving in, fuel filter clogs are quite common. This leads to limited power or even stalling if the engine can’t get enough fuel. Thankfully, using higher quality fuel, certain fuel additives, and regular maintenance on the fuel filter and lines can mitigate these issues. 

The MULE can also easily get overheated, again, thanks to the nature of off-roading. The blogs are full of complaints of riders getting out of the cars to let them cool down before continuing the ride because of the high temps. Many owners have also removed the seats to add more heat shielding between the mechanicals and the seat. 

In that same vein, MULE radiators can get gummed up with mud, dust, and other debris, causing the engine to overheat. Thankfully, if caught early enough, all you need to do is clean the radiator off, and it should be fixed. It should be said that this isn’t a Kawasaki-specific problem. If a UTV or side-by-side has a front-mounted radiator, this will likely be a problem at some point. 

What are the most common Kawasaki Teryx problems? 

  • Overheating
  • Fan sensor failure
  • Noisy transmission

As we mentioned earlier, the Kawasaki Teryx is the hopped-up speedy offering from Kawasaki. It’s the same story as the MULE; Kawasaki Teryx problems mean the Teryx will sometimes get too hot to enjoy. Again, many owners add heat shielding between the engine and seats. 

Now, in regards to the engine overheating, there has been a rash of Teryx owners reporting a faulty cooling fan sensor or wiring, causing major issues with overheating. It is very common for side-by-side owners to modify their cars with various accessories. With this after-market wiring, there is a chance that the accessories get installed wrong, or the wire harnesses cause a short in the sensor that makes the fan cease to work, and engine cooling suffers. Without the Teryx engine cooling fan doing its job, your Kawasaki UTV will quickly find itself overheating and shutting down. If you’re lucky, no damage will take place, but the worst-case scenario is the engine could suffer permanent damage.

Owners of pre-2019 Kawasaki Teryx machines have complained about excessively noisy transmissions. Some riders have mentioned needing hearing protection in particularly bad cases. 

Common Kawasaki side-by-side problems aren’t a deal breaker

Kawasaki side-by-side problems do occur, and some are more common than others. Still, the common issues are generally par for the course when it comes to recreational vehicles like these. A Kawasaki UTV is not the only option, but it is a great choice for someone that wants to do some truck stuff without buying a 6-figure factory dune hopper like the Ford F-150 Raptor or Ram 1500 TRX.

These common Kawasaki mule problems and Kawasaki Teryx problems can be frustrating, but they aren’t exactly deal breakers. Of course, some general knowledge of your machine and regular maintenance will go a long way in addressing any possible issues.