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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Polaris still struggling with recalls as riding season approaches

Although it may not feel like it with snow still on the ground, spring is on the way. Whether it comes in like a lion or a lamb in March, the rising temperatures mean favorite outdoor pastimes are within sight, and ATV and OHV riding is a popular pastime for many Montana residents.

With thousands of miles of trails winding through picturesque state forests and up mountains, there is something wonderful and freeing about riding an off road vehicle in the wilderness. However, Polaris owners should take note of any recalls and have the vehicles serviced before hitting the trails.

Fire hazard risk

In the last two years Polaris has issued over 450,000 recalls but problems still persist. The recalls were for nearly every line of powersports vehicle the manufacturer offers. In some cases, vehicles that had a recall and were repaired later had the same problem. The most dangerous problem with the vehicles is combustion. Polaris uses the term "thermal hazards" when addressing the problem of spontaneous combustion in recalls and safety warnings.

Over 247 vehicle fires have been reported. Riders have experienced burns and other injuries related to the vehicle fire hazards. Three riders have also died in crashes after the vehicles were engulfed in flames; however, Polaris is disputing claims of design deficiencies relating to the deaths.

Rider safety

In the recalls Polaris issued a don't ride/don't sell statement urging riders and dealers to avoid use until the recalls were repaired. However, given that many of the recalled vehicles were fixed two and three times and are still prone to having problems, riders should take care even if their vehicle was repaired.

Polaris owners can check for recalls by entering the serial number of their vehicle into the recall database. Recalls can be repaired at authorized Polaris dealerships. When braving the trails this season, riders should take care to note any signs of overheating as the vehicles are still at risk for setting themselves aflame.

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