UTV Suspension: The Ultimate Troubleshooting Crash Course

Have you ever stopped and thought about what makes your UTV function? What mechanical components keep that massive hunk of metal and plastic fixed firmly and moving forward or backward? Unless you are a trained mechanic or someone experienced in handling UTV repairs, you probably are yet to have that thought.

The suspension system is one of the most vital functions in any utility vehicle. So, understanding the primary components of the suspension of your utility vehicle is essential because the more knowledge you have, the easier you can diagnose and repair things when there’s a problem.

For starters, a fully-functioning suspension equips your rig with the capacity to drive over any terrain comfortably. In simple terms, your utility vehicle’s suspension consists of all the primary components that allow the machine to move on the road. Quality suspension serves numerous purposes, including:

  • Absorbing bumps.
  • Supporting your utility vehicle’s weight.
  • Allowing your machine to change direction according to steering movement.
  • Maintaining accurate tire contact with the road.

From the above functions, you can see the importance of a UTV suspension. So, what steps do you take when your machine’s suspension develops an issue? How do you differentiate a suspension problem from other types of problems? This guide answers questions like this and more.

List Of Common UTV Suspension-related Problems

List Of Common UTV Suspension-related Problems

Diagnosing and fixing suspension issues can be expensive, frustrating, and time-consuming. Suspension-related problems are quite common regardless of the model or cost of your UTV. To help owners understand DIY issues linked to suspension, below is a compiled list of common UTV suspension problems and their solutions.

Contorted Shock Shaft

The shock shaft is the component that dampens wheel motion before it gets to the UTV. Depending on its severity, a crooked shock shaft can result in minimal shock travel, a leaking seal, and a stiff ride. Common causes for a bent shock shaft include; misalignment or improper mounting of the shaft, over-articulation, inaccurate suspension geometry, as well as hitting the shaft against a solid surface.

How To Fix

Most times, the only solution to a damaged shock shaft is a quality replacement. However, you can rebuild some types of shocks. So, before opting for a rebuild, you need to understand how the damage occurred to figure out an ideal solution — repair or replacement.

Saggy Springs

The work of suspension springs is to keep the UTV tires in constant contact with the road, set vehicle height, and carry the load. Over time, the springs will eventually begin to sag and lose rate after a while due to the constant load it carries.

Saggy springs result in many problems for UTV drivers, such as poor handling, low ride height, and degradation of the overall ride quality. Furthermore, worn-out UTV springs can also cause tires and other components to wear out quickly.

How To Fix

This problem is caused by natural wear and tear. Therefore, there’s no DIY fix to this. As such, consider replacing any saggy springs early enough to avoid further damage to your utility vehicle.

While UTV springs rarely break, they can wear down with time when driven in environments with limitless amounts of dirt kick-up. However, by cleaning your vehicle’s springs after every drive, you can reduce the impact of this dirt kick-up on your springs’ lifespan.

Damaged Ball Joints

A ball joint is a spherical bearing connecting the control axle, arm, and steering knuckle. Thanks to the ball joint, the steering knuckle can be turned smoothly by the tie rod and is the primary point between the suspension and the wheels.

Early signs of a faulty ball joint include clunking and wandering. In severe cases, the ball joint could even fall out entirely, causing the steering knuckle to separate from a control arm, leading to losing control and the driver crashing. The primary cause of bad ball joints is mainly due to lack of proper lubrication. Other culprits include; larger and heavier tires and wheels, increased wheel backspacing, and overextension of the UTV’s suspension.

How To Fix

There’s no way to fix a damaged ball joint. So, the only solution is finding quality replacements for damaged ball joints. For IFS rigs, replace bad ball joints with high-angle alternatives. However, you can extend the ball joint’s life by greasing it constantly, especially if you often ride your utility vehicle in snowy or wet conditions.

Broken Shock Mounts

Shock mounts provide a firm foundation for your UTV’s suspension by supporting coil overs. Depending on the kind of suspension used, a damaged shock mount could be a significant issue or merely a slight headache. A broken shock mount could cause loud sounds over bumps, handling problems, and affect driving quality.

The primary cause of shock mount failures is improperly welded mounts that can’t support the loads brought about by the shock. Other common causes of damaged shock mounts are improper hardware, utilization of inappropriate length shocks, missing bump stops, and inadequate limit straps.

How To Fix

To fix broken shock mounts, you’ll need to contact an experienced welder to re-weld any damaged shock mounts. For other secondary issues, you should consider contacting a professional.

Due to its function and design, a shock mount can last as long as your UTV. However, your driving style can significantly reduce the service life and result in wear and tear. Therefore, you have to be mindful of how and where you drive your UTV.

UTV Suspension

Failing Track Bar

Track bars give your machine’s suspension more anchor to its frame. They are like solid arms that hold everything in place. Ideally, quality track bars magnify the strength of your suspension. They are designed to handle a load. A damaged, loose, or improperly adjusted track bar can result in popping or clunking when driving over bumps, causing the wheel to be unbalanced.

Improper installation methods or suspension modifications can cause track bars to break or bend. For instance, inappropriate bolt grades can easily break, while the incorrect-sized bolt could ruin a bushing. Common track bar failures are caused by the inability to re-torque after installation. Furthermore, General wear and tear could also take its toll on your UTV’s track bars.

How To Fix

Track bars suffering from hardware failure can be appropriately reinstalled and torqued to specification. However, you must also study the damage to the track bar to determine whether it should be replaced or rebuilt.

Blown Bushings

Bushings are utilized throughout any UTV’s suspension system to control movement or isolate vibrations. However, bushings are a common cause of annoying suspension noise. In addition, they can contribute to wandering, handling problems, rattles, and unpleasant axle movement.

Bushings can also be affected by constant wear and tear, and their life can be reduced even further by oil, heat, or other contaminants. For bushings that need lubrication, inadequate maintenance will also result in premature failure.

How To Fix

It’s difficult to repair blown blushing. Therefore, damaged bushings must be replaced as soon as possible. While gasoline shouldn’t regularly come in contact with your bushings, it can still happen. Oftentimes, this is due to a leak in other parts of the UTV.

Without proper lubrication, the bushing will be damaged by these other chemicals and elements it regularly comes in contact with. Therefore, to extend the lifespan of your bushing, consider lubricating it regularly. You can also consider locating any leaks in your UTV and sealing them.

Read: CFMOTO ZFORCE 950 Problems (With Fixes)

Under Pressure

Tire pressure is essential in setting tire load and preventing heat accumulation at high speeds. Under or overinflated tires will experience premature wear. In addition, Underinflated tires will result in sloppy handling, while overinflated tires will cause a rough ride.

This is quite common for UTV riders; the usual response is user error. If your vehicle’s tires have a max load of 18 psi, it doesn’t mean the tires must be inflated up to 18 psi. This is solely for maximum load; hence, the proper inflation should be significantly less. Failure to adhere to this would result in premature tire wear and tear.

How To Fix

You can use the chalk method to properly determine the air pressure on your UTV’s tires. The chalk method is an easy, no-tech life hack. All you have to do is inflate your tires to their maximum, then draw a straight, thick line across your tire’s width using chalk. Afterward, drive your UTV forward and in a straight line.

A properly inflated tire will evenly press the chalk line across the road. Generally, an overinflated tire will crown, leaving a small portion of the chalk line on the road. On the other hand, an underinflated tire will leave only the sides of the chalk line because the middle of the tire doesn’t make any contact with the ground.


When driving on smooth terrain, your vehicle’s suspension has little to do. However, in off-roading, your UTV’s suspension does a lot to balance the machine’s weight and ensure your ride is as comfortable. Therefore, you must ensure your suspension system is in the best shape possible. Whether you’re trying to narrow down suspension problems on your vehicle or not, it’s essential to remember to inspect, grease, and re-torque your suspension parts after every ride.

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