Everything You Need To Know About Polaris RZR Belts
Nov 15th 2021
Polaris RZR belts are deceptively simple, but the truth is that they play an integral role in the performance of your side-by-side. Damaged belts, burnt belts, and UTV belts that are old and worn out will cause various issues, from slippage and speed reductions to squeaking noises and jerkiness on takeoff. As such, periodic belt changes are advised, and belt replacements are unavoidable when your existing belt snaps, cracks, or disintegrates. Thankfully, there are myriad belt options available for the Polaris RZR, and here is everything you need to know about Polaris RZR belts!
Polaris RZR Belt Noises
Both factory Polaris RZR belts as well as aftermarket Polaris RZR belts are known to squeal. Sometimes, Polaris RZR belt noises are mild, and only occur at low speeds. Other times, Polaris RZR belt noises are incessant, occurring at all speed ranges and harmonizing with the secondary clutch to drive you and your passengers insane. A number of riders give up and accept the fact that making noise is just what Polaris RZR belts do. After all, if it’s not hurting anything, why bother? That being said, there are a few tricks you can try to eliminate that annoying Polaris RZR belt squeal.
In many cases, it’s not the belt itself that’s making strange sounds, but instead the secondary clutch. You can try setting / adjusting your shaft spacing, shaft alignment, and belt deflection, and regardless of whether this works or not, cleaning the belt / clutch area to remove grime and debris is also a smart move to both eliminate squealing noises as well as extend the lifespan of your belt.
Using compressed air to blow the dust and dirt out of your clutch / belt housing is the first thing you can do, making sure to use only enough air pressure to get the job done without causing any unnecessary damage. Next, it’s time to clean your clutches. While you’re hitting your clutch faces with a Scotch Brite pad, soak your belt in a sink full of hot water and dish soap. Once your clutch faces are clean, go to town on your belt with the same Scotch Brite pad or an Emery cloth until the glazing and shine on both sides is scrubbed completely off. Let the belt dry, put it back on, and then go have yourself some fun!
Other Polaris RZR belt squeal remedies include products like mass airflow sensor cleaners or even a small spritz of WD-40. If your belt is squeaking because it’s nearly done for, a replacement Polaris RZR belt is the correct course of action. Some RZR owners say that their belt noises vanished after installing an aftermarket belt with a Hunterworks Thick Washer, while others went with the Hunterworks Thick Belt and the noises grew worse.
Polaris RZR Belt Maintenance
One of the best ways to prevent belt noises is by ensuring that your Polaris RZR belt remains in tip-top shape. Accessories like hot air eliminators, breathers, and bilge blowers are sure to keep your Razor’s belt cool in high-stress situations, but if you don’t break in your new belt properly, problems may arise down the line. Although there’s no set-in-stone rule about how to break in a Polaris RZR belt, there are a few general guidelines that can be loosely followed. You don’t want to go blasting dunes at full throttle immediately after swapping in a new drive belt, nor should you ride like you stole the thing, hole after hole, with no cool down period. At the same time, though, you don’t have to baby it either.
Most riders put a few easy miles on their new RZR and RS1 drive belts before going balls to the wall. We’d suggest driving around at various speeds / rpms in low for about 10-15 minutes. Give it a couple good heat cycles and then you should be good to send it!
Aside from improper break-ins and clutch-alignment problems, improper driving technique can also exacerbate belt wear to the extent that the drive belt fragments, burns off, or grenades completely. It’s important to know when you should be driving in low, and when you should be driving in high. And if you’ve got portal gears installed or own a mud machine like the RZR Highlifter with a 55% low-end transmission gear reduction, going at high speeds for prolonged periods of time can do a good bit of harm to the machine’s drive belt.
Your Polaris RZR intakes help to cool the belt and keep it dry / clean by preventing water, dust, and mud from getting inside. If you love playing in the mud, you definitely have to watch your air vents -- especially in clay-rich mud -- so that they don’t get blocked, clogged, or stuffed-up. Similarly, accessories like snorkels, pre-filters, and air intake relocation kits can also be installed to deliver a constant supply of clean, low-moisture air to the belt and clutch housing.
When To Change The Belt On A Polaris RZR
The frequency with which you change your Polaris RZR drive belt will depend on your riding style, your temperament behind the wheel, and several other factors. One such factor is your budget. Those with the cash can swap drive belts in and out their vehicles for every ride if they so choose, but the hard-working folks who bust their asses every day to make a buck will likely be less liberal with their spending.
The lazy answer to when you should change the belt on a Polaris RZR, an RZR 800, or an RZR 900 is when it’s needed. To determine when a belt change is needed, you can either look at the belt for signs of wear, or keep track of the miles / ride time that your belt has endured. If you drive hard through mud, water, snow, etc, you should check your belt more frequently. But if you’re a laid-back cruiser, there’s no need to check your belt as often.
Some riders wait to change their Polaris RZR drive belts until they blow up, fly apart, or chatter like a mad hatter from burn marks. Others change their Polaris RZR belts when the machine starts to feel jerky during slow takeoffs, sloppy when engaging, or less powerful on the top end. As we mentioned earlier, it’s good to blow your clutches out with an air gun after every trip. And while you do this, you can check your belt for glazing, fraying, and other forms of damage.
Riders who drive conservatively can easily get 1,500-2000 miles out of a single drive belt. But while some individuals don’t mind carrying a spare belt and replacing it ad hoc in the field, others opt to replace their belts after every 500 miles or so for good measure. They argue that it’s cheaper to replace a belt than it is to buy a new clutch cover and belt housing manifold should the belt choose to grenade. Worse still, debris from worn-out UTV belts can clog the exit tubes in the clutch housing, overheat the belt / clutch, and cause a fire to break out. As an off-road enthusiast, you likely have a high risk tolerance. That notwithstanding, it is still prudent to take calculated risks, and replacing your Polaris RZR drive belt prematurely in a bid to prevent greater damage is a practice that many RZR owners abide by.
Polaris RZR Belt Brands
- High Lifter: The replacement Polaris RZR drive belts by High Lifter are durable and long-lasting, the perfect choice for riders who like to "set it and forget it". The product has been rigorously tested at speeds in excess of 12,000 revolutions per minute, a testament to its ability to withstand extreme heat and torsional forces.
- Aftermarket Assassins: Stryker drive belts by Aftermarket Assassins were developed in collaboration with GBoost Technologies. They are constructed from aramid fibers to handle the high-horsepower and fast-pace riding that is common among racers and owners of the Polaris RZR Turbo.
- SuperATV: SuperATV makes multiple belts for the Polaris RZR, which include their Extreme Badass belts for high-torque environments, Mud Monster belts for slow creeping and bog throttling, the World’s Best belts for trail riding, and Sandstorm belts for dune riding. With the right Polaris RZR drive belt by SuperATV, slippage, deterioration, and sub-optimal performance will all become things of the past!
- Trinity Racing: Riders with aftermarket clutch kits installed often go with the Polaris RZR belts by Trinity. Not only are these high-temp RZR belts constructed out of heat-resistant polymers, but they’re also designed in a way that allows the belt to flex and contort without coming out of position. Trinity belts don’t expand when stretched, and the cogs resist bulging under the most high-pressure conditions.
- Hunterworks: Although the drive belts by Hunterworks aren’t great on Turbo Razors, on vehicles like the Polaris RZR S900, Hunterworks belts are a great alternative to the stock Polaris belts that slip, jerk, and wear out rapidly. The Hunterworks 92G belt, for example, on a Polaris RZR 900 will make accelerating smooth and slip-free!
- G-Boost: This next-generation Polaris RZR drive belt is extremely strong when it comes to both tensile and compression loads. The belt’s cog design, sidewall angle, and high-twist fiber construction allows for less friction / lower belt temperatures, engagements that are more fluid, and an ability to transfer power that is unmatched by the factory Polaris RZR belt.
- Evolution Powersports: In high-stress situations, few belts can hold up like an EVO belt. EVP belts for the Polaris RZR have some of the highest shock ratings around, and they can work in machines that generate horsepower numbers in excess of 400HP. EVO belts don’t scuff, they resist cord pop-out, and they allow for rotational flexibility without running the risk of top-cog blowouts.
- Gates: If you ask riders, the G-Force series drive belts and RedLine series drive belts by Gates are hit and miss. Some say that the Gates RedLine is by far the best belt they’ve run in their machine, while others will say that Gates drive belts are complete garbage. These discrepancies are likely due to length issues. If the size of your Polaris RZR belt is wrong for your edition / model year, it might appear like it fits properly, when the true fact of the matter is that it’s just slightly off. And in the game of high-precision, fitment means everything!
How To Change A Polaris RZR Belt
The right way to change a Polaris RZR belt is in your garage with the right cleaning solutions and a proper Polaris RZR belt removal tool. But if you’re in a pinch and don’t have access to a Polaris RZR belt tool, there’s more than one way to change a Polaris RZR belt!
One way to change your belt without the proper belt tool is to stick a screwdriver in the slot and push the secondary clutch back towards the motor. The belt will become looser and it should get enough slack to slide right out. Once the old belt is removed, reverse those steps to put a new belt on. To get the new belt started, you can put the bike in neutral and turn the primary clutch to help the drive belt slide over the secondary clutch.
You can also pull a fender screw from your rig and twist that into the sheave, or separate the clutch plates with a small pry bar. Alternatively, you might be able to change your Polaris RZR belt by putting the vehicle in reverse and rolling the belt on like a bike chain. With nothing more than brute force and a lot of determination, anyone can change a Polaris RZR belt. But with the right tools and the right tricks, changing the belt in a Polaris RZR is cake!
Final Thoughts On Polaris RZR Drive Belts
It doesn’t matter the brand, no Polaris RZR drive belt will last forever. Aftermarket Polaris RZR drive belts can last longer and perform better in sand, mud, and high-heat situations, while preventative belt maintenance and upkeep can extend the lifespan of your belt in a big way. At the end of the day, however, a Polaris RZR belt change is going to be unavoidable. And to change your own belt either at home or in the field, Polaris RZR belt tools are good to have. So there you go, that’s the scoop on Polaris RZR belts!