Honda Big Red UTV: Common Problems & Issues

Honda Big Red UTV: Common Problems & Issues

The Honda Big Red UTV is a vehicle catered towards hauling and towing, and with the tilting bed rated for 1000 pounds and the towing capacity at 1500 pounds, it’s a solid pick for any business. If you’re looking into getting a Big Red or are just curious about its design, then here are some of the common problems with the Honda Big Red UTV.

The Honda Big Red UTV has issues with sudden shutdowns, generally due to the presence of too much fluid in the underbody shield. This problem can subsequently cause the transmission to dry out. In addition, cold weather can cause the gears in the transmission to get stuck.

There are several concerning problems that have arisen over the years with different models of Big Red, but the most concerning and pressing matter is transmission-related malfunctions and failures. The rest of this article will discuss the common problems plaguing the Honda Big Red UTV.

Honda Big Red UTV Overview

The Honda Big Red is designed for all terrains, with tires and suspension to match. Built with a Honda engine and suspension system, Big Red is also designed with a custom brake system and the unique Occupant Protection Structure to protect the driver and passengers.

Most UTVs don’t experience catastrophic problems. Some of the more common problems include performance issues, incorrect oil readings, and malfunctioning locks. On the more severe side, some rarer issues involve engine misfiring, complete power loss, and transmission failure.

Power Failure in the Honda Big Red UTV

Perhaps the most alarming problem with the Honda Big Red UTV is that it may shut down and stop working entirely.

Now, this could be due to a number of different factors that are causing total vehicular failure, but one common design flaw that seems to contribute to the issue is the tendency of fluid to build up on the underbody shield. If this happens, the transmission will dry out and force the engine to shut down.

If this issue occurs frequently, it’s important that you take it to a mechanic or contact your Honda representative about exchanging the vehicle. A UTV suddenly not working is a hazard to everyone on the road and poses a serious risk; moreover, the fluid buildup can damage the transmission by drying it out.

A lack of transmission fluid can cause the UTV to run poorly and can damage the components over time.

Transmission Problems in the Honda Big Red UTV

Another concerning issue about the Honda Big Red UTV is with the transmission itself in cold weather. Overexposure to the cold can cause the gears to stick, meaning that the UTV won’t start unless you shift to a higher gear. This issue can be related to the clutch discs slipping. One owner reported that the Honda dealer charged them $5500 to repair slipping clutches.

It’s also worth noting that improper storage or using the wrong oil in your UTV. Always make sure you’re using the oil recommended by the dealership or Honda themselves and store the oil within the temperature range recommended. Not doing so can cause the oil to become too viscous and unsuitable for the transmission.

If you suspect that your UTV has a transmission issue, it’s worth taking it into the mechanic for a quote.

Sudden Power Loss

Perhaps the most alarming issue with more recent models of Big Red, particularly the 2017 Honda Big Red UTV is a power loss when traveling uphill or a loss of control when traveling downhill. More often than not, this occurs on 2017 models that don’t have many miles under their belt.

Either way, this is a concerning problem, and Honda dealerships have confirmed that the problem is widespread and caused by a faulty camshaft design. You can start to detect warning signs of power loss if your seatbelt keeps seizing up for no reason or oil gets sucked into the air cleaner.

When you take your UTV into the shop, the mechanics will most often be looking at the air filters, spark plug, and mufflers, although there could also be potential concerns with the cam shafts and fuel injectors as well.

Losing control is a serious issue, especially when travelling up or down a hill, which is why if you’re buying a 2017 Honda Big Red UTV secondhand, always check the servicing history to see if anything has been done to address the risk of power loss. If not, then it might be advisable to find a different model or brand.

Other Honda Big Red UTV Issues

There are several other issues that continue to frustrate owners, including performance issues that cause pinging, rough idling, or misfiring. Once you’ve ensured that you’re using the right fuel and oil, take your UTV into the mechanic to have your engine looked at.

One cause that might contribute to these engine problems is an incorrect oil reading, although this issue can be caused by not using the manufacturer’s recommendation when it comes to fuel.

In rare cases, the differential lock on the Honda Big Red 700 won’t work, causing problems with the front tires. The cause for this isn’t clear, but the front-drive axel output position may be more susceptible to malfunctions in the differential if you tend to do a lot of rock crawling.

Some Honda Big Red UTVS with over 8000 miles have an issue with air ventilation that causes a restriction on shifting into third gear, particularly in cold weather. If you’re experiencing this issue, it’s a good idea to let your engine warm up for a little while before driving.

Final Thoughts

The Honda Big Red UTV is a hardy vehicle designed for a lot of offroad usage; however, some problems with its design are a cause for concern in owners and prospective buyers.

For most issues that arise, you can take your UTV into a mechanic to get it repaired, but for serious issues like engine failure or transmission, it’s worth talking to your dealer about getting an exchange.

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