UTV Action’s May, 2020 issue has a feature about a 2009 Polaris RZR 800 that the Waynes, a West Virginia couple, have driven nearly 36,000 miles. Clearly, the Waynes are doing something right, but I think it’s safe to say most UTVs don’t get that far. If we’re honest, we all know it’s not the machine’s fault. A number of things can make your machine last–or not. The quality of the UTV’s materials, construction and engineering is a big factor. How and where you drive and how you care for your vehicle counts more.


I’ve seen and heard about more than a few drivers who didn’t get a full day of riding out of a new, high-quality machine. Usually, it’s because of how or where they drove. Reducing the life of a UTV that could last years to less than a day takes a craving for fun and excitement that’s way off the scale for most drivers. A serious lack of driving skill and good judgment can do the same thing.

Racing has a way of making drivers of any skill level completely forget about the life of their own machines. Also, you can count on other racers to never even think about the life of your vehicle. Racing is an extreme example, but for most of us, having more fun riding is just way more important than getting the longest possible life from our vehicles. Many machines don’t go nearly as far as they could because drivers stop using them, or start using them less. New machines come into the picture and that first UTV becomes a second vehicle or a spare. So, it doesn’t gather miles like it did when it was the family’s main machine.


Where you drive is important, too. Unfortunately, sand, mud and water, the most fun things to drive in, are also the most damaging. When it comes right down to it, dirt of any kind is the enemy of any precision machine. Even so,  I don’t see anybody, including the Waynes, avoiding dirt to make their UTV last longer. Fortunately, most UTVs are impressively designed to withstand the dirty conditions we like. Most air filter systems draw air high on the vehicle so deep water crossings won’t drown and damage the engine. Engine intakes are shrouded so they breathe cleaner air and extend service intervals. For example, Can-Am Defenders require no maintenance at all for the first year of use.


No machine can hold up against dirt and aggressive driving forever without care, but no matter how aggressively you drive, in most cases you can counteract the vehicle-life-shortening effects of hard driving and damaging dirt, mud, sand and water with equally serious maintenance. As long as you’re prepared to service your UTV often enough and replace worn and damaged parts as needed, any machine could have unlimited life.

If you have a story about a UTV that has lasted an extraordinarily long time, or a surprisingly short time, we’d love to hear about it. If you have photos of the vehicle, we may even do a full-feature article about it in UTV Action. Send  your stories and photos of machines that have gone great distances—or not—to [email protected]

See the story about the RZR with 35,000 miles with free access to UTV Action digital issues:

See all the new RZR models here:

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