Most Common Coleman 550 UTV Problems and How to Fix Them

The Coleman 550 UTV boasts a four-stroke, single-cylinder SOHC Chongqing Huansong engine, a 3500-pound winch, and a two-speed automatic CVtech, CVT transmission.

Any Coleman 550 UTV review will tell you that this UTV gets the job done. Unfortunately, the Coleman 550 is prone to issues. The most common Coleman 550 UTV problems are gummed throttle body, sputtering, battery issues, improper valve clearance, faulty spark plugs, faulty temperature sensors, and blown head gasket.

Before hitting the market, it’s a good idea to understand the potential issues you’ll face with your Coleman 550 UTV. In today’s post, we’ll highlight some of the most common issues with this UTV and the best ways to fix them.

Engine Fails to Start

Engine failure is among the most common and annoying Coleman 550 UTV issues. Sometimes the engine will turn over but fail to start, while other times, the engine will fail altogether.

There are four main reasons for this strange behavior. They include:

A Dead or Cold Battery

Your UTV’s engine won’t start if the battery is dead. Use a multimeter to check whether you have a dead battery. If the multimeter reads 12 volts, your battery is fine. If it doesn’t, it’s dead.

Luckily, dead batteries are easy to fix. All you need to do is jump-start the battery with jumper cables or use a compatible charger to recharge the battery. Breathing life into your dead battery should start the engine instantly.

Improper Valve Clearance

The Coleman 550 UTV has an intake and outlet valve to draw in air and remove exhaust air. Valves that are adjusted either too tight or too loose affect the clearance. This can lead to engine failure, especially in the former case. Follow the steps below to check your UTV’s  intake valve clearance

  • Set the engine to TDC (Top Dead Center) by rotating the crankshaft
  • Place the feeler gauge between the cam and shim bucket, juggling between different gauges until you find one that fits
  • Inserting the feeler gauge should offer slight resistance but won’t require pushing hard to fit
  • The feeler gauge that fits perfectly will indicate the valve clearance range
  • If the final blade is too loose or tight, the valves need to be adjusted

For the outtake valve, insert the feeler gauge between the shim and the exhaust rocker arm and repeat the above process. All that’s left now is to adjust the valves to their required clearances, as shown in the manual. To do this, remove the cam and replace the shim under the bucket with an appropriately sized one.

Faulty Spark Plugs

Dirty or loosely connected spark plugs are among the most common Coleman 550 UTV problems. The dirty or faulty spark plugs don’t produce sparks to start the engine. Check the spark plug for buildup or corrosion.

If the spark plug is dirty, use sandpaper to remove grit from the surface and a file for stubborn buildup. Next, use a carb cleaner and a wire brush to remove thread debris. Please wait for the spark plug to dry before returning it to the UTV. Replace corroded spark plugs with new ones.

Stale Fuel

The fuel in your Coleman 550 UTV will turn stale if you leave it dormant for too long. Stale fuel forms a thin layer that’s incredibly detrimental to the engine parts. This could lead to problems like engine idling or complete engine failure. Replacing the fuel should start up the engine, but first, use Sea Foam Motor Treatment to flush any sediment and stale fuel in the fuel lines.


Coleman 550 UTVs are prone to overheating, which could sometimes cause irreparable engine damage. Overheating is caused by the following:

Clogs in the Coolant System

The water pump is responsible for conveying hot coolant to the radiator to cool down for another cycle. Sometimes air from the fan enters the water pump and prevents the coolant from flowing to and from the radiator, leading to overheating.

To fix this, drive the UTV up a steep hill to incline the front end. Remove the bleeder bolt and radiator cap when the engine is cold enough. Fill the radiator with coolant until it flows out the bleeder line. Return the bleeder bolt and refill the radiator with coolant until it’s full. This should solve the overheating issue.

Faulty Temperature Sensor

The temperature sensor measures the coolant temperature and signals the electric fan to turn on when it exceeds a certain temperature. When this sensor fails, the radiator fan doesn’t turn on, which leads to overheating and other Coleman 550 UTV problems.

You can solve this problem by replacing the temperature sensor or installing a bypass switch. This switch bypasses the temperature sensor, allowing you to turn on the radiator fan at your convenience. However, replacing the temperature sensor is the better option.

Blown Head Gasket

Frequent overheating will cause the head gasket to blow. A blown head gasket leads to air and fuel leaks and exacerbates the overheating problem.

The only way to tell whether you have a blown head gasket is by opening up the engine and checking it yourself. A mechanic will help you decide whether to repair or replace the blown head gasket.

Engine Sputtering and Idling

The Coleman 550 UTV can handle heavy-duty work, but sometimes the engine rough idles, sputters, or stalls completely. This annoys most owners, but the issue is easy to fix. First, you’ll need to establish the root cause of the problem. There are two reasons for engine idling and sputtering, and they are:

The Safety Feature on Seat Belts

The Coleman 550 UTV has a safety belt feature that doesn’t let the UTV go into limp mode. The safety belt has a sensor that only allows limp mode when your safety belt is on, limiting the speed to only 6 mph.

This leads to engine sputtering and is inconvenient for drivers who don’t want to buckle and unbuckle their seatbelts when driving casually.

Fortunately, fixing this issue is straightforward. Just buy a seat belt blank that you plug into the seatbelt when going on casual rides. Remove the blank and wear your actual seat belts during long, treacherous rides.

Gummed Throttle Body

Soot, dust, and debris buildup on the throttle body makes it sticky. This stickiness compromises the UTV’s performance and leads to sputtering and stalling. Cleaning the gum throttle body will solve this issue. Here’s how you do just that:

  • Take out the throttle body from your UTV
  •  Use a wire brush to remove debris on the throttle body, specifically in the area that holds the shaft
  • Spray with carburetor cleaner to get rid of stubborn dirt clumps
  •  Turn the key and watch the throttle body’s motion
  •  Return the throttle body

Regularly cleaning your throttle body keeps it from gumming up. Do so every 30,000 miles for regular use and every 20,000 miles if you drive in muddy or dusty terrain.

Final Thoughts

Now that you firmly understand the common Coleman 550 UTV problems, you should be able to get the most out of it. Most of these issues are fixable but don’t hesitate to call a trusted mechanic if necessary. Your Coleman 550 UTV will serve you for decades, provided you take good care of it.