Polaris recalled about 450,000 cars manufactured between 2008 and 2018 with ATV fire and safety hazards associated with the ProStar engine, the majority of which were connected to a minimum of four deaths and scores of serious burn injuries. However, Polaris extensively promotes these vehicles as a safe, fun way to adventure, and they are popular among thrill seekers. The RZR, which was the first off-road model designed primarily for recreational use, has had the most ATV recalls.
If you or somebody you know has been gravely hurt as a result of these Polaris ATV rollovers or fires, you may be able to take action. We take consumer rights seriously and are not hesitant to stand up against any company.
Call our Polaris engine fire lawyers now for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will evaluate the facts, help you through the procedure of submitting a lawsuit, and decide whether you’ve got a case. We’ll be there for you every stage of the way. And with our Zero-Fee Guarantee, you won’t have to pay anything until we win the case.
The ProStar engine made its debut in 2010 and was an instant success with customers and enthusiasts. Polaris promotes the “automotive effects” and “maximum performance” of this engine as significant characteristics that differentiate the Polaris brand of ATVs and side-by-sides from rivals.
While there is no substitute for displacement, the greater power delivered by this engine hasn’t been without drawbacks. Larger engines take up less space in the engine bay, requiring components to be closer together. This feature, along with the additional heat created by the strong engines, has caused Polaris engine fires.
Polaris developed the engine in-house (prior Polaris engines were outsourced), and one important design difference was the design and shape of the engine’s exhaust header.
According to engineers referenced in previous Polaris lawsuits, the exhaust head is too near to passengers (protected solely by plastic siding) and also too near to other vital engine componentry to enable adequate ventilation.
The tremendous degree of heat created by the exhaust in a cramped engine compartment, inches from where the passenger and the driver are sitting, is what is driving Rangers and RZRs to catch fire fast and with little notice for people within.
The five-point safety strap provided in these off-road vehicles has been shown to make it difficult for people to flee burning cars swiftly. While these safety belts provide good protection in the case of a crash or rollover, they are difficult and time-consuming to remove. In a circumstance where every second matters, the time required to disengage from the harness might have serious repercussions.
Polaris Insiders and Federal Documents Show Polaris Was Aware of and Disregarded the Fire Hazards
The terrible fact of this scenario is that Polaris was well aware of these issues—and the risk they posed—for an extended period while doing little to safeguard their clients’ lives and safety.
It didn’t take long for allegations of Polaris engine fires to surface. According to customers, the plastic panels dividing the engine bay from the passengers were burning and melting.
When Polaris received these complaints, the firm decided not to announce an emergency recall, instead instructing dealers to apply aluminum insulation to the destroyed plastic panels in order to prevent future problems. Polaris avoided informing the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a move that would later come back to hurt them.
The move not to issue a recall of the unsafe automobiles did not go over well with everybody at Polaris. Polaris’ head of product safety, Kenneth D’Entremont, called for ATV recalls as soon as 2011, but his views were rebuffed by corporate leaders, according to evidence from a 2017 unjust death case. D’Entremont departed Polaris in 2012 after being barred from future safety briefings.
Polaris announced the initial recall of 4,500 Polaris RZRs in 2013, reporting to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that just one allegation of fire damage had been received. As depositions have subsequently revealed, this is much less than the real number of cases Polaris knew at the time.
In 2016, the first Polaris RZR-related death occurred, with a 15-year-old dying. Polaris has increased their recall to 166,000 cars and conceded to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that the fire threat was higher than previously reported.
Due to the late disclosure of the fire dangers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission fined Polaris $27.5 million in 2018, making it one of the highest consumer safety fines in U.S. history.
Polaris initiated another ATV recall of more than 100,000 RZRs shortly after getting hit by hefty penalties from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, alleging fire dangers associated with the gasoline pump. Furthermore, recall information from Polaris’ website suggests that several ATVs that have caught fire and critically injured their passengers did so after getting Polaris-recommended and Polaris-performed “repairs.”
As incidents of Polaris engine fires continue to rise and RZR and Ranger lawsuits mount, the facts remain unmistakable: