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Polaris Expands ATV Recall

Jun 5, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

Polaris is expanding an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) recall for a fourth time because a defective part may overheat and cause a fire.  According to the Consumer Products Safety  Commission (CPSC), Polaris has received six more reports of the part - called an Electronic Control Modules (ECM) - malfunctioning.  Two of those malfunctions resulted in fires.

The original Polaris ATV recall was announced in May 2005.  At that time, Polaris recalled more than 14,000 ATVs with defective ECMs.  The recall involved Polaris 2004.5 ‘Sportsman 500,' 2005 ‘Sportsman 400,' ‘Sportsman 500,' ‘Sportsman 600,' ‘Sportsman 700,' and 2005 ‘Scrambler 500' ATVs.  The recall was prompted by 26 reports of the ECM overheating.

The original recall was quickly expanded the following month, after Polaris received 26 more reports of the ECM overheating.  This time, about 45,000 ATVs were recalled, including the company's Trail Boss and Magnum 330 models.

Then, this past February, the Polaris recall was expanded to include another 50,000 more vehicles.  By this time, Polaris had received 372 additional reports of smoking and/or melted ECMs on the recalled ATVs, and 20 reports of fires, nine of which involved property damage beyond the ATV.

Today's recall action involves about 700 more Scrambler and Sportsman ATVs.  The ATVs were sold at Polaris dealers nationwide from July 2004 through January 2008 for between $3,800 and $7,900.  Since February, Polaris has received four more reports of ECMs melting and two reports of smoke or fire contained to the ECM.

According to the CPSC, consumers should disconnect the negative (black) battery cable from the battery when the ATV is not in use. Consumers should contact their local Polaris dealer to schedule a free repair. Registered owners received direct mail notification of this recall.  More information on the Polaris ATV recall is available by calling the company at (888) 704-5290 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or by visiting the firm’s Web site at www.polarisindustries.com.

Unfortunately, ATV recalls are not unusual.    March, Yamaha Motor Corp. recalled some of its popular Rhino models for a brake defect, and in May, Honda recalled 1400 Model Year 2008 Honda TRX500 ATVs for a brake defect.  

ATVs can be very dangerous vehicles, even in the best of circumstances. According to data collected by the CPSC, ATVs killed more than 500 people in 2006 and of those victims nearly 1 on in 5 was a child.  In addition to ATV deaths, accidents involving these vehicles sent 146,600 people to hospital emergency rooms that same year.   Some 75% of the ATV accidents result in serious damage to the head or spinal cord of the accident victim. Head injuries are a major cause of serious life threatening or lifelong physical problems and ailments. Injury to the spinal cord can result in paralysis of the entire body for life. In its annual report released in February, the CPSC said Pennsylvania has had the highest number of reported ATV deaths since 1982, followed by California, West Virginia, Texas and Kentucky. Every state had at least one death attributed to ATVs.


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