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Most Common Problems With Honda Big Red UTV

Most Common Problems With Honda Big Red UTV

Another term of Honda’s Big Red MUV700 is “side by side category” (SxS). But if you ask – “why this name?” The answer is it is a multipurpose UTV manufactured by Honda after several years. Here, MUV stands for “multipurpose utility vehicle”. That is the source of this alternative term. The Pioneer 700-4 SXS is the current replacement for this UTV.

Compared to a regular UTV, the Honda Big Red has a distinct automotive look and feel. They have designed this UTV giving priority to utility over the sport. But that doesn’t mean it won’t make intensive trails less enjoyable. Even after several updates since 2011, the Big Red hasn’t changed much. But that’s not exactly an issue with this UTV.

Out of curiosity, we have analyzed the most common problems with Honda Big Red UTV and shared them in this article.

Common Problems of the Honda Big Red UTV:

You might be thinking about buying a Honda Big Red UTV. Hence, you should take a look at these common issues of the Honda Big Red UTV first.

The UTV is Down

All of a sudden the Honda Big Red UTV (aka Honda Big Red 700) can be down. You may find no oil leak, no issue in the drive shaft, or whatsoever; it will just shut down. There might be a reason for this problem. The Honda Big Red UTV may shut down when there is too much fluid jammed on the underbody shield. This can dry out the transmission, which can also shut down the engine. Then, no matter how hard you try, UTV just won’t start. 

Another reason for this problem is when you leave this UTV idle for a long time and try to turn it on after a long time, it may not start again. Watch this video to better understand this problem –

Issues in Transmission

Transmission issue is a serious issue of the Honda Big Red UTV. This issue is familiar during cold weather. If such an issue occurs, the gear will become stuck and the UTV won’t start until you are continuously shifting in a higher gear than you are supposed to.

In order to fix this problem, you have to change the oil when you are using motor oil instead of transmission oil and you have already checked oil viscosity. It may not turn into a transmission issue during cold weather if you house the unit properly. 

Also, the issue is more related to clutch, shift fork, or shifter mechanism when all the gears work except for the 1st one. In the worst-case scenario, you may need to disassemble your gearbox to identify and fix the root cause. 

Loss of Power

This particular issue is more common in the 2017 Honda Big Red UTVs, especially the ones with little mileage. There are common symptoms of this UTV like the machine won’t shift when traveling an incline or losing control at a speed of 15 mph or more when going downhill. 

Furthermore, if you notice continuous engagement in the seat belt switch or if oil gets sucked by the air cleaner, these are the symptoms of this issue. Honda dealers say this is a widespread problem caused by a dilapidated camshaft, which Honda has not yet resolved.  

The best solution to this problem is to take your UTV either to a mechanic or to a Honda dealer. If the result is not adequate, then check air filters, spark plugs, mufflers, valves, fuel injectors, and other possible culprits.  

Performance Issues

Most Common Problems With Honda Big Red UTV Performance Issues

Symptoms of this problem range from pinging noise to irregular engine running or misfiring. If the engine starts, but you notice that it is not running well, it may be related to your gasoline octane rating, oil temperature, or soot extraction.

To resolve this issue, follow the appropriate steps to check your oil temperature indicator on page 200 of your service manual. Use the recommended fuel or, if necessary, inspect your fuel filter if any obstacle is encountered. There is nothing to be disappointed if this problem is not solved even after following these initial steps as most of the performance issues of Honda Big Red UTV force you to see your nearby mechanic or dealer.

Oil Reading is Uncertain

This error was caused by using engine oil with incorrect lubrication for your Honda Big Red UTV. To avoid this, you must remember that this special UTV from Honda has a semi-dry-sump design. Therefore, a proper oil testing procedure must be followed to get the most accurate readings. 

It would be best to pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations and use the Pro Honda GN4 4-stroke oil SAE 10W-30 that has an API service classification of SG or higher. If you start with a cold motor, then follow these steps – 

  • Let the machine idle for about three minutes.
  • Turn it off and let it sit for a few more minutes before testing the oil.
  • If that’s not the case, expect readings from oil fluctuations.

Pro-Tip: Stay away from oils labeled as energy or resource-saving. This is a cheap strategy of the sellers to entice the customers.

The Lock is Not Working

Sometimes, the differential lock doesn’t work for the front tires of the Honda Big Red 700. The problem is unusual yet can be confusing because there will be no flashing from the dash light to point it out. Although not 100% sure, lots of rock crawling can be responsible for this.

Although most Honda owners consider this to be a cable problem, the real reason is that the quad’s front-drive axle output comes out of the shaft. Also, a common symptom of this problem is when both 4WD and differential-lock mode are engaged. 

Restriction in Shifting

If your Honda Big Red 700 has traveled more than 8,000 miles, it is difficult to shift to 3rd gear, especially during cold weather. Sadly, changing oils and oil filters does not make the slightest difference in solving this problem. As a result, most pioneer owners blame the poor air ventilation of this UTV. 

In winter, allow the quad engine to warm up before igniting it or ride it for a short distance first. If that doesn’t work, you may need to tinker with the accelerator or change the angle sensors (which are fully automatic) to make things work. In addition to these, make sure that there are no shift pins laying around the transmission. Also, beware of faulty micro switches on your Honda Big Red MUV700.

General Pros and Cons of Honda Big Red UTV

Aside from the common issues, the Honda Big Red MUV700 shows some negatives and positives. So, let’s take a look.


  • Despite its regular usage, it has the automotive look and quality of a sports UTV.
  • The transmission and steering are just outstanding.
  • For the sealed drive shafts, you get extra reliability and usability.
  • It is very easy to maintain.
  • There are lots of accessories available for this UTV.
  • The dump box features replaceable panels, hydraulic assist, tie-down loops, and more.   


  • Not the best performance from the engine.
  • You can only reach a maximum of 40 mph.
  • Sometimes, the cargo bed can be detached from the QuickFlip safety latch.  
  • Low ground clearance and a poor suspension limit its usage.

Quote Reviews:

We have found some reviews on the Honda Big Red. We don’t why but we found most of these reviews as positive. We guess the Honda Big Red UTV is pretty handy after all. One user said – 

“I looked at a 2013 Big Red MUV with 5500 miles on it, used and abused by ranch employees, and was impressed with the heavy-duty build of this UTV. While the look is not great, I didn’t hate it.”

After some research, we found some users who gave negative feedback along with positive reviews. One user first said – 

“The biggest downfall on the BR is where the air intake is placed. It pulls its air in from under the passenger seat. It is a dirty, dusty place to get air so the air filter has to be cleaned more often.”

Now, this is clearly negative feedback. After some time, the same user said – 

“It is a workhorse though like it was designed to be. It’s kind of funny how just a few little changes (the Pioneer) and it was a big hit with the consumer.”


The Honda Big Red UTV is one workhorse that gives you the ultimate trail experience along with pleasant daily driving. The problems that we have discussed in this article may not happen to your UTV. It is quite natural that any kind of vehicle would show some problem no matter how good it is. Also, our duty was to discuss the common issues of the Honda Big Red UTV, not to discourage you from buying it.   

Then again, lack of maintenance causes many problems which can happen to any vehicle, not just Honda Big Red UTV. If you are buying a used Honda Big Red UTV, double-check the brake pads and burnt wires. Also, check the oil, as old oil can damage the engine.

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