How to Troubleshoot a Yamaha Rhino

One of two utility vehicle makes that Yamaha debuted in 2004, the Rhino UTV (utility task vehicle) was the longest-lasting. It was the only side-by-side that Yamaha still offered for 2011 in a 700 cc model. Despite having three different engineering designs since its inception, troubleshooting tips remain mostly consistent across all Rhino models. In order to guide owners through minor repairs and diagnosis of problems, the company offers a troubleshooting guide in all Rhino owner’s manuals



1) Check to ensure there is fuel if the Rhino is running poorly or if it won’t won’t start. The fuel gauge is located on the front instrument panel.

2) Turn off the engine and refuel the Rhino if the fuel gauge reads empty or close to it. All Yamaha Rhinos take unleaded gasoline only.

3) Check the condition of the fuel in the tank if there are adequate fuel levels. If the fuel is gummy or contaminated with water, have the fuel tank drained by a mechanic or Yamaha dealer.


1) Access the Rhino’s single cylinder, located in the engine case under the front hood, in order to remove the spark plug and test for compression.

2) Locate the single spark plug, located in the cylinder. Remove the spark plug cap and twist the plug away from the cylinder using a spark plug wrench.

3) Insert a compression gauge into the spark plug hole.

4) Use the electric starter. The compression level should read about 140 psi. If the compression level is far beneath this reading, take the Rhino to a dealer to have the compression system inspected. If the compression reading is normal, move on to the ignition system check.


1) Wipe any wet residue from the insulator tip of the removed spark plug.

2) Inspect the spark plug’s electrode. Replace the plug if the electrode is burnt or damaged. The specific kind of spark plug varies according to Rhino model and can be found in the “Specifications” section of your Rhino’s owner’s manual.

3) Measure the spark plug gap with a wire-thickness gauge and ensure that the distance matches the gap measurement specified in your Rhino’s owner’s manual. If the spark plug gap is too wide, shorten it by pressing the hook-end against a hard surface. If the gap is too narrow, widen it using a spark plug gap tool.

4) Reattach the plug cap to the disconnected spark plug and ground it to the Rhino’s chassis.

5) Operate the electric starter and observe the spark strength. If there is no spark or if the spark is weak, take the Rhino to a dealer for inspection. If the spark is strong, the ignition system is working properly.

Extra Tips:

* If troubleshooting fails, the Rhino may be experiencing major mechanical problems. Yamaha recommends that only a certified dealer diagnose and repair such problems.

* Gasoline is highly flammable. Use caution when handling it and do not smoke or work near an open flame while troubleshooting the fuel system.

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