6 Common Yamaha Kodiak 700 Problems & How To Overcome

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A review of the Yamaha Kodiak 700 shows that while a recent change led to a number of reliability issues in these otherwise solid ATVs, they’re still among the best overall quads in the industry.

This model offers impressive raw power, and the Kodiak 700’s top speed isn’t all that far off from some of the fastest ATV models in the industry.

While it can’t quite keep pace with the fastest Yamaha sport quads in the Raptor 700 and YFZ 450, its blend of power and speed make the Kodiak more versatile.

But it’s not all good with this model, as there are several noted common problems that drive owners a bit mad.

These most common problems that occur with the Yamaha Kodiak 700 include:

  • Loose-fitting stock air filters
  • Extreme heat affecting the glove box and fenders
  • Oil leaks and burning oil
  • The starters failing
  • The 4WD switches failing
  • Failed decompression springs

This guide will detail each problem, along with proven fixes and ways to prevent them from occurring.

You can also see whether any of these issues fall on the list of the Kodiak 450’s common problems too.

Loose Stock Air Filters

The stock air filter and airbox are another cause of frustration among owners of the Kodiak 700.

The combined design of the factory air filters and air boxes leave the air filter connection slightly loose-fitting.

This allows dust and dirt to bypass the factory air filter and head into your engine and throttle body.

This can cause major damage to your engine, and when you pull the air filter to clean it you can usually clearly see that a lot of debris has simply gotten past it.


EHS Racing Makes an airbox conversation that will overcome all of these problems and is highly recommended.

You can also try overcoming this on your own by cleaning your air filter including the foam O-Ring, and then applying a light layer of bearing grease to the foam O-Ring where it is supposed to snug up against the plastic housing.

This has worked for some owners but not for others, so being safe and upgrading to an aftermarket airbox and air filter is probably your best bet.

Extreme Heat Affecting Glove Boxes & Fenders

One of the most complained about problems with the Kodiak 700 is for excessive heat to affect the glove box area, the rear fenders, and riders legs.

The heat is from both the engine and the exhaust, and this problem seems to be worse in 2016 – 2018 Kodiak 700 models that have the older 708cc engine.

A comparison of the Yamaha Kodiak vs Grizzly shows that the same engine was used in the Grizzly 700, which saw some similar issues with heat.

Fortunately, Yamaha didn’t make this mistake with the smaller model as a review of the Kodiak 450 shows it has never experienced similar issues.

These engines are lean and put out lots of heat, as does the exhaust system.  And this is amplified by lots of low-speed riding like you do on the trails.

The heat from the engine is known to warm the glove box to the point that it may as well be an oven inside, especially on warm days.

The rear fenders are also known to get so hot that they’ll burn riders’ legs.


Newer Kodiak 700 models seem to experience this issue less often thanks to the newer 686cc engine they’re equipped with.

But the problem does still occur, and there are a couple of ways around it.

Install Heat Tape & Heat Shields

Yamaha has actually worked to overcome the problem with the rear fenders by adding reflective heat tape to the rear fenders in newer models.

But layering more heat tape onto the fenders won’t hurt, and should help prevent them from heating so much.

For the glove box issue, try removing your glove box and the upper plastic surrounding it and installing an adhesive heat shield in the areas under and around the box.

ECU Tune/Billet Power Tip

Additionally, EHS Racing offers a highly recommended Kodiak 700 tune of the ECU that will help to increase the fuel to your engine and reduce the heat output from both the engine and the exhaust.

You can also install a 2R Racing billet power tip on your exhaust, which will provide a number of benefits including minimizing the heat from the stock exhaust system.

Oil Leaks & Burning Oil

There was a Technical Service Bulletin released in 2019 that announced all 2016 to 2018 Kodiak 700’s were prone to a common issue with excessive oil consumption at low mileage.

This excessive oil consumption would happen for a couple of reasons:

  • The 2nd piston ring was known to wear down which diminished the ability to control oil properly.
  • The piston had a tendency to shift in the bore due to scuffing at the piston pin and piston boss surface.

This would lead to the valve seals leaking oil, which was the main source of the excessive oil consumption problem.

Many times this would cause Kodiak 700 models affected by it to smoke profusely upon starting them up and you would often smell burnt oil.


Yamaha covered this under warranty, and still may if you have an affected model and a dealer who will go to bat for you.

The fix was adding chrome plating to the 2nd piston ring to improve wear resistance, which seemed to solve the problem.

This fix was made in all new models, which shouldn’t experience the same issues.

Starters Failing

The stock starters in older Kodiak 700 models were known to stop working over time, which would lead to the Kodiak 700 not being able to start up.

This problem happened due to the magnets within the starter motor having a tendency to de-bond, which would lead to them cracking and crumbling within the starter, causing it to fail.

This is obviously a problem, but can be especially troubling if it happens while you’re out in the woods or on a trail ride as you can be left stranded.


If you have an early model Kodiak 700, it’s recommended that you carry a spare starter in your glove box even if your starter has yet to cause issues.

The good news is that some of the starters in early models never have failed.

But if your starter goes out or you simply want to be safe and carry a spare, you can get a replacement starter online pretty cheap.

4WD Switches Failing

The 4WD switches in older models are prone to failing and engaging on their own without you actually applying the 4WD switch to put them into that drive mode.

This problem mostly boils down to either an intermittent connection, or a dirty or bad switch.

Additionally, the button return springs inside the switch are prone to weakening, which allows intermittent switch contact upon starting your ATV or while idling.


There are a couple of ways to fix this issue on your own.

Simply removing the 4WD switch and cleaning it down real good may do the trick.

Or, you may need to apply a dab of dielectric grease on the contacts at the front servo.

Additionally, Yamaha offers new switches that have stiffer springs, which are strong enough to withstand vibration and prevent intermittent contact issues from occurring.

Failed Decompression Springs

The decompression spring on the camshaft within the engines of these models is also known to cause issues.

This spring is prone to weakening over time, which leads to severe cold starting issues where your Kodiak is difficult to turn over and may not start up at all.


Yamaha was well aware of this issue, though it was not all that well-known among the riding community, so it never got much attention.

But Yamaha is said to have released a TSB to dealers alerting them of the problem and explaining that they should install an upgraded decompression spring in any model that exhibited the symptoms of this issue.

If you’re having cold starting issues or idling issues, you may want to have your compression spring looked at.  

Final Word

While you’ll find a Kodiak model on the list of best ATVs for the money, this model just barely misses out but is still regarded as one of the best all-around quads out there.

That said, it doesn’t come without some common drawbacks as detailed in this guide.