8 Common Suzuki DRZ400 Problems (Explained)

The Suzuki DRZ400, a versatile dual-sport motorcycle, is known for its reliability and performance.

However, like any dirtbike, the DRZ400 has its share of issues.

This article delves into the most common problems that owners and potential buyers of the Suzuki DRZ400 should be aware of.

1. Hard Starting Problems

Hard starting problems are common with older Suzuki DRZ400 year models, often due to a stator that fails long before it should. The stator is an essential component of the charging system that replenishes the battery. If it fails, the DRZ400 won’t start the next time you try to ride.

“2007 DRZ[400]SM with 13, xxx miles on it. The bike ran fine until Friday. Coming home from work when I would pull in the clutch to come to a stop, the bike would stall but would start right back up. Over the weekend, the battery kept getting lower and cranked over slowly. I suspected the battery, but after doing the test from this site, I decided on the stator. The system checked out except for the stator wires, showing continuity to ground on all 3 phases. If I leave the stator unplugged, the bike starts up, runs great, and doesn’t stall. As soon as I plug in the stator while running the bike stalls.” -thumpertalk.com

“have a 2007 [DRZ]400s… when the ignition on the dash and headlight come on…hit the kill switch to on and push the starter… the dash stays lighted but the headlight goes out and nothing happens…no started noise…nothing…” -bikez.com

Other potential starting issues could be related to a weak battery, a clogged carburetor, or a faulty spark plug. Regular maintenance is key to preventing these problems.

  • Ensure the battery is fully charged and replace it if it’s old or weak.
  • Regularly clean the carburetor to prevent build-up that can hinder fuel flow.
  • Check the spark plug for wear and tear and replace it if necessary.

Problem Prevention:

To prevent stator issues on a Suzuki DRZ400, consider upgrading the regulator or rectifier. Regular charging system inspections and timely replacements of weakening parts can save your DRZ from unexpected breakdowns, ensuring a smooth start.

2. Swingarm/Steering Bearing Failure

Swingarm and steering bearing failure are other common issues with the Suzuki DRZ400. Owners report that the swingarm bearings will fail or rust into place if they’re not inspected, greased, and serviced at least once per season—more frequently than on other dirt bikes.

The swingarm bearing connects the rear suspension to the frame, allowing the suspension to move up and down while keeping the rear wheel aligned.

The steering bearings, on the other hand, are located in the headstock of the frame and allow smooth steering.

Failure of these bearings can lead to a loose feeling in the handling, difficulty in steering, or even a dangerous wobble at high speeds.

Here’s what DRZ400 owners had to say on thumpertalk.com:

“After seeing all of the cautions about doing the swingarm bearing and linkage service, I took care of mine; the bike was just under 7,000 miles when I bought it. Everything came apart normally, the bearings were OK, and it went back together OK.

I decided to help someone else with their [DRZ400] today, a much newer bike with lower mileage (just over 6,000 miles), but apparently, the previous owner got into some mud or water.

I would gladly pay Suzuki the extra $0.75 for the grease and anti-seize they could use on the assembly to make everybody’s life easier. The swingarm bolt was rusted in solid; it did not move with a two lb. hammer and a brass drift.”

“Water gets in through the steering lock and lets water into the bottom steering head bearing some filled their steering locks with silastic, some with waterproof grease. But most of all, grease the steering head bolts with waterproof grease anyway.”

While riders like these claim Suzuki doesn’t grease their bearings as well as other manufacturers do during assembly, this is merely the opinion of some frustrated dirt bike owners who may not have kept up with maintenance.

“So, I’m doing the swingarm bearings on my DRZ for the first time ever. When I removed the swingarm, what was left of the bearings (not much….) fell out of the swingarm, and I didn’t really have a chance to see how they fit in there. The bearing kit I ordered won’t be here till the end of the week, so I can’t even compare them to the new bearings.”

“Make sure your [DRZ400’s] linkage-to-frame bolt isn’t seized as well, as I have found this one is even more prone to seizing in place than the swingarm bolt. It seizes to the bearing spacer so it will turn, but it won’t come out.”

Problem Prevention:

Regular inspection and maintenance are key to preventing these issues.

  • Ensure that these bearings are adequately greased during routine maintenance. If you notice any signs of wear or damage, it’s best to replace them promptly.
  • Changing the CAM of the motorcycle can also provide some relief from these issues. Remember, regular care and maintenance can significantly extend the life of your DRZ400 and ensure a smooth ride.

3. Faulty Side Stand Switch

The side stand switch on the Suzuki DRZ400 is a safety feature designed to prevent the bike from being ridden with the side stand down. However, they can sometimes malfunction and misread the stand’s position, causing the bike to stall or refuse to start even when the stand is up.

The Suzuki DRZ400’s side stand interference is often due to the safety relay disturbing the signal while riding in challenging terrains.

Here are some testimonials from thumpertalk.com:

“The same has happened to me once; the neutral light was on, the stand was down, and when I hit the starter, no go! So I put it into then out of gear, and it started. That weekend, I took off the switch and clutch switch as well and have not had a problem since.”

“If you ride trails [on your Suzuki DRZ400], get rid of that kickstand feature and the clutch lever safety switch. I broke my clutch lever on a recent ride and had to bump start cause the starter button won’t fire when your lever is busted neutral or not.”

 “I tried starting my doctor’s today. I wouldn’t start. There’s no crank at all. The lights and horn were all working, so I released the side stand, and it worked. Then I turned it off & put it back on the side stand. I started it again & it worked. What happened? The sensor might have gotten stuck.

Problem Prevention:

The most common solution to the DRZ400’s side stand failure is to remove the safety relay from the side stand. This bypasses the switch, allowing the bike to start and run regardless of the position of the side stand.

However, this should be done with caution as it eliminates a safety feature of the bike.

Regularly inspecting and cleaning the side stand switch can also help prevent this issue. Dirt and debris can sometimes cause the switch to stick or malfunction, so keeping it clean can ensure it operates correctly.

4. Front Sprocket Nut Comes Loose

Another known issue on the Suzuki DRZ400 is the front sprocket coming loose. The front sprocket, which is part of the chain drive system, can sometimes loosen due to vibrations or inadequate tightening during installation. This can lead to erratic performance and potential damage.

One common symptom of a loose front sprocket is a rattling or clunking noise, especially when accelerating or decelerating. The bike may also jerk or lurch unexpectedly.

From Thumpertalk:

“The front sprocket [on my DRZ400] had come to lose three times; the half-moons were nearly all gone… It’s the inside face of the spacer that seems to be worn, where it contacts the bearing inner race (the face with the two half-moon cutouts).

The half-moon cutouts allow oil to get into the center of the output shaft, which then gets pumped to the transmission.

If the Half-moons disappear, then the trans output shaft will be starved of oil, and this is possibly why the 2nd gear bushing fails/welds itself to the shaft.”

From dirtbikeworld:

“After reading about Mr. Pepstar losing his front sprocket nut at Bright this last weekend and it being a very common problem with an easy fix, I thought I would start a post on common DRZ400 issues and the fixes…

…1. CS Nut coming loose – Apply red loctite to sprocket splines and nut – torque nut to 79.5 ft-lb – allow to cure overnight … you will need a small gear puller to remove sprocket in future ($20 from Supercheap)”

Problem Prevention:

Ensure that the front sprocket is tightened correctly during installation to prevent this issue.

  • Regularly check the tightness of the sprocket and retighten it if necessary.
  • Some riders recommend using a thread-locking compound on the sprocket bolt to prevent it from loosening; talk to your Suzuki mechanic to see if this is right for your year model.

5. Bogging Problems

The Suzuki DRZ400 can sometimes experience bogging issues, where the engine loses power, especially during acceleration. This is often due to a clogged carburetor or a problem with the fuel system.

Problem Prevention:

Regular maintenance, including cleaning the carburetor and checking the fuel system for blockages, can help prevent bogging issues from manifesting on your DRZ400.

6. Overheating Issues

Overheating can occur in the DRZ400 due to various oversights, such as low coolant levels, idling for too long, riding too slow, blown head gaskets, or a malfunctioning radiator.

Problem Prevention:

Routine inspections of the coolant level and the radiator can help prevent overheating. Also, ensure the bike is ridden properly; refrain from idling too hard for extended periods or riding too slow in hot weather.

7. Spark Plugs Wear and Tear

Spark plugs in the DRZ400 can wear out over time, affecting the bike’s performance. Spark plugs play a crucial role in the ignition system of a motorcycle. They ignite the air-fuel mixture in the engine’s combustion chamber, which powers the motor.

When spark plugs wear out, they can cause a variety of problems:

  1. Poor Fuel Economy: Worn-out spark plugs may not ignite the fuel efficiently, leading to higher fuel consumption.
  2. Engine Misfires: If the spark plug doesn’t fire, it can cause the engine to misfire, which you might notice as a rough idle or difficulty starting the bike.
  3. Reduced Performance: Worn-out spark plugs can reduce acceleration and overall performance.
  4. Hard Starting: Once the spark plugs are worn out, you may find that your bike is difficult to start or doesn’t start at all.

Problem Prevention:

To prevent spark plug failure-induced issues, often check your spark plugs for signs of wear or damage, replacing them if necessary. Using high-quality spark plugs and ensuring your bike is regularly serviced can also help prolong the life of your spark plugs.

8. Faulty Idling

Faulty idling, where the bike either idles too fast or too slow, can be an issue with the DRZ400. This is often due to a problem with the idle adjustment screw or a clogged carburetor.

Problem Prevention:

Regular maintenance, including adjusting the idle screw and cleaning the carburetor, can help prevent this issue.

What Are the Pros and Cons of the Suzuki DRZ400?


  • Dual-Sport Versatility
  • Wide Engine-Power band
  • Sufficient Torque
  • Lightweight
  • Swift and Easy to Handle
  • Reliable with Proper Maintenance
  • Variety of Aftermarket Upgrades Available


  • Hard Starting Problems
  • Swingarm/Steering Bearing Failure
  • Faulty Side Stand Switch
  • Sprocket Issues
  • Bogging Problems
  • Overheating Issues
  • Spark Plugs Wear and Tear
  • Faulty Idling

What Are Some Alternative Models?

Make/Model MSRP (USD) MPG
Suzuki DRZ400 $7,599 55
KTM 500/501 $11,799 45
KTM 690 Enduro $12,999 45
Yamaha WR250F $8,799 40
Yamaha WR450F $9,999 40
Honda CRF450L $10,099 40
Suzuki DR650S $6,999 50
Kawasaki KX 450$9,59950

What’s the Resale Value of the Suzuki DRZ 400?

Year Mileage Used Listing Price
2005 6,000 mi $3,500
2008 9,800 mi $3,800
2014 4,500 mi $4,500
2017 2,000 mi $5,000
2020 1,200 mi $6,000

What Do the Reviews Say?

“The DR-Z400S suspension pushes into true dirt bike territory on 49 mm forks with 11.3 inches of travel, adjustable spring preload, and adjustable damping for both the compression and rebound stroke. An aluminum swingarm with a progressive-link mono-shock takes care of the back, and while the rear comes with even more travel at 11.6 inches, it only allows for adjustments to the preload and compression damping.”

“The DR-Z400 has been around since 2000, and this dual sport is still competent for trail riding and urban cruising with its 398cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine. Dirt-bike-like suspension travel of 11 inches with a fully adjustable front and preload- and compression-adjustable rear setup make the DR-Z400S ready for any terrain.”

“It may not be the most high-tech dual sport out there with components like a carburetor, LCD screen, and halogen lighting, but when you are out there on the trails, sometimes the bare minimum is all the tech you need.”

“If you are looking for a bike that is the perfect off-road companion for exploring your local green lanes, look no further than a Suzuki DRZ400 S.”

“Light, reliable, and fairly cheap to buy, the DRZ is a bike that will plod on through just about any condition.”

“Despite getting on for 20 years now, the DRZ 400 S is still a really popular model for those who enjoy a bit of light trail riding.”


2016 – 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM – Top Speed.

Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycles for sale – MotoHunt

Used Dr-Z 400S For Sale – Suzuki Dual Sport Motorcycles – Cycle Trader

Suzuki DR-Z400S Motorcycles for Sale – Motorcycles on Autotrader

2020 Suzuki DR-Z400S Buyer’s Guide: Specs, Photos, Price | Cycle World

Suzuki DRZ400 S (2001-2009) review & used buying guide | MCN (motorcyclenews.com)


  • Michael Ta Nous

    I've been weaving words into stories since my early scribbling days, and my journey in the world of motorcycles and their communities spans almost two decades. Living with a talented motorcycle mechanic as a roommate, our garage transformed into a vibrant workshop where I absorbed the intricacies of...