Can Am Defender Problems

9 Can Am Defender Problems Exposed

Can-Am Defender, one of the top-selling UTVs in the industry, is a popular choice among off-roading enthusiasts and farmers alike.

With its comfortable rides and versatile side-by-side design, it is widely regarded as a reliable utility vehicle for various tasks, both on the farm and on the trail.

However, like any machine, the Can-Am Defender is not without its share of problems.

Some owners have reported issues with overheating, especially during intense off-road sessions.

The heater system has also been a point of concern for some, with reports of malfunctioning heaters affecting the overall comfort during colder weather.

Another problem that has surfaced among some Defender owners is related to problematic starts.

Some users have experienced difficulties starting their UTVs, leading to frustration and inconvenience during crucial moments.

Additionally, belt problems have been a recurring issue in the Can-Am Defender community.

Some users have encountered belt slippage or premature wear, impacting the vehicle’s performance and requiring costly replacements.

Steering issues have also been reported, with certain owners noting issues with the responsiveness and precision of the steering system, which can pose safety risks during off-road adventures.

Fortunately, there are solutions available to address these common problems.

Can-Am has been proactive in addressing customer concerns and providing support through its dedicated service centers.

Regular maintenance and proper care can go a long way in preventing or mitigating many of these issues.

Can Am Defender Problems

Can Am Defender Problems

Most common nine can-am defender problems:

  • Steering Problems
  • Steering Rack Problems
  • Tie Rods Bending
  • Belt Problems
  • Squeaky Brakes
  • Stock Battery Dies Quickly
  • Cab Leaks
  • Shifting Trouble
  • Overheating

Also Check: Can Am Defender Problems 6×6

Can-Am Defender Steering Problems

The Can-Am Defender has gained popularity as a reliable utility vehicle, but like any complex machinery, it is not immune to certain issues.

One of the recurring problems reported by owners is related to steering.

Steering problems in the Can-Am Defender can be a source of frustration for drivers, especially when they encounter difficulties with the Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) system.

The DPS system plays a critical role in providing power assistance to the vehicle’s steering, making it easier to navigate various terrains.

However, some drivers have experienced an alarming DPS alarm, indicating potential issues with the steering mechanism.

When encountering such problems, it is essential for owners to investigate the root causes and take appropriate steps to address them.

One of the primary sources of steering problems lies within the F2 fuse box located under the hood.

Using a voltmeter to measure the voltage at the engine’s RPMs can help pinpoint any irregularities.

In some cases, the issue might be related to a loose ground wire or a faulty ignition, affecting the power assist in the steering system.

Other potential culprits of steering problems include the Vehicle Speed Sensor, gearbox, and rear axles.

Conducting thorough wiring checks can help identify and rectify any issues that may be affecting the steering performance.

Another common concern is the DPS system overheating, especially during extended periods of driving.

While some drivers may notice a reduced amount of steering assist during such instances, it’s important to understand that this is a normal occurrence, and the DPS system will resume normal functioning once it has cooled down.

Can-Am Defender Steering Rack Problems

When discussing the topic of Can-Am Defender steering rack problems, it is essential to address the occurrence of such issues in various models reported by owners.

One of the common complaints is the excessive play in the steering wheel, which affects the precise positioning of the front wheels.

This play, also known as steering wheel sloop, can lead to misalignment and cause the tires to wear unevenly, resulting in reduced turning radius and handling performance.

The stock steering racks in some Can-Am Defender models have been under scrutiny for their tendency to crack and wear out prematurely, especially when exposed to rough terrains and heavy use.

Many owners attribute these problems to the quality of the bushings and other components used in the manufacturing process.

As a result, there has been a demand for upgrades to higher-quality aftermarket steering racks that offer enhanced durability and reliability.

In response to these concerns, various companies like TCR Performance and Super ATV have introduced aftermarket steering rack options to address the deficiencies of the stock components.

These upgraded steering racks boast improved materials and construction, promising a more robust solution to the steering-related issues faced by Can-Am Defender owners.

Tie Rods Bending

In the realm of off-road vehicles, the Can-Am Defender stands out as a rugged and dependable companion.

However, like any mechanical marvel, it is not impervious to certain issues that may arise over time.

One such concern that enthusiasts occasionally encounter is tie rod bending.

The tie rods are crucial components of the vehicle’s steering system, playing a pivotal role in maintaining stability and control during rides on challenging terrains.

Even though the Can-Am Defender comes equipped with stock tie rods that are of decent quality, the harsh realities of intense riding can lead to the potential bending of these rods.

To address this concern, many off-road enthusiasts opt for aftermarket tie rods as replacements.

These aftermarket alternatives are often engineered with stronger materials, offering enhanced durability and resilience against bending.

By choosing to invest in these sturdier alternatives, riders can significantly prevent steering wheel sloop and maintain a positive, responsive driving experience.

When encountering a bent tie rod, it is highly recommended to have it promptly replaced.

Delaying this essential repair can lead to worsened handling and pose safety risks for both the driver and the vehicle.

Expert mechanics advise seeking the aid of professionals who can contextually assess the situation and suggest the appropriate aftermarket tie rods that align with the Can-Am Defender’s specifications.

Can-Am Defender Belt Problems

When it comes to the Can-Am Defender, owners have encountered a concerning issue known as “Belt problems,” specifically “Belt slippage.”

This problem affects the vehicle’s performance, making it essential for owners to be aware of the signs and potential causes.

One of the primary indicators of belt problems is the noise that occurs while idling or coasting downhill.

The sound, often described as “screaming” or “whining,” can be alarming and is indicative of a malfunction within the clutch system.

The rollers and one-way bearing may be prone to dust and grime accumulation, leading to a faulty engagement and pressure applied on the belt.

As the belt wears down, it may start to rub against various components, causing excessive wear and tear on both the belt and surrounding gear.

This weardown can further exacerbate the issue and potentially lead to other damages within the system.

To address these belt problems, it’s crucial for owners to regularly inspect the secondary clutch and promptly replace it if necessary.

Neglecting this maintenance could result in the belt becoming damaged beyond repair, leading to more severe malfunctions in the vehicle.

Understanding the common signs of belt problems and taking proactive measures can help prevent further damage and excessive drag when going into gear.

With proper care and maintenance, owners can ensure a smooth and efficient driving experience with their Can-Am Defender, keeping potential belt issues at bay.

Preventative Belt And Clutch Care

When it comes to Preventative Belt and Clutch Care for your Can Am Defender, there are several key practices that all owners should be aware of to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of their machine.

One of the primary aspects to consider is the issue of idling and one-way bearing wear out.

Allowing the engine to idle for prolonged periods can lead to significant wear on the one-way bearing, potentially leading to failure over time.

To prevent such issues, it is best practice for owners to shut off the machine when it will sit idle for extended durations.

Another critical aspect of Preventative Belt and Clutch Care is maintaining a clean clutch system.

Dirt and debris can easily accumulate within the primary and secondary clutches, causing excessive wear and reducing the overall efficiency of the system.

Regularly cleaning the clutches and ensuring that grit and grime buildup are removed will greatly contribute to prolonging their life.

To further enhance the longevity of your clutch and belt, it is recommended to have your machine inspected by mechanics after a certain number of miles.

They can identify any signs of wear and tear, address potential problems before they escalate, and offer valuable insights into how to maintain the clutch system properly.

In addition to mechanical maintenance, owners can also take proactive steps to prevent belt and clutch problems.

It is crucial to avoid subjecting the Defender to unnecessary strain, especially at top speeds.

Excessive acceleration and hard stops can put undue stress on the clutch and belt, leading to premature wear and potential failure.

Practicing smooth and controlled driving will ensure that the components endure minimal wear and perform optimally.

Squeaky Brakes

When it comes to the Can-Am Defender, some users have encountered an annoying problem with their brakes, experiencing an unwelcome squeaky and noisy performance.

This issue can be quite embarrassing, especially when driving in quiet settings.

However, there are effective solutions to overcome this challenge and alleviate the frustration.

One common cause of squeaky brakes in the Can-Am Defender is the accumulation of dust and dirt on the brake calipers, pins, clips, and brake pads.

Particularly in dry weather and dusty settings, these particles can build up over time, leading to irritating brake noise.

To address this, it is essential to regularly clean the brake components.

A popular method to combat squeaky brakes involves using WD40 or a specialized brake cleaner.

By hosing down the backside of the brake calipers and applying the cleaner or WD40, you can cut down on the dust and grime that may be happening due to the accumulation of dirt.

This contextually targeted application of cleaning agents holds significant importance in resolving the problem effectively.

For best results, thoroughly wash the brake components with soapy water to ensure they are clean and free from any residue.

This cleaning process helps in preventing the squeaky noise and ensures smoother brake functioning.

Once the brakes are clean, ensure that you apply them in appropriate settings to minimize the chances of dust and dirt buildup.

Stock Battery Dies Quickly

The Can-Am Defender has garnered attention due to battery-related concerns, with users frequently encountering issues with the stock battery.

One of the most prevalent problems reported is the battery’s quick depletion, leaving owners frustrated and seeking solutions.

The root of the problem lies in the heavy usage of electronics and accessories that can strain the stock battery, leading to its rapid drain.

To address this, experts recommend considering the use of a battery tender, a practical device that ensures the battery remains charged even during periods of inactivity.

This proactive approach helps mitigate cold starting and hesitation issues that often arise when trying to start the engine.

Another effective measure to enhance the Can-Am Defender’s battery performance is upgrading to a Group 51 Battery, known for its robust capabilities.

By opting for this superior battery option, users can eliminate the problematic hesitation issues commonly experienced during engine start-up.

Aside from upgrades, owners can take preventative actions to avoid battery-related complications.

It is essential to avoid leaving the machine unused for extended periods, as this contributes to unnecessary battery drain.

Regularly firing up the engine, even if not going for a full drive, can significantly improve the battery’s overall condition.

Cab Leaks

In 2021, Can-Am introduced newer models of the Can-Am Defender, aiming to provide enhanced experiences for off-road enthusiasts.

However, an issue that came to light for some owners was cab leaks in specific areas of the vehicle.

The most common areas of concern were the front roof corners, windshield, and doors, where the weather stripping seemed to be insufficient in preventing water from leaking inside the cab.

Owners noticed the problem primarily during rain showers, while driving through muddy terrain, or even when washing their vehicles with a hose.

The exterior elements seemed to find their way into the cab, causing discomfort and potential damage to the interior components.

The sealed cab concept did not live up to its expectations in this regard.

To fix the cab leaks, owners were recommended to reach out to authorized dealers for a resolution.

The solution often involved applying caulk around the top side bolts, particularly those securing the hard top roof and door panels.

Additionally, it was essential to ensure proper alignment of the door components, including the lower and upper hinges, door strike, and seals, to create a snug fit.

These measures played a crucial role in preventing further water and dust leakage into the cab.

Shifting Trouble

The Can-Am Defender is a powerful and reliable off-road vehicle, but some owners have reported trouble shifting gears, which can be concerning when navigating challenging terrains.

One of the recurrent issues faced by owners is the gear shift vibrating loose, causing difficulties in engaging the correct gear.

This problem can be attributed to improperly adjusted shift linkage or the shift linkage cable not being secured with lock nuts.

When attempting to shift into any gear, especially while on an incline, owners have noticed a grinding noise and observed that the gear indicator light does not come on as expected.

These symptoms are clear indications of a misaligned shift linkage.

To address this, a thorough adjustment of the shift linkage is necessary to ensure smooth gear transitions.

During assembly, it is essential to set the shift linkage in the correct position to prevent such issues from arising.

If the shift linkage is improperly installed, it may transfer to an incorrect position, leading to further troubles with gear shifting.

To counteract this, both the back nut and front nut of the shift linkage must be securely fastened to maintain the proper alignment.

To rectify the gear shift problem, owners should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and adjust the gear shift back and forth until it is set correctly in the newly adjusted location.

Regular checks and adjustments are essential to keep the gear shift in optimal condition and prevent any recurring problems.


Overheating is a common issue faced by Can-Am engines and many other UTV engines, despite being considered some of the best in the industry. This problem occurs due to several reasons.

  • Clogged Radiator
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Airlock in Coolant System
  • Blown Head Gasket

Clogged Radiator

Clogged radiators can be a frequent problem for Can-Am Defender owners, especially after muddy rides in off-road conditions.

The combination of sand, mud, and grass can easily find its way into the radiator fins, leading to overheating issues.

To ensure the radiator’s optimal performance, it is essential to clean it on a frequent basis.

When faced with a clogged radiator, a thorough cleaning process is necessary to remove all debris effectively.

One effective approach is to use an all-purpose cleaner like Simple Green, which can efficiently dissolve the dirt and grime accumulated in the fins.

Before applying the cleaner, it is crucial to ensure that the vehicle is turned off and the pressure washer is set to a moderate spray to prevent any damage to the delicate fins.

To start the cleaning process, the radiator grill should be removed to gain better access to the fins.

A water hose can be used initially to spray the surface and dislodge loose debris.

Then, a mixture of Simple Green and water can be sprayed onto the radiator and allowed to soak for a few minutes.

This will help to loosen and break down any stubborn clogs.

Once the soaking time is complete, a pressure washer can be used again, this time with a more focused spray, to drive out the remaining dirt and ensure a thorough cleaning.

It is essential to pay attention to both the front and back of the radiator to ensure all debris is removed completely.

Taking the time to clean the radiator properly can lead to a significant improvement in its cooling performance, which will alleviate the risk of overheating during future drives.

Additionally, regular maintenance and cleaning can prolong the radiator’s lifespan, ensuring it continues to function optimally and keeping the vehicle running smooth.

Temperature Sensor

Temperature sensors play a critical role in monitoring and regulating the temperatures of various systems, including engines in vehicles like the Can Am Defender.

These sensors are essential components that help prevent potential problems related to overheating, especially in warmer climates and higher elevations, where the risk of engine temperature issues tends to be more pronounced.

One of the key issues that the Can Am Defender owners may encounter is the problem of overheating, particularly during an extended period of time when the vehicle is operating in low gear or tackling challenging terrains.

When the engine is subjected to intense stress, such as when navigating steep inclines or rough trails, it can generate higher temperatures that may surpass the normal operating range, entering the overheating zone.

This can lead to performance issues and even potential damage to the engine if not addressed promptly.

To address the challenge of overheating, the Can Am Defender is equipped with a sophisticated temperature sensor.

This sensor is strategically placed to constantly monitor the engine’s temperatures. When the temperature reaches a critical level, the sensor sends signals to the vehicle’s computer system, prompting it to take necessary measures to prevent further temperature escalation.

The temperature sensor engages with various components, such as a fan, which aids in dissipating excessive heat.

The fan automatically switches on when needed, driven by the data provided by the temperature sensor.

Additionally, drivers have the option to manually control the fan through a toggle switch on the dash.

This manual override can be particularly useful in situations where the automatic system may not be sufficient to tackle extreme conditions.

The wiring and rigging involved in connecting the temperature sensor and the fan are crucial to ensure accurate readings and efficient cooling.

Manufacturers employ high-quality wires and secure rigging methods to maintain the reliability and longevity of these vital components.

Airlock In Coolant System

In the realm of Can-Am Defender’s coolant system, one recurring issue that users may encounter is the presence of an airlock or air pocket.

This troublesome airlock can lead to overheating, potentially causing damage to the engine and cooling fan.

To address this problem, it’s crucial to understand the pivotal components involved, namely the water pump and coolant system.

When the engine operates, it generates heat that is dissipated by the coolant system, responsible for maintaining optimal temperature levels.

However, if air finds its way into the system, it forms an airlock, disrupting the smooth flow of coolant.

As a result, the engine may start overheating, causing concern for the vehicle’s performance and longevity.

To tackle this issue effectively, it’s essential to identify the root cause and take appropriate measures.

The water pump plays a pivotal role in circulating the coolant throughout the engine and radiator, ensuring efficient cooling.

If the water pump malfunctions or is affected by the airlock, the entire cooling process can be compromised.

If you find yourself grappling with an airlock, bleeding the coolant system becomes imperative.

Although it may be a tough time, following the steps below can ultimately resolve the problem.

Blown Head Gasket

When it comes to the Can Am Defender and its engine, there have been reports of recurring overheating issues that raise concerns about the risk of a blown head gasket.

The engine’s performance relies heavily on the integrity of its head gaskets, which are crucial components responsible for maintaining a tight seal between the engine block and cylinder heads.

One of the telltale signs of a blown head gasket is overheating.

If your Can Am Defender experiences frequent overheating, it’s essential to address the problem promptly.

Ignoring such symptoms can lead to severe engine damage, putting your investment at risk and resulting in costly repairs.

If you suspect a blown head gasket, it is crucial to confirm the issue using a reliable test kit.

Identifying the problem accurately can save you time and money, as replacing the head gasket can be a labor-intensive and intricate process.

To ensure the longevity and performance of your Can Am Defender, it is essential to keep a close eye on its engine and promptly address any overheating issues.

Regular maintenance and diligent monitoring can prevent the risk of blowing a head gasket and extend the lifespan of your vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many miles can you get out of a Can-Am defender?

It can be inferred that a Can-Am defender can potentially achieve a mileage of 10,000-15,000 miles, given that proper care, upkeep, cleaning, and general use are ensured.

With such attention to maintenance and investment, the Can-Am Defender can last for many years and many thousands of miles, making it a durable and reliable vehicle choice.

Is a Can-Am defender better than a Polaris Ranger?

the Can-Am Defender appears to have several advantages over the Polaris Ranger.

The seats of the Can-Am Defender are more comfortable, allowing for longer hours of riding while harnessed in.

Additionally, the cab of the Can-Am Defender feels more spacious.

However, it’s important to note that this conclusion is drawn solely from the provided text and doesn’t encompass all aspects of both vehicles.

To make a more informed decision, it is recommended to consider a comprehensive comparison between the Can-Am Defender and the Polaris Ranger, taking into account various factors such as performance, features, pricing, and customer reviews.

Are Can-Am UTVS any good?

we can infer that a Can-Am Defender is likely to be a good ATV.

The statement mentions that “We’ve never been disappointed by a Can-Am,” and it includes the Can-Am Defender as one of the vehicles along with the Outlander ATV and Maverick Side x Side, describing them as “the definition of off-road excellence.”

This suggests that Can-Am vehicles, including the Defender, have a reputation for being excellent off-road vehicles.

However, to form a more comprehensive and precise answer, additional information and reviews specific to the Can-Am Defender model may be required.

How good is a Can-Am defender?

The Can-Am Defender seems to be highly regarded. People are impressed with its capabilities as a work machine and its performance on trails, even being compared favorably to a trail-loving crossover model.

This suggests that the Can-Am Defender is a reliable and powerful vehicle suitable for various terrains, making it a great choice for those seeking a versatile and efficient riding experience.

However, to get a more comprehensive understanding, it’s recommended to gather more user reviews and expert opinions.


In conclusion, the Can-Am Defender is a well-regarded and popular UTV known for its ability to handle various tasks with ease.

While it may face certain problems like overheating, heater issues, problematic starts, belt problems, and steering issues, proactive maintenance and timely solutions can help owners keep their Can-Am Defenders running smoothly and enjoy their off-roading and farm experiences to the fullest.

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