Can Am Defender Problems: A Comprehensive Look at Common Issues

Off-roading enthusiasts, farmers, and adventure seekers across the globe appreciate the utility, durability, and adaptability of the Can-Am Defender utility task vehicles (UTVs). This versatile UTV lineup boasts impressive hauling and towing capacities, powerful yet quiet engines, and several customization options for a variety of terrains. However, as much as the Can-Am Defenders are celebrated for their strength and resilience, they are not without their share of problems. This post seeks to uncover some of the common Can-Am Defender issues that customers have reported over time. Being aware of these potential issues can help consumers make an informed choice while preparing you for any situation you might encounter with your Can-Am Defender.

Issues with Can-Am Defender

1. Excessive Heat from the Engine

One problem that Can-Am Defender users often report is excessive heat emanating from the engine, which can make the vehicle uncomfortable. This is especially noticeable when driving at slow speeds or over long periods. According to users, this heat sometimes also leads to the melting of certain plastic components near the engine.


Adding a heat shield or vents can at least partially solve the overheating issue. This can improve ventilation and redirect the heat away from the passenger area. Some users also suggest wrapping the exhaust with heat-insulating material. Remember, any modifications should be carried out by a qualified mechanic to ensure everything is installed correctly and safely.

2. Bolt Breakage

Another issue reported by Defender owners involves the shearing or breakage of certain important bolts. For instance, there have been reports of the A-arm bolts breaking, which is a significant safety concern. These bolts hold the vehicle’s suspension A-arms to the chassis, and their failure can lead to serious handling problems and even accidents.


You can replace the factory bolts with stronger, aftermarket ones that won’t shear off under heavy strain. A periodic inspection and tightening of all your vehicle’s bolts can also help prevent this issue.

3. Clutch Problems

Many Can-Am Defender owners report problems with the clutch, particularly with early models. The issues range from poor acceleration to the engine revving unusually high before the vehicle begins to move. This problem appears to be due to an issue with the primary clutch system.


Firstly, you can replace the worn-out clutch with a new OEM or aftermarket clutch. It’s also advisable to regularly service the clutch following the manufacturer’s guidelines to prolong its lifespan.

Comparsion Table of Common Problems and Solutions

Problem Solution
Excessive Heat from the Engine Adding heat shields or vents
Bolt Breakage Replacing with stronger, aftermarket bolts
Clutch Problems Replacing the worn-out clutch and regular servicing

Final words

In conclusion, no UTV is immune to issues, and the Can-Am Defender is no exception. Though it suffers from a few problems such as excessive engine heat, bolt breakages, and clutch problems, these issues can be remedied with a little bit of attention, routine care, and maintenance. As an owner or a potential buyer, being aware of these common issues will make it easier to know what to look out for and take the necessary precautions. After all, knowledge is power when it comes to the longevity and enjoyment of your Can-Am Defender. Whether you’re a farmer, hunter, or off-road adventure enthusiast, the Can-Am Defender’s unmatched performance and rugged reliability easily outweigh these minor drawbacks.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is considered a lot of miles on a Can-Am Defender?

The number of miles considered a lot for a Can-Am Defender can vary depending on various factors such as maintenance, terrain, and usage. However, generally, anything above 10,000 miles may be considered high mileage for a Can-Am Defender.

2. Is a Polaris Ranger better than a Can-Am Defender?

Comparing the Polaris Ranger and Can-Am Defender depends on individual preferences and specific needs. Both brands offer a range of models with different features and capabilities. It is recommended to test drive both models and consider factors like power, suspension, cargo capacity, and terrain suitability to determine which one suits you best.

3. Who makes the Can-Am Defender engine?

The Can-Am Defender engine is manufactured by BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products). BRP is a renowned company known for producing quality engines and powersports vehicles.

4. How can I keep dust out of my Can-Am Defender?

To keep dust out of your Can-Am Defender, you can take several preventive measures. Firstly, make sure the doors and windows are securely closed. Additionally, consider installing dust seals or weather stripping around the openings to create a tighter seal. Regularly cleaning the air filters and using a dust-resistant spray can also help prevent dust from entering the cabin.

Note: Here are a few more frequently asked questions regarding common problems with Can-Am Defenders:

5. Why is my Can-Am Defender overheating?

There could be several reasons why your Can-Am Defender is overheating. Some common causes include a malfunctioning thermostat, low coolant levels, a faulty water pump, a clogged radiator, or a problem with the cooling fan. It is recommended to have a professional inspect and diagnose the issue to ensure proper repair.

6. How can I fix the electrical issues in my Can-Am Defender?

If you are experiencing electrical issues with your Can-Am Defender, it is recommended to check the battery connections, fuses, and wiring for any loose or damaged components. If the issue persists, it is best to consult with a qualified mechanic or contact the Can-Am customer support for further assistance.

7. What should I do if my Can-Am Defender won’t start?

If your Can-Am Defender refuses to start, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take. Firstly, ensure that the battery is properly charged and the connections are secure. Check the fuel level and make sure the fuel pump is functioning correctly. Additionally, inspect the spark plugs for wear and tear. If the problem persists, consider consulting a professional technician for a thorough diagnosis.

8. Why is my Can-Am Defender experiencing steering problems?

Steering problems in a Can-Am Defender can arise due to various reasons. Low power steering fluid, worn-out steering components, wheel misalignment, or damaged power steering pumps are common causes. It is advisable to have a qualified mechanic inspect the steering system to identify and resolve the specific issue.

9. How can I improve the suspension on my Can-Am Defender?

If you feel the need to enhance the suspension performance of your Can-Am Defender, you can consider options such as upgrading the shocks, adding aftermarket suspension components, or adjusting the existing suspension settings. However, it is important to note that modifying the suspension may impact the vehicle’s warranty, so it is recommended to consult with authorized dealers or professionals for advice and suitable options.

10. What should I do if my Can-Am Defender’s transmission is slipping?

If your Can-Am Defender experiences slipping transmission, it is crucial to address the issue promptly to avoid further damage. Start by checking the transmission fluid level and condition. If the fluid is low or shows signs of degradation, it may be necessary to replace or top it up. However, if the problem persists, it is advisable to consult with a qualified mechanic or contact Can-Am customer support for further assistance and professional diagnosis.

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