Can-Ams are usually the most reliable side-by-sides around, but even they can’t be totally safe from overheating problems. If you have a Can-Am that is overheating excessively, then you might have done some troubleshooting and gotten through most of the common problems. And if that hasn’t solved anything yet. Then you should probably keep reading.

Also read: Are Can-Ams Reliable, Check Your Model Here!

can-am overheating

Join our free Facebook group and ask your question there. We promise you, you’ll get an answer from one of our team members or group members. Join the group here!

Falling Into Limp Mode – Can-Am Spyder

Limp mode is where your engine performance drops significantly to keep your engine from overheating. Since the amount of power produced and the fuel burned is decreased, your engine temperature will slowly start to decrease once your engine falls into limp mode. Limp mode is a kind of defense mechanism to avoid engine overheating.

Though it can be frustrating when your engine falls into limp mode, this feature ends up saving your engine from major damage. If your engine continues to run at its maximum capability when it heats up, a seized or blown engine is bound to happen.

This problem is often seen in brand new Can-Ams as the machine rolls right out of the factory floor. If you buy a brand new Spyder, and it starts overheating just hours into riding it, of course, you’re going to be angry and pissed off. But this issue is actually quite commonly encountered with the Can-Am Spyders. Since the parts inside the engine are fitted up really nice and tight. The friction is immense, which means your side-by-side will be cooking just after a few minutes of riding.

As Can-Am’s Spyder operator guide suggests, during the first 1000 miles avoid prolonged riding and avoid full-throttle acceleration. If this is what you’re encountering when you ride. You have two options, either do what Can-Am says or get extra cooling resources, so you can have fun riding.

The better option would be to take it easy on the throttle for the first 1000 miles. This should allow the rough edges of your engine to smoothen out and work just fine.

Bad Thermostat – Can-Am Outlander

A bad thermostat or a temperature sensor is somewhat a common cause of engine overheating on many UTVs. There are many reasons why your thermostat might fail, but often it comes down to age. There isn’t a lot you can do once your thermostat fails other than to replace it.

As the thermostat is supposed to provide information about the engine heat to the ECU, without it, your ECU won’t know when your engine overheats. And as the ECU controls the cooling fan, without the data from the thermostat, your cooling fan won’t kick in. This is why thermostat failures result in engine overheating.

Though thermostat issues are common to all vehicles, Can-Am Outlanders and notorious when it comes to thermostat failures. To an extent, that owners look towards aftermarket thermostats soon as they purchase the Outlander. This issue in the Outlander comes down to the bad quality of the thermostat used in the machine.

So, how do you catch a bad thermostat? The easiest way is for you to whether your engine temperature turns up when you keep your side-by-side left idle for a while. If your thermostat is sending false readings, you might find that your Outlander goes into limp mode quite often, even when the engine is working at optimal temperature. So, you’d have to restart your ride to get it out of limp mode regularly.

If your thermostat fails altogether, your cooling fan will fail to kick in when needed. This would also result in your engine overheating.

For this, the best option would be to get your thermostat replaced.  This would cost anywhere between $80 and $450, depending on labor costs and the thermostat you choose. Or you can bypass the thermostat altogether and get your fan to work through a switch that can be operated manually.

Bad Gauge – Can-Am Outlander

The new and improved gauges that are outfitted for Can-Ams riding are known to fail under extreme temperatures. These can also contribute to engine overheating as they come with a pre-fitted built-in coolant temperature gauge. And in some Can-Am models, the gauge is also connected to the thermostat. This means a failure here could stop your fan from working, which would directly result in overheating.

“So I upgraded my gauge to the XTP gauge on a 2012 1000 XT. As soon as I powered up the new gauge, I had a message come up saying… DPS Overheat Check DPS. I never had this message before and the DPS is working fine.

I took the machine to the dealer to pair the new gauge with the machine. I thought this would clear the error. But it didn’t!! The dealer is stumped. I know there are a lot of issues talked about the DPS overheating, but I don’t think there is an issue with the actual unit because I wasn’t driving (can’t be hot) and I heard other people had the same issue when they upgraded their gauge.”

The Can-Am Outlanders are the main victims because of the new XT-P gauges made for the Outlander. This also has a known record for not giving off codes when your Can-Am Outlander starts overheating. Making it very difficult both for you and your dealer to find out why your Outlander is overheating.

It is also not uncommon for you to experience bogus overheating messages when there is no real problem or when the problem is really elsewhere. With false codes, you could end up searching for a problem that doesn’t exist.

The solution, as many Outlander owners have tried and tested, is to get your local dealer to update and reprogram your gauge. In many cases, this has resolved the problem entirely and returned their vehicles to regular functions. The problem could also be with wiring as well, so check for that before you take your Can-Am to the dealer. 

Ineffective Cooling Fan – Can-AM Renegade

If you ride out in the midday heat, you’re bound to make your Can-Am run a little hot. But that’s natural and your Can-Am cooling system will manage this. Even if your coolant can’t manage the hot engine, your battery will pitch in by turning on the cooling fan. And in hot conditions, running full-time with the cooling fan on is not uncommon.

can-am overheating

But sometimes when the battery diverts power to the fan, things can get a little ugly. On some occasions, there are cases where enough power doesn’t get to the fan to cool your engine down. Which will instantly put you in limp mode, forcing you to go back home. And sometimes you will experience sputtering and stalling.

In the Can-Am Renegade, there are multiple accounts of owners saying that their renegade is overheating and sputtering or stalling just after about 40 minutes of riding. Although many check for corrosion, faulty arrays, and disconnected wires to no avail. The cause of this problem seems to be something quite unexpected.

The Renegade’s battery is partially to blame. When your vehicle starts heating up to a set temperature, normally your cooling fan would start to work. This is when your engine would gradually go back to its regular temperatures.

But in the Renegade, it seems that when the voltage of the battery is also diverted to the cooling fan, all other electrical components suffer from low voltage. This makes the cooling fan unable to work properly. And has other effects as well, such as, dimming the lights and also making the fuel pump ineffective. This is what leads to the sputtering and stalling.

The surefire solution would be to replace your stock OEM Renegade battery with an aftermarket battery with more power output. Remember, sometimes a bigger battery will mean you’ll need to make some alterations to your vehicle. So having the help of a professional is not a bad idea.


The Can-Ams aren’t big on overheating and with a little elbow grease and improvisation, you can get through any type of problem. If you do seem to be stuck with something, there are plenty of experts out there that wouldn’t mind giving you a helping hand. But most of the time the repairs are simple enough that you can manage by yourself.