When you are an owner of a Can-Am, your vehicle can encounter problems. Some things may just make you slow down when you’re riding or be a minor inconvenience, and some might make your vehicle useless. Which is more or less what a starter problem does to your Can-Am.

If you are unable to start your Can-Am, there are a number of problems that could be causing that, something from an oil change to swapping out batteries could be the solution. But before acting hastily, a little diagnosis is best.

can-am starting problems

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1. Doesn’t Start In Gear

Is your Can-Am engine dying as soon as you engage into gear? This is a pretty common problem, and it will only take a little bit of fixing to get vehicle back to full health. This usually happens when you push in the shifter a little too hard, but poor maintenance can also be to blame.

This issue is often seen in the Can-Am Renegade lineup. Other than the Renegade, you can run into the same problem with other models as well. Most often the cause is the lack of maintenance.

The problem is caused by a loosened or bent linkage. This is usually the reason why the ATV cannot start in gear. The linkage can be simply adjusted by taking off the right side cover. If the linkage is beyond repair, which is highly unlikely, you should look toward replacing your linkage. However, this can be expensive depending on how intense the damage is.

If the damage is minimal, the repair procedure is simple, and you should be able to manage it by yourself. It should only cost about somewhere from $30 up to a $100. But if it is really bad up to the point that you can no longer repair it by yourself, the repair is going to be a bit costly when visiting a mechanic.

In this case, the shift linkage repair will cost somewhere from $300 to $500. So, depending on the damage, the repair procedure and the cost will significantly vary.

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

2. Bad Ignition Switch – Defender

A bad ignition switch can be pretty troublesome to fix unless you consider yourself handy with wiring. Usually, before you accuse your ignition switch, you would first want to check the voltage of electricity that the ignition switch actually receives from your battery.

If you are driving a Can-Am Defender, it is not uncommon that your starting problem is connected to a bad ignition switch.

The ignition switch is connected to the ECU, and it controls the electricity that is transferred from the battery to the ignition coils. Which produces enough heat to ignite the fuel and air mixture in your engine’s combustion chamber. Unfortunately, if your side-by-side is not starting when you try to push the ignition switch, you will have to check all the wires for loose connections and also the voltage output at various parts of your vehicle.

If you find that the wires are all connected properly and that enough current is flowing through them, you can point at the ignition switch as the culprit. Unfortunately, the Defender’s stock switch is known to fail at times. Where you will be needing to push the ignition switch about a dozen times before it starts. Even on a brand-new Defender, this problem is seen.

If this is what you are experiencing, you’ll need to switch to an aftermarket switch. Luckily, an ignition switch replacement only costs about $50 on average. Plus the replacement isn’t hard to do so you should be able to manage the replacement at home yourself.

3. Total Electrical Failure – Spyder and Ryker

As vehicles modernize, we are seeing more and more functions controlled by electrical components. Though they work fine most of the time, when they malfunction, getting them back in order is a challenge.

On some occasions, when an electrical failure occurs, you won’t be able to fire up your engine or your engine might shut down as soon as it fires up. It will turn off all functions like parking brakes, mode switching, and everything else, leaving you totally immobile. Often, when the ECU gets restarted, your engine might fire up again.

This is an especially common problem in the Spyder and Ryker models, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen on other models. The thing with this issue is that you will get totally unrelated warning lights and codes. This makes finding the solution much harder.

In this case, the problem itself is electrical. And yes, this is where it gets more frustrating. There are two things that could be the possible cause for the issue. First and foremost the one common in the Spyders and Rykers is a loose ground wire. It either happens when you do repairs or some even come out of the assembly line with a loose ground wire. The ground wire although seems tight enough at first needs to be tightened quite a bit more.

And sometimes they come loose, even on the brand new Spyders and Rykers. If you check out all the wiring you will eventually find it, but the thing is that it takes most owners a lot of time since no one would suspect the ground wire to be at fault.

The second possible issue, the one seen on all vehicles, would be that there is not enough voltage from the battery. This could either be from a bad battery itself, or it could be from a connection problem somewhere in the wiring. To find the source of the problem, you will need a multimeter and a lot of patience. As you will need to meticulously need to check the voltage in different parts of the wiring as it reaches out from the battery to other parts of your Can-Am.

4. Battery Dies At Low Temperatures

If you are living in cold conditions and often find that you have to take a crack at the ignition switch quite a few times to get your Can-Am started, this might be what you’re dealing with. At low temperatures, most of your electrical accessories will be compromised and including your battery.

This problem is not specific to any model, as every vehicle contains a battery. And the Can-Am battery just like any other battery starts to drain when temperatures get icy. You can find your battery dead after having your Can-Am stowed outside for a few days. And you’ll be needing to charge that battery more often during the cold season.

There are a few ways that you could tackle the issue. The most straightforward one is stowing your Can-am in a heated garage. Which should take out the battery draining. Or there are also more budget-friendly options, for example, you could get your Can-Am a block heater which will keep the insides of your vehicle nice and toasty all through winter. Having your Can-Am heated during the winter is also good for your battery health, since winter often leaves dead batteries in its way.

5. Starter Won’t Stop – Outlander

When your starter doesn’t work, it is obviously a problem. But a starter that doesn’t stop could even more problematic. Outlander owners have at times encountered this problem, where your starter keeps on working. Even if you turn on the kill switch it will keep on working and this puts many owners into panic mode.

Can-Am Starting Problems

As mentioned, this problem is commonly seen in the Outlander models of Can-Am. The only way owners have found to stop the starter from turning over is to cut the power from the battery entirely. There are two ways that this could happen. The more likely is because the rubber strap inside the Outlander holding the battery in place is not strong enough. It falls off the tray when you hit bumps in the road. And this can cause the positive terminal to come in contact with the solenoid bolt, which is right in front of the battery. A simple fix to keep it in place should fix it. Zip ties are a good and proven option by fellow Outlander owners.

The other less likely event that could have occurred is that the electricity could have arced from the solenoid to weld a few wires together. This could be giving the starter an uninterrupted flow of electricity to keep it turning even after you turn the kill switch.