Can-Am introduced the Digitally Encoded Security System (DESS) to address the theft issue and add extra security for ATVs and SSVs to the existing alternatives for vehicle protection. The underlying idea is straightforward. Each “key,” as the name DESS suggests, contains a microchip. The Engine Control Unit (ECU) of the vehicle must “recognize” the chip to function properly.

In other words, the DESS Key has an RF chip with a special code that enables the rig to start when coupled with the ECU it has been programmed. The key also has a magnet that serves as the vehicle’s safety kill switch. Thus, it is not a mechanical device like a door lock, ignition switch, or standard key.

An authorized dealer must program or reprogram the key using licensed software, making it a highly effective anti-theft mechanism. Dealers can also tell whether a unit has been stolen, and they will only reprogram keys if several verification requirements are completed first. But, is it possible to bypass the Key?

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When Was It Introduced, and How Does It Work?

DESS first appeared in Ski-Doo snowmobile models in 1999. Before that, the rider was secured with a mechanical key and a tether rope connected to an engine-kill switch in case the rider lost control and fell off. The DESS integrated the two functions, serving as both a key and an emergency kill switch if the rider is ejected from the vehicle.

The physical contact between the microchip and the terminal in the original key/device worked like a regular key with a switch. The second-generation model now connects the device with the vehicle using radio frequency technology. This technique is much more reliable and does not require a “switch.”

One key can be used with many devices and programmed to have a maximum speed, removing the need to carry multiple keys. Can-Am is the only manufacturer using this technology, which will render the ATV or SSV practically worthless in the event of theft. Systems comparable to DESS keys are now used in the auto industry.

So, with the chip, it is possible to access the computer that powers the entire system. The key contains the chip. You will only get something to happen with the chip. Without the engine running, you cannot put the vehicle in neutral or bypass the system. So, there is no simple method to load it, push it away, or otherwise make it disappear. It is incredibly effective but not flawless, like any other security system.

What Are The Can-Am Key Built-In Features?

  • One vehicle – one DESS code
  • Cutting-edge anti-theft security
  • Vibration-resistant ball-and-socket design
  • Encrypted technology that prevents unauthorized access to your ignition system
  • A shock/vibration-resistant socket and ball design that ensures a reliable connection

Each Can-Am Off-Road vehicle comes with only one DESS key, but you can add more at any time, typically in different colors. Moreover, it is possible to reprogram the keys for younger riders or the spare keys:

  • The performance key enables complete performance
  • Defender models: Standard or normal key lowers torque by 10% and caps vehicle speed at 70 kph (44 mph).
  • Maverick Trail models: Standard key reduces torque by 50% and caps vehicle speed at 70 kph (44 mph).
  • The Work/Learning key lowers the top speed to 25 mph without affecting the engine torque.

Do you already have several DESS keys? Depending on your needs, you can get them reprogrammed whenever you need; just contact or go to your local Can-Am Off-Road dealer. The key that is programmed into the bike computer contains the code.

You can have more than one key or vehicle programmed. Consider the scenario where you have two Can-Ams but only one spare key. Depending on the dealer’s expertise or experience, you might have the dealer program all three keys for each bike. It prevents you from hastily grasping the incorrect key. Now, it makes no difference which key you use; you can proceed.

Also read: Can-Am Outlander Top Speed & Guide To Boost The Engine

Things to Consider Before Bypassing a Can-Am Key

It’s crucial that you be aware of the dangers of bypassing a Can-Am key before you begin. If you don’t take care, you can damage your rig and have to pay a lot of money to get it fixed. The basic actions you must take are listed below:

  • Cut off the vehicle’s battery
  • Take the ignition key out of the lock
  • Remove the steering column’s cover
  • Track down the black box and take it out of the column
  • Reattach the black box to the steering column and reconnect the battery
  • Reset the ignition by inserting the key and turning it to the “on” position.
  • Press the accelerator and brake pedals firmly while turning the key.

Also read: Can-Am Defender Top Speed & how to Boost the Engine

How to Bypass a Can-Am Key, A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Following this step-by-step guide, you can quickly learn how to circumvent a Can-Am Key. Verify this recommendation and abide by it as necessary.

  1. Find the Can-Am Key. Typically, the Can-Am key can be found on the dashboard or close to the steering wheel. Two buttons are visible on what appears to be a small, black plastic device.
  2. You have to connect the Can-Am key to an external device. Use a standard computer cable or a specialized adaptor to accomplish this. Ensure that the Can-Am key is safely linked to the device.
  3. Install a bypass application on the external device. There are numerous programs that are accessible online that you can use to get around the key. Ensure that you obtain the most recent version.
  4. Execute the bypass program. Run the program after downloading and installing, then adhere to the instructions. You should be able to avoid using the Can-Am key this way.
  5. Check the bypass. Test the bypass to ensure it operates as required after finishing it; if not, try the preceding step once more.

Also read: Can-Am Commander Top Speed & Guide to Boost the Engine!

Frequent Problems with Can-Am Key Bypassing and Solutions

When attempting to bypass their Can-Am key, there are a few frequent problems that users appear to encounter. Let’s look at potential remedies for these issues:

First, the bypass procedure might fail to function at all! Several factors may be to blame, including a malfunctioning bypass module, a bad connection, or damage to the bypass wiring. If this is the issue, you can only replace the bypass module or make the necessary wiring repairs.

After the bypass procedure is over, it’s also a common problem for the engine not to start. A poor connection or a defective bypass module is typically to blame for this. You must examine the connections and/or replace the module if this is the case.

Also, even if the engine starts, it won’t function correctly. Many issues, including low fuel levels, gasoline with water, or damage to the ignition system, may be to blame for this. If this is the issue, you must investigate the ignition system and repair any harm caused.

Also read: Can-Am Renegade Top Speed & Guide to boost the Engine

Alternative Techniques for Getting Around a Can-Am Key

Try using a bypass switch as a substitute for the Can-Am key if you’re seeking another option. To accomplish this, you must attach a ground wire to a switch that has been mounted on the back of your seat. Your rig can start without the ignition key being turned on.

Another option is installing a kill switch with a direct link or communication with the starting motor. In this manner, when you turn on the switch, the starter will turn on, and your engine will start. Just be sure to put it in an accessible location, so you won’t have to search around trying to find looking it every time you need to start your engine.

Last, you can try a universal keyed ignition switch if everything fails. As you will need to splice wires together and double-check that every connection is made correctly, this is a little more difficult, but it is still possible.

Also read: Can Am DS 250 Top Speed And How To Boost The Engine

See next video about the color of the keys and what it stands for.