5 Common Can-Am DS 90 Problems & How To Overcome Them

Affiliate Disclosure:
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my site.

For parents looking to give their youngsters a first taste of off-roading fun, there are some great youth four-wheelers available.

The Can Am DS 90 is one of these, and it competes with other youth models like the Yamaha Raptor 90 and the Polaris Predator 90.

The DS 90 finds a nice middle ground between safety and fun for young riders, but it does suffer from a number of common problems that drive parents up the wall.

The five most common Can-Am DS 90 problems include:

  • Cold starting issues
  • Stock carburetor causing running issues
  • Starter and starter gears known to fail
  • Lack of overall speed and power
  • No-start issues

This guide will detail each problem along with some proven ways to overcome them.

Cold Start Issues

The Can-Am DS 90 is known for being cold blooded and tough to start in cold weather.

When temperatures are low, the machine won’t start without the choke and will need at least five minutes before it can be throttled without the choke or it stalls out.  

This cold starting issue is usually a sign of a problem with the carburetor, and is common on other youth models like the Yamaha Raptor 125 and Kayo Fox 70 as well.

The stock carburetor has a tendency to gum up and clog over time for a variety of reasons, with the pilot jets located within the carburetor being particularly prone to this. 

When these pilot jets get clogged, your quad may start and idle but have issues making the transition to higher speed when you throttle.


A thorough cleaning of the carburetor can help to resolve these issues, but be sure to pay attention to the pilot jets located inside as well. 

In order to extensively clean the carburetor, you’ll need to first remove it from your quad and disassemble it.

Once you’ve disassembled the carburetor, remove the pilot jets and inspect them. 

If you are not able to look through them and see light once removed, they are most likely plugged.  Use a fine wire to unplug them, then spray through them with WD-40 Carb Cleaner afterwards. 

While unclogging these jets and cleaning the carburetor should help with the cold start issues, the stock carburetor also causes a flood of other issues and may need to be replaced.

Carburetor Issues

Aside from cold start issues, the stock carburetor in the Can-Am DS 90 is known to cause rough idling, stalling, and poor acceleration. 

This can happen regardless of whether or not the carburetor or pilot jets are clogged, and is very similar to one of the main problems with the Kayo Fox 70 youth four wheeler as well.


The easiest solution is to replace the stock carburetor with an upgraded unit. 

There are a number of different replacement carbs available online for purchase depending on the model, with the most recommended being the PZ19 ATV carburetor, which fits the Can-Am DS 90. 

Fortunately, this replacement carb only costs around $20 and is simple enough to be installed by the owner.

Starter and Starter Gears Failing

The stock starter in the Can-Am DS 90 is not known for its quality and has a tendency to kick out alignment and stop engaging as it should. 

This leads to a number of broken teeth on the starter and starter gears.


It is recommended that owners proactively upgrade to a more high quality starter and starter gear to prevent this from happening and potentially cracking the starter case cover or harming the motor.

Lack of Speed and Power

The Can-Am DS 90 comes installed with speed limiters as a safety precaution. 

Though well-intentioned, this leaves younger riders only able to reach speeds of around 20 to 25 mph. 

This makes it hard to keep up with older riders when trail riding and can lead to younger riders becoming bored with the machine.

Additionally, as this model is designed for younger riders, they tend to outgrow these models from both a physical standpoint and ability standpoint within a couple of years.

If you think this may be a problem for your kiddo, maybe give slightly bigger models like the Polaris Phoenix 200 or the Kayo Bull 200 a look.


Owners can overcome this lack of speed by making some modifications to the machine if they wish. 

A bigger front sprocket will increase the speed of the ATV, but will also decrease the acceleration just a bit. 

Most owners choose to install a power up kit that serves to upgrade the intake, exhaust, CDI, clutch system, and carburetor jets. 

Doing this will have the DS 90 hitting upwards of 40 mph.

Starting Trouble

With many DS 90 models being older, starting problems are another common issue you may run into.

If you’re like many owners and find that one day your Can-Am DS 90 shows no signs of life, it’s likely an issue with one of the following.

  • Terminals Or Wiring
  • Battery
  • Valves
  • Spark Plugs

Terminals Or Wiring

The best place to start (no pun intended) if you have a no-start problem is with inspecting the battery terminals.

The battery terminals are known to corrode over time or become clogged with debris, so clean them up even if they don’t seem to need it.

Throw on some dielectric terminal grease after cleaning them, which will make them last longer and prevent no-start issues.

The ground wires connecting the battery should be your next inspection, as they are known to rattle loose occasionally and cause a no-start issue.


The stock batteries in these little youth ATVs will drain on you pretty quickly, especially if your DS 90 tends to sit for a while between uses.

Test your battery to ensure it’s getting the needed 12 volts, and recharge it or replace it if not.

Hooking up your battery to the Battery Tender Plus while not in use will keep it from draining and dying in between rides.


The exhaust and intake valves are also a common cause of starting problems with the DS 90.

These valves can loosen or tighten too much and affect your valve clearance to the point where there’s not enough compression to start the engine.

Be sure your valve clearances are set to the recommended settings in the owner’s manual.

Spark Plug

The spark plug is another component that will cause a no-start issue, so you should check it as well.

If the tip appears burnt, that signals that your spark plug is probably fouled which means it can’t properly provide the spark needed for the engine to fire.

Replace it with an iridium spark plug if needed.


While the Can Am DS 90 makes for a pretty solid overall youth ATV model, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks in the form of five issues that seem to recur in these models.

For a look at a slightly bigger and more powerful model, check out a review of the Polaris Outlaw 110 before you go.