And reading a review of the good and bad of Intimidators, they tend to live up to the American-made distinction of being built to last.
But for anyone who thinks these machines are bulletproof simply because they’re made in the good ol’ USA, think again.
Intimidator UTVs are known to be prone to seven common problems, that while not deal breakers, can be pretty frustrating as an owner:
- Frozen throttle cable recall
- Excessive cab and seat heat
- Faulty radiator fan causes engine overheating
- Stock brake pads cause constant squeaking
- Oil leaks
- Extreme engine noise
- Roof rattling
This guide will take a detailed look at the usual causes for each of these issues, along with proven fixes.
Frozen Throttle Cable
In June of 2022, around 16,000 Intimidator and Mahindra units were recalled.
This recall was issued in response to almost 400 reported incidents involving the throttle cable retaining moisture and then freezing in low temperatures, resulting in a stuck throttle that could cause the brakes to fail to stop the vehicle, posing a crash hazard.
Here is a list of the specific models and years affected and covered under the recall:
|2018 – 2022
|2013 – 2022
|2015 – 2018
|2013 – 2022
|2015 – 2020
|2015 – 2020
|2015 – 2020
If you own one of these UTVs, you should contact an authorized Intimidator and Mahindra dealer to have your vehicle fitted with an upgraded cable free of charge.
Many owners have reported that Intimidator has really stepped up to the plate in order to rectify the issue with the throttle cable, even sending mechanics hundreds of miles to repair vehicles as well as dealers ensuring these repairs are made rather quickly.
Any new models purchased after June of 2022 are said to have been fitted with the upgraded cable to prevent this issue and should be fine.
On a separate note, but under the same recall and applying to the same models/years, Intimidator is making a free repair to the onboard software of the vehicle which is not preventing riders from exceeding 15 mph when the seatbelt is disengaged as it is intended to.
This is said to pose a crash hazard and can be fixed as well.
Excessive Cab & Seat Heat
One of the more common complaints about Intimidator UTVs is the heat from the radiator blowing into the cabin and heat from the engine warming the seats to an uncomfortable degree.
The cabin heat happens due to the radiator venting under the dash, which blows warm/hot air out through the driver side footwell directly onto the feet and legs of the driver.
The heat also flows from spaces around the steering column and gear shift.
The heat affecting the seats generally blows up from behind and between the seats, but also warms the seats from the underside.
Both the cab and the seat heat can be incredibly uncomfortable, especially during the warmer months when you’re most often out driving your Intimidator.
There are a few potential partial solutions to these heat issues.
To combat the heat in the cabin, Intimidator created two factory boot solutions that fit over both the space in the steering column and the space around the gearshift.
Both of these boots look fairly native to the machine and aren’t eye popping.
Remove the Doors
Removing the doors on each side of your Intimidator UTV can help to resolve the heat issue as well.
This is not ideal, but it will make a noticeable difference as the added airflow helps to disperse the heat from the cab.
To combat both the seat and cabin heat, you can purchase a heat shield online.
There is one made specifically for Intimidator UTVS by Benson Ace/Benson Power that fits under your seat cushions and cuts out the heat by around 75%.
These can be purchased for $250, but keep in mind they only fit one row of seating.
If that price is a little too rich for your blood, you can also rig up a heat shield on your own by way of a heat shield from Amazon or a sheet of aluminum from somewhere like your local welding shop.
Faulty Radiator Fan Causes Engine Overheating
Staying on the topic of heat, many owners have had issues with the engines in their Intimidator UTV overheating.
This is most often caused by faulty radiator fans that were used in some models before 2022, but can also occur for a couple other common reasons:
- Air Blockage in Coolant System
- Blown Head Gasket
Causes & Fixes
Faulty Radiator Fan
Quite a number of owners have dealt with a faulty radiator fan in their Intimidator UTVs, generally in years pre-dating 2022.
The radiator fans were known to give out randomly while riding, leading to the engine reaching temps of 220+ degrees and overheating pretty quickly.
This issue was caused by the brushes in the fan motor getting hung up and needing to be removed and repaired.
Intimidator was aware this was an issue, and many owners whose fans went out were able to have them replaced for free, even if not still under warranty.
Intimidator is said to have fixed this with a new radiator fan unit that’s installed in new models and no longer suffers from this issue.
Airlock In Coolant System
Another common cause of overheating is airlock from an air bubble forming your coolant system.
An air bubble can form any time your engine is close to overheating, and will usually lead to the water pump not being able to pump coolant as it should.
This will lead to overheating, and those who climb regularly in their Intimidators are more prone to it.
When this happens, your Intimidator engine will continue overheating until the air is bled from the system and coolant can be pumped freely again.
Blown Head Gasket
Your head gaskets are at risk of blowing any time your engine overheats. And to make this a fun cycle, a blown head gasket will then lead to recurring overheating.
You can test your head gaskets or just go ahead and replace them if you think this is your issue.
Stock Brake Pads Causing Squeaking
Another of the most common issues experienced with Intimidator UTVs is for the brakes to squeal loudly.
This happens even on newer machines, and can be incredibly annoying and embarrassing if driving around the neighborhood.
Causes & Fixes
Squeaking brakes seem to be exasperated by dry weather and driving in dusty settings. If this sounds like you, try hosing down your brake pads to clean them up a bit.
You can also use soapy water to really clean them up. This has been known to cut down or alleviate squeaking in some instances.
But the main issue seems to lie in the fact that Intimidator’s factory brake pads do not come pre-beveled. Brake pads without beveled edges are notorious for squeaking, and not just in UTVs.
Nine times out of ten, beveling the edges of your brake pads will totally alleviate the squeaking.
You can do this on your own, but it will take some work. If this issue bothers you as much as it does many other owners, it may be well worth it.
To bevel the edges of your brake pads, you’ll need to remove your brake pads from your machine.
Using a metal file, file down each pointed edge of the brake pad into a sloped (or beveled) edge rather than a perpendicular one. Reinstall your brake pads.
Oil leaks seem to be a frequent occurrence with Intimidator UTVs. A number of owners report noticing the distinct smell of oil within the first few minutes of a drive.
Although the smell will usually dissipate shortly thereafter, this is a sign of an oil leak – most likely due to leaking valve covers.
To shore up your valve covers and stop these oil leaks, you can follow steps below.
- Remove the valve cover and gasket. Using brake cleaner, clean the cover, gasket, and mating surfaces. Ensure you do not spray into the open cylinder head. Spray cleaner on a rag and wipe down the mating surface on the engine side as well.
- Squeeze a drop of RTV Gasket Maker into the groove of the valve cover.
- Install the valve cover gasket in the groove with the RTV Gasket Maker still wet. Some of it should ooze out as you do.
- The main problem area is the gap in the groove in the area around the spark plug. Smooth this area out and build it up.
- Apply some of the excess RTV on the face of the gasket that will be mating with the cylinder head/engine side.
- Reinstall the cover on the gasket, ensuring a torque or snugness of 95 in-lbs in a criss-cross pattern.
You do not need to use a new gasket for this process. Following these steps correctly should shore up your gasket covers and stop them from leaking oil.
Extreme Engine Noise
Unless you’re riding around in the Intimidator Classic EV, which is one of the best electric UTVs out there, the engines in Intimidator gas-powered UTVs are known to be extremely loud.
So loud that when you’re accelerating or at a decent rate of speed, you’ll have a hard time hearing your passenger.
The engine noise in the cab area also makes a kind of “droning” sound that’s not exactly easy on the ears.
While there’s no way to fix the engine noise itself, you can muffle it in the cab area, which makes a big difference.
Simply purchasing some soundproofing mats and installing them under the seats should reduce the engine noise in the cab enough that you can have a conversation while out riding.
You may also want to install portions of these mats on the doors or under the roof, which will help to muffle the noise as well.
Depending on the Intimidator model you have, some come with a pre-installed hard top roof. And many used models will be outfitted with an aftermarket roof as well.
In either scenario, the roofs on Intimidator’s line of UTVs are known to rattle while driving, which can be pretty annoying to listen to.
This rattling is usually a result of the roof impacting the roll bar that it connects to.
Fortunately, there’s a pretty simple and inexpensive fix that can take care of most of this rattling.
Installing foam weather stripping between the roll cage and the roof will pretty much eliminate the roof rattling.
You can also simply cut in half a pool noodle and install that on top of the roll bar directly under where the roof attaches to it.
Whatever you use, be sure to install some of it in the center of the roof frame and roll bar, as that’s one of the more problematic areas.
While Intimidator UTVs are about as tough and long-lasting as they come, they do suffer from a number of common problems that annoy owners.
Even so, they make for excellent values at their price points, especially considering they’re made in the USA.
And any line of UTVs will have issues and drawbacks, as evidenced in the guides below: