Mahindra UTVs are built with a mixture of hard work and recreational ability in mind. Their powerful engines and heavy towing capacities make them capable of performing almost any task you throw at them, while their excellent ground clearance and ability to reach top speeds closer to some of the sportier UTV models make them a hit for those occasionally seeking a thrill.
Many owners consider these machines well-built enough to handle anything you throw at them without issue. Others voice complaints of some common Mahindra UTV problems that seem to be experienced in most models.
Mahindra UTV Problems
Per these owners, here are the most commonly experienced Mahindra UTV Problems.
- Excessive Cabin & Seat Heat
- Frozen Throttle Cable
- Gear Shifting Problems
- Brakes Squealing
- Engine Not Starting
- Engine Overheating
Read on for more detail on what causes each of these problems along with proven fixes.
Excessive Cabin & Seat Heat
One of the more common complaints with Mahindra UTVs is the heat from the radiator blowing into the cabin and heat from the engine warming the seats.
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 folks are most active with their UTVs.
There are a few potential solutions to these heat issues.
Remove the Doors
Removing the doors on each side of your Mahindra UTV can help to resolve the heat issue and is the simplest fix. This may not be ideal for some owners, but it will make a noticeable difference as the added airflow helps to disperse the heat in the cabin area faster. However, it has less of an effect on the issue of seat warmth.
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. They fit all Mahindra and Intimidator models and cut down the heat from these areas substantially.
To combat both the seat and cabin heat, you can purchase a heat shield online. There is one made specifically for Mahindra and 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 each heat shield only fits one row of seating.
If that price is a little much for your billfold’s liking, you can also rig up a heat shield on your own by combining a heat shield/sound deadening mat on Amazon with a sheet of aluminum. This combination will cut down the heat pretty substantially as well.
On top of minimizing cabin and seat heat, heat shields benefit occupants by muffling engine noise and dispersing cabin dust as well.
Frozen Throttle Cable
Going from hot to cold, in June of 2022 a recall was issued on Mahindra UTVs. This recall was issued in response to a number of 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:
|2015 – 2020
|2015 – 2020
|2015 – 2020
If you own one of these models, you should contact an authorized Intimidator or Mahindra dealer to have your vehicle fitted with an upgraded cable free of charge. Many owners have reported that Intimidator, who produced and offered the affected Mahindra models, is really putting its best foot forward in regards to fixing this flaw with the throttle cable – even sending mechanics hundreds of miles to repair vehicles as well as dealers ensuring the repair time is expedited.
Additionally, under the same recall and applying to the same models/years, Intimidator is making a free repair to the onboard software of Mahindra UTVs which is not preventing riders from exceeding 15 mph when the driver’s seatbelt is disengaged as it is intended to. This issue also poses a crash hazard and is covered under the recall as well.
Gear Shifting Problems
Many owners have reported the gears sticking or grinding in their Mahindra UTVs. If your gear shift tends to stick and not engage, or you experience a grinding noise when shifting into low or high gear, there is likely an issue with the shift linkage.
This problem generally occurs due to one or both of the lock nuts that hold the turnbuckle shift linkage in place vibrating loose, resulting in the shift linkage transferring to an incorrect position. You’ll need to readjust it back into place.
Locate the turnbuckle shift linkage within the engine bay. Using a wrench, hold the turnbuckle in place while using another wrench to loosen the two locking nuts on both ends as needed. Once fully loosened, rotate the turnbuckle counter clockwise shifting it to the left until it kicks into low gear.
You can then test it out by turning on the ignition switch and attempting to shift gears to ensure it’s in the correct position. The gear shift should not stick and the gears should not grind if the positioning is right. Once you’ve confirmed it to be in the correct position, tighten your locking nuts to hold it in place. If the issue persists, continue adjusting and testing as needed until you experience no more sticking or grinding.
One of the more annoying common issues found in Mahindra UTVs is a tendency for the brakes to squeal loudly. Surprisingly, this occurs even in newer machines, and can be noisy and embarrassing when out for a drive.
Squealing brakes seem to be exasperated by dry weather and driving in dusty settings. For folks in these settings, try hosing down your brake pads to clean them up a bit. You can also use soapy water to really wash them. This has been known to cut down or alleviate brake noise that is happening due to dust accumulation.
As this problem happens across all geographies, the main cause of the squealing doesn’t appear to be dust. It seems to lie in the fact that the Mahindra’s factory brake pads do not come pre-beveled. Brake pads without beveled edges are notorious for squealing, and not just in UTVs.
Nine times out of ten, beveling the edges of your brake pads will totally alleviate the squealing. You can do this on your own, but it will take some work.
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 the brake pads along with your sanity for future drives.
Engine Not Starting
If your Mahindra UTV will turn over but not start, or seems completely dead, one of the following is the most likely culprit:
- Starter Solenoid
- Spark Plugs
- Old Fuel
Start by inspecting the battery terminals. Ensure these are free of debris and corrosion, and give them a good cleaning. Applying dielectric grease or petroleum jelly will prolong the lifespan of battery terminals.
Next, check the grounding wires connected to the battery. These wires are often the cause of a no-start issue and will eliminate the headache of taking more complicated steps before realizing it’s a simple connection issue should this be the problem.
Be sure and check the ground under the battery that grounds to the frame. It has a tendency to come loose and prevent your starter solenoid from functioning correctly. This issue may disguise itself as a dead battery.
If there is only a clicking noise from under the hood when trying to fire up your Mahindra UTV, you may have a solenoid issue. First, check all of the connections on the solenoid to see if they may be loose. Even if they don’t seem loose, a best practice is to loosen and then retighten them before retrying to start your machine.
If there is no issue with the connections, you can perform a simple test of your solenoid by laying a screwdriver across the two large lugs and attempting to start the engine. If it starts up, you can be sure your solenoid is bad. Fortunately, this is an inexpensive and simple fix as you can purchase a new starter solenoid online for between $10 – $20.
The stock batteries in Mahindra UTVs are known for draining fairly quickly, especially if supporting added electronics. If you run added electronics to your battery, you’d be wise to invest in a more powerful one. Some owners have even added a second battery to route all additional wiring through.
Test the battery to ensure it’s getting 12+ volts. The fuel injection in the Mahindra UTVs is heavily reliant upon your battery getting at least 12 volts to function properly. If your battery is struggling, you can give it a charge and then test it again. If still not getting the recommended voltage, replace it.
Check your spark plugs to ensure they are not coated with a foreign substance such as fuel, oil, or coolant. You should also inspect the tips to ensure they do not look burnt or corroded which would indicate the need for replacement.
It should be noted that if you use your UTV for frequent short trips, such as a drive to the mailbox and back, you likely have a spark plug issue if you find that your engine won’t start. This type of driving can wreak havoc on spark plugs (as well as batteries), so inspect and replace both as needed.
If your vehicle has been sitting idle a while and now won’t start, you may have an issue with degraded fuel. Add a combination of Sea Foam Motor Oil and new fuel to your fuel tank in order to flush out any remnants.
The engines used in the Mahindra UTVs can be prone to overheating, which tends to occur for a few different reasons.
- Fan Switch
- Air Blockage in Coolant System
- Blown Head Gasket
Mahindra UTV engines are factory-set so the temperature sensor will not trigger the fan until reaching temperatures that are oftentimes too high for the engine to withstand, especially in warm weather. As such, the fan may not trigger in time to stop the engine from overheating.
To alleviate this, some owners have resorted to bypassing the need for the temperature sensor to automatically engage the fan switch in a couple of different ways.
Some have installed a toggle switch on their dash, which connects to wiring that runs between the actual wires of the temperature sensor and essentially bypasses it, enabling them to turn on the fan as needed with a flip of the switch.
Others have gone to the extent of rigging their machines so that the fan automatically engages and runs constantly whenever the engine is on.
Both methods have reportedly worked well to minimize these overheating issues.
Air Blockage In Coolant System
An air bubble blockage somewhere in your coolant system is another reason your Mahindra UTV may be overheating. How does an air bubble form?
Many times if the cooling fan is not triggering in time, your engine will overheat and allow air into the system. The air will usually find its way to the water pump, which won’t pump air. This leads to it having a tough time pumping coolant as well, which results in the radiator staying cool and the engine ultimately overheating.
Once air is in the system, your engine will not stop overheating until that air is burped out. To burp the air from the system of your UTV, follow the steps below.
- Raise the front end of your vehicle about a foot higher than the back end by parking on a hill or via a jack
- Ensure the engine is cold
- Remove any bleeder bolt from the radiator
- Remove radiator cap
- Fill it until coolant comes out of the bleeder
- Reinstall the bleeder bolt
- Continue filling radiator until it overflows
- You’ll need to repeat steps above for any overflow reservoir as well
- Start the engine and let idle – you’ll most likely see bubbles
- Once the bubbles stop, shut off engine and replenish coolant if necessary
- Repeat this process until you no longer see bubbles
- Reinstall radiator cap (and reservoir cap if applicable)
Your coolant system should be free of any air blockage at this point. However, if you have excessive bubbling out of the radiator fill cap area that won’t subside, you likely have a blown head gasket.
Blown Head Gasket
Any overheating the engine experiences puts your head gaskets at risk of blowing. And blown head gaskets will lead to recurring overheating. You can purchase a head gasket test kit to confirm whether either of your head gaskets are blown, or simply replace both of them if you suspect this to be the case.
While many of these issues can be avoided by taking proper preventative measures and following the recommended maintenance schedule, others are completely out of owners’ control.
An important consideration when it comes to Mahindra UTVs is the fact that there are not numerous official dealers who can assist owners with repairs depending upon your location. Your willingness and ability to be self reliant when troubleshooting issues, such as the common ones explored in this guide, should be top of mind if considering becoming an owner of one of these otherwise solid UTVs.