Can-Am Smart-Lok: What is it and how does it work?

The Can-Am Smart-Lok was first introduced in late 2017, in order to be available for the 2018 line up of ATV’s, and has truly raised the bar when it comes to front differentials.  If you’ve never heard of this awesome piece of technology, then get ready to be amazed. 

Smart-Lok ensures maximum traction and low speed maneuverability in the toughest type of terrain by giving you optimal power transfer to the ground in every condition by fully or progressively locking the front differential. It takes the worry of having to lock or unlock the front differential off of the driver, and allows them to focus on having a blast on the trail. 

The system can do all of this on the fly to give you traction when you need it most.  The brains of the system lie in the front differential which takes information from six key vehicle components. It analyzes front wheel speed from both sides, steering angle, accelerator pedal position, gear position, engine torque and vehicle speed.  On top of that, there are four different riding modes from which to choose. The mode, coupled with the information the system is receiving, will have the front differential locking as needed. This keeps the driver in firm control while maintain maximum momentum through the toughest terrain. 

Smart-Lok Modes

As I mentioned earlier, the driver has the option to select between four modes: 2×4, 4×4 fully locked, 4×4 TRAIL, and 4×4 ROCK or MUD. 

The 2×4 mode is going to be your standard mode that you might use to move the machine or driving it on a smooth terrain. The 4×4 fully locked mode will override all other functions, keeping the front differential fully locked until the driver decides to unlock it.  What is truly nice about this system, is your ability to lock and unlock the differential on the fly without having to stop. 

The next two modes are where the system really shines and earns the smart part of its name. The 4×4 TRAIL mode is more of a reactive system.  Meaning, if you are driving and the system identifies a difference in speed between the front wheels, it will start to engage wheel synchronization to try and mitigate wheel slippage. 

The last mode is the 4×4 ROCK or MUD, and you can select which mode better suits your needs at the time of purchase.  These modes don’t wait for the wheels to slip, but it actively prevents slipping from the time it is engaged.   These systems are similar but have slightly different parameters for when and how to engage the clutches in the front differential.

If you are in the market for a new machine and you are thinking this is something that piques your interest, here are some models from the 2021 line up you will want to check out. 

What Models come with Smart-Lok?

If you are looking for more of a work related UTV, you only have two options in the Defender line.  The X MR and MAX X MR are available in a ‘Mud’ variant which comes with Smart-Lok on it. 

The Maverick on the other hand, has a robust offering of ten different vehicles that come with Smart-Lok.  Those models are the: Maverick X3 X RC TURBO RR, Maverick X3 X MR TURBO, Maverick X3 X RC TURBO, Maverick X3 X MR TURBO RR, Maverick X3 X DS TURBO RR, Maverick X3 MAX X RS TURBO RR, Maverick X3 X RS TURBO RR, Maverick X3 MAX X DS TURBO RR, Maverick X3 X RS TURBO RR WITH SMART-SHOX, and the Maverick X3 MAX X RS TURBO RR WITH SMART-SHOX. 

The MAVERICK SPORT has three options that come with Smart-Lok.  Those models are the: MAVERICK SPORT X XC, MAVERICK SPORT X MR, and the MAVERICK SPORT X RC.

If you are not in the market for a new machine and already have one of the above listed machines, you do have the option to add the Smart-Lok feature to your UTV by replacing the front differential.

It is available to add to these models:  Maverick X3, Maverick X3 MAX, Defender, Defender MAX 2019 & prior, Maverick Trail, Maverick Sport, and the Maverick Sport MAX. You will have to buy the Smart-Lok differential kit, the installation kit for your mission, and which ever smart mode module you are looking to add.

Smart-Lok is an impressive piece of technology that can help a driver get the most out of his or her machine. So, if you’re looking to push yourself to the limit of flying through the trails, or are climbing through rocky conditions, Smart-Lok is sure to get you there!