Preparing your snowmobile before using it is a must. Among other things, one is often faced with the bewilderment of dealing with snowmobile windshields.
The ordeal of choosing the suitable material and repairing and installing the snowmobile windshields can be a jading task.
To ease it a bit for you, I have tried to jot down a few pointers on how you can work with your snowmobile windshields on your own.
Different Types of Snowmobile Windshields
There are primarily two kinds of windshields made of two materials: polycarbonate and acrylic. These two types of materials are used to make different types of snowmobile windshields.
The higher-end aftersales companies making OEM snowmobile windscreens are constructed of polycarbonate, the same material usually used on race cars.
Polycarbonate is sometimes also called Lexan. Acrylic is the cheaper material that is used to build aftermarket windshields.
The significant difference between both materials is that one is more brittle. It is very fragile and will easily shatter. It is only eight times stronger than untempered glass.
Compared to acrylic, polycarbonate is about 200 times stronger than the former. Even bulletproof windows are made of laminated layers of polycarbonate.
That is how much it can be relied on, and yes, your life can rely on the strength of polycarbonate.
There is an even better material than polycarbonate, beating standard polycarbonate and hand-coated polycarbonate.
Even though it is polycarbonate, it is ten times stronger than ordinary polycarbonate. Polycarbonate itself is more robust than acrylic; hand-coated polycarbonate is ten times stronger than the material already having the upper hand over acrylic, also known as Lucite.
A shinier appearance is acrylic than Lexan or polycarbonate. This can cause glare in sunny regions.
If you are prepping up to face flying gravel or go serious off-roading, you will most likely need the brute power only polycarbonate can provide.
Acrylic is cheaper than Polycarbonate but is more prone to cracking and yellowing, increasing its likelihood of breaking. It will still protect you from flying debris, but it is more likely to crack in the process.
Aquariums, storm windows, and hockey rinks are the most common uses for acrylic areas. Polycarbonate, on the other hand, is used in bulletproof glass, race car windshields, machine guard glass, and even to make laptops.
Acrylic or Lucite is a thermoplastic with a working temp of 180F continuous. It is easy to cut, and it is bent in heat.
The snowmobile windshields made of acrylic can be shined by polishing out smooth or buffed out and made to look nice and new over and over again. It is durable against scratches and, in most cases, dents. This is also a recyclable material.
Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic with a working temp of 240F continuous. It has low flammability and is also durable against chips and cracks.
Polycarbonate windshields are majorly resistant to acids and other chemicals like gasoline. It is cold-formed or can be bent without heating.
Polycarbonate snowmobile windshields are much more malleable and controllable in colder temperatures.
Polycarbonate gets yellow over time due to ultraviolet rays, mainly because you spend time under the sun.
If so, make sure you also devote sufficient time to take extra caution and keep your polycarbonate shield clean and up-to-date for life.
However, polycarbonate is much easier to work with on the brighter side and can be cut if needed.
Polycarbonate does not have many color options, while acrylic comes available in different color options to appease the riders.
Brands that are available in polycarbonate and acrylic are Arctic Cat, Ski-Doo, Polaris, etc.
New snowmobiles usually come with small windshields. Those are by default, and you can always upgrade to something a bit bigger than the small ones.
Small windshields are believed to be more aerodynamic, which is not true and is only a myth. In reality, a windshield helps deflect turbulent air and keeps your snowmobile going at speed.
A mid-height windshield is excellent for most riding experiences as they are known to deflect turbulent air up and over you directly.
These also keep you warm and usually come with side deflectors.
Then, tall snowmobile windshields help you deflect air the most. It keeps you way warmer than any other windshield of any height.
How to Repair Cracked Snowmobile Windshield
“A stitch at times saves nine.” This is what we have learned from the cracked snowmobile windshields.
Please do not put the repairing off for later, as every time you head out with a minor crack, it only gets more significant with the vibration that occurs while riding.
To repair a cracked windshield, you will see a seam with bonding, and if you don’t want the hem to be there, you will want to fuse the windshield back together with the help of methylene chloride.
Methylene chloride should be able to be bought relatively quickly off the internet. Fusing helps look for an almost invisible repair. Following are the steps that need to be followed:
At first, clean your snowmobile windshields squeaky with the help of warm soapy water and rinse them off well.
No scrubbing at all! It would help if you did not scrub your snowmobile windshields and must only use a soft cloth or any soft cleaning material in the direction of the polycarbonate grain.
Let the windshield dry on its own.
Get a syringe, and fill it with the methylene chloride in a highly ventilated area, preferably outdoors; if not, use extraction fans if you are in a closed room.
Inject some methylene chloride into the crack.
Put a little pressure on the two sides to initiate a bond. Do not use a load of force.
Then leave the methylene chloride to set for 48 hours. While doing this, you must not strain any part of the windshield; this can cause the bond to break off.
And now, you are ready to hit the snow again once the repair is done.
How to Install Snowmobile Windshields
First, gently remove the current windshield by pulling at the base to install the new windshield. Please keep it safe by storing it in an area where it won’t get scratched.
Usually, for additional support, larger windshields typically attach to the hood’s side. For such kinds, you need to remove the trim cover from each side of the hood and be sure to keep these safe.
Now all you need to do is position it with the posts at each rubber mount and press with your hand until you hear that click sound and feel that each has been attached securely.
You could even use a light coating of grease or petroleum jelly to make this even more accessible.
This makes a huge difference and can make the windshield more convenient and unrestricted.
Now, if you wish, you could attach the side deflectors or flares to the sides of the hood in the same manner. And you are done with the installation!
Now that you have customized, repaired, modified, and made your snowmobile all-new by installing and choosing the right windshield, you are ready to take your beast out.
With a good snowmobile comes the enormous responsibility of maintaining it. Maintaining them is the real task, and you need to be prompt in taking care of your vehicle.
And while there are a lot of gears that you maintain, snowmobile windshields absolutely can’t be ignored!
This is why we hope this article has been helpful to you.
Wishing you an excellent snowmobiling season!
Ride safe! Remember, all precious things last longer if you take proper care.