Can a Snowmobile Go on Sand? Facts you must know.

Most people rejoice at the end of winter because the change in seasons heralds the arrival of longer, warmer days.

Now it’s summer, and you’ve decided to go sand dune riding. 

Your snowmobile is parked in the garage, waiting for snow, while you look at ATVs. Sounds great—except you’ll now have to spend more money and find more storage space. 

Is it possible to ride a snowmobile on sand? You can ride your snowmobile on the sand, yes. However, if you want to do so, you must make several changes to avoid permanent and irreversible damage. 

The radiator, bogie suspension, and idler wheels are among the modifications.

Those of us who rely on extreme sports to get us through the day will understand the devastation caused by a lack of snow on which to ride our snowmobiles. 

Imagine becoming enamoured with a hobby, only to discover you can only participate in it for a few months out of the year–you’d be disappointed, too, wouldn’t you?

We’ll show you how to sand proof your snowmobile so you can ride it all year.

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Can A Snowmobile Go On Sand?

The answer is yes!

Snowmobiles can operate on the sand and a variety of other non-snowy surfaces. For traction, you’ll need stronger idler wheels, new air filters, and a radiator with a fan.

In principle, a snow motorcycle could drive for a time in a desert/on sand without any changes/modifications. However, A liquid cooled track would overheat soon. An air-cooled trailer might also overheat, although not as quickly. Both motorcycles are seriously damaged by drivetrain.

These components keep the engine from overheating. However, vehicle damage and injuries from snowmobile misuse are still possible.

We’re sure you have more questions about snowmobiling on the sand, and we’re happy to answer them all. 

Make sure to make all of these changes, but keep in mind that there is still a chance of damaging your sled.

How to Ride a Snowmobile on Sand-Modifications for Riding on Sand

You can customise your snowmobile in a variety of ways.

So, if driving around the sand dunes at full speed has been a lifelong dream of yours, here are the steps you will need to take:

Set up Idler Wheels

Sliders are the parts of a snowmobile that are located on the underside. This is a hard-plastic strip that is attached to the rails to protect them from wear and tear while the vehicle is in use.

These are included to reduce the need for rail maintenance, which would be a more difficult task to change.

These sliders are built to perform admirably in snowy conditions. They should not, however, be used on rough, dry surfaces. Riding your snowmobile over rough, dry terrain without first modifying the sliders will result in disaster – severe damage.

What is the worst-case scenario? They’re going to melt.

To counteract this, remove the sliders and replace them with Idler Wheels. These wheels are ideal for giving your snowmobile a boost and reducing friction from the terrain you’re riding on.

They are small but extremely important.

Check out these Amazon idler wheels that we recommend: New Arctic Cat OEM Idler Wheel

After you’ve purchased your idler wheels, watch this video by an experienced snowmobiler. It may aid in the installation of your wheels: Idler Wheel Replacement for Snowmobiles

Include Bogie Suspension.

Your snowmobile’s current suspension system suspends the drive belt in one of two ways: retraction or extension. The drive belt is moved by side rails in either direction, and suspension arms are connected to both side rails.

Compression springs and shock absorbers are also included on the side rails, as well as a progressive spring assembly that should limit side rail contact.

Bogie suspension is more reliant on multi-leaf springs than progressive and compression springs. These multi-leaf springs aren’t very useful when riding on snow, but they’re lifesavers on dry land.

A bogie suspension system oscillates in a wide radius to determine the condition of the ground surface and then quickly adjust. Many snowmobilers who ride on sand say that a bogie suspension system makes the entire process incredibly smooth, especially when crossing dunes.

Add a Radiator and a Fan

Installing a radiator is one of the most important summertime modifications you can make to your snowmobile.

Because your heat exchangers are nearly useless without snow, the radiator will serve as your snowmobile’s cooling mechanism. Make sure your radiator system has a fan to keep the cool air flowing.

Each snowmobile requires only one radiator. Set it up under the hood of your sled, near the headlights.

The only exception is if your radiator is larger in size. In that case, you want it near the back of the tunnel of the sled.

Replace the Air Filters

Your snowmobile already has a specialised air filter with folds that allows for greater air filtration across the surface area.

The air filter also increases the volume of air within the engine chamber, allowing for more seamless combustion. This ensures that the engine performs optimally.

Debris and particles are also kept out by your filter.

Because snow is simply solid water, the only particles in it would be dirt, very small pebbles, and possibly some broken-up tree branches. Sand, on the other hand, is nothing more than a collection of particles.

Using the same air filter you use during the active snowmobiling season will most likely not suffice for summer riding.

What other non-snow surfaces can your snowmobile be used on?

Can you ride on sand as the sole non-snow terrain when you have modified the sled as outlined above? Not really! Some extra possibilities are here, which you may now take into account when using your sled in spring and summer.

On Icey-lake

If the ice is thick enough on a lake to sustain the snow motorcycle weight, drivers and passengers can do it. 

The difficulty arises when another motorhome enters the ice and gets too close to you and the ice splits and numerous drown and two motorhomes are in the bottom of the lake. 
Don’t trust ice under 16′′ for a motorcycle or for an ice fishing shack.

ON  grass

Is it possible to ride a snowmobile on grass? Yes, it is possible. While it is true that snowmobiles are designed to be used on snow, these motor sleds are also commonly used on trails and open fields to transport passengers. 

Because you’ve modified your sled for all-terrain riding, you shouldn’t have to worry about it overheating or grass clippings getting into the engine. 

Snowmobilers increasingly compete in drag races on grass and other non-winter-friendly surfaces rather than on snow.

ON water

Snowmobiles and water don’t mix, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying. A subset of sledders has taken up a hobby known as water skiing. What exactly is water skipping?

You’re not going to drive your snowmobile into the water because you’d sink right away. Instead, as the name implies, the goal is to skip your sled like a stone or perform some sick wheelies on the water’s surface.

This may appear to be impossible, but as this video demonstrates, it is not. To pull off the stunt, you’d need a lightweight snowmobile.

You’d also need to be an expert at sledding to get across the entire lake without sinking.

On the Road

Now that we’ve established that snowmobile can ride on grass with modifications – is it also possible to drive a motor sled on a public highway?

The answer is yes, however it’s important to know that there are approved snowmobiling areas in some sections of the country. This implies that you will not be able to cross the streets with your motor sled or in any other manner that you want. 

Being able to use your snowmobile throughout the year is a wonderful luxury, but it requires extensive research on the best equipment, suits, and even the best locations to use your sled. When it comes to snowmobiling, you should be informed of the laws in your state as well as the specified zones. 

Remember, Snowmobiling is prohibited on the majority of public roads and highways, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the rules if you plan to ride this vehicle elsewhere. 

Does Snowmobiling on Other Terrain Carry Any Risks?

Warranty WOULD BE void( if you make the Modifications)

If your motorcycle is new and still under warranty, it would most likely be impossible to guarantee with the addition of a radiator or the upgrade of the idler wheel.

Warranty protection doesn’t last forever, but you can also take advantage of the benefits it offers while you are active.

Unless you have a guarantee, if your snowmobile breaks down or sustains damage in the future, you can’t acquire free replacement components. You would need the parts to be ordered, paid for them, installed or hired someone.

You are Overheating of the engine

Aside from a flooded engine, the worst-case scenario is that your engine overheats. 

Yes, you installed a radiator and fan for this purpose, but these components don’t always keep the engine cool enough to keep it running all day while you’re out in the summer heat riding on pavement or sand.

You could sink your Snowmobile

While “skipping,” a snowmobile cannot change directions — it can only travel right. If a motorcycle isn’t over the open sea, it sinks. On the bottom of a lake or river it takes just a second when a motor snowmobile sinks.

Naturally, if you are driving a snowmobile, the best thing to do is to avoid driving it wherever it is possible to be open or thin ice. If you never dip into icy water, you and your snowmobile can get around better and happier.

Death and Injuries

We also cannot emphasise enough the risk of injury and death when snowmobiling on non-snow terrain. 

So, as they say on all the stunt shows, don’t try this at home….or on a lake near your home. Across the U.S. and Canada each winter about 50 people die from snowmobiles crashing and sinking into frigid waters( source)

You can skid on grass, misjudge the height of a dune and fall, or, as previously stated, sink your sled in water. 

The possibility of dying as a result of some of these injuries, particularly drowning, should be a sobering thought.

Internal Components That Have Been water clogged

This is the formulation of a snowmobile skip: to skip, every 150 lbs of vehicle must be at least 5 miles per day (or fraction thereof).

You can become a water skipper on your snowmobile, but when you ski, your sled goes in the water, even if that’s only a bit.

This is one of the things that you have to avoid at all expenses when sledding. Small bodies of frowned water have even been crossed.

What is the best way to store my snowmobile for the summer?

If the idea of using your motor sled during the off-season doesn’t appeal to you, here are some suggestions for preparing your cherished motor sled for summer storage:

Solvent stabilisers – A fuel stabiliser can help to limit the amount of solvent that evaporates during the combustion process. Fuel stabilisers help to keep your fuel fresh and ready for the upcoming winter season.

Clean Up Nicely – Before putting your snowmobile away, take the time to thoroughly clean it. Keep rust and dust at bay, and make sure to thoroughly clean out your machine before putting it into sleep for the winter months.

Change the oil – It is important to remember to change the oil in your snowmobile before the season finishes.
Make careful to fog the engine of your snowmobile before riding. What does it mean to “fog up” a snowmobile? For the engine to be protected against corrosion, it will require additional lubrication to be applied.

Store in a dry & secure location — Because location is so important, make sure you choose a dry, secure location for your snowmobile. Inspect your sled from top to bottom to ensure that it is safe.

Wrapping up!

So you’re ready to race across the desert dunes! What should you anticipate?

Prepare to feel like you’re driving an All-Terrain Vehicle – it’ll be a wild ride! If you’ve ever ridden a dirt bike off-road, you know what to expect: a lot of fun and a lot of adrenaline.

Snowmobiles can operate on sand, road, Icy lake, grass, and even water with some necessary modifications. Using your sled in this manner is likely to void the warranty, wear down the parts, and be more dangerous than riding it the old-fashioned way: on snow.

Why should we stop there? Take your snowmobile on as many different terrains as you can! Fly through sand, grass, concrete, mud, and water – whatever your heart desires.


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A blog site of family outdoor adventures, Sports including Golfing, skiing, surfing, running , plus gear reviews and Fitness by Manny and Div, offering tips and information, photos, gear reviews, and expert tips-planning advice on outdoor adventure & Fitness.

Manny Acharya & Div Acharya
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