If you are looking for a snowmobile, you must’ve come across the term power steering. Now you are wondering, “do snowmobiles have power steering?” or “how does snowmobile steering work?”
Let’s dive deep into these questions and have a look.
Do snowmobiles have power steering?
Snowmobiles mostly do not have power steering. Yamaha is the only manufacturer with a wide selection of power-assisted snowmobiles for mass consumers. There are also some snowmobiles with power steering from other brands. But these are primarily racing-focused.
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Unlike ATVs and Cars, most snowmobiles do not feature the power steering option. However, there are a few snowmobiles that have the power steering feature.
You can opt for a power steering kit for your snowmobile. Or you can buy from one of the few snowmobiles with power steering.
Do new snowmobiles have power steering?
Power steering is an excellent addition to snowmobile technologies. However, most manufacturers do not provide a power steering system with their snowmobiles. Most of the latest snowmobiles do not have that feature.
At present, most consumer-grade snowmobiles do not have a power steering feature. But most brands provide power steering systems to their racing snowmobiles. However, there are a few consumer-grade snowmobiles available with power steering.
Consumer-grade snowmobiles are lighter and have weaker engines compared to racing snowmobiles. Hence, to avoid the added weight of a power steering system, most manufacturers do not provide them.
Do Yamaha snowmobiles have power steering?
Unlike most brands, Yamaha provides power steering to a number of their snowmobiles. They are the ones who pioneered power steering in their snowmobiles.
There is a wide range of models from Yamaha that provides power steering. These models include both racing snowmobiles and consumer-grade ones.
Do Ski-Doo snowmobiles have power steering?
Ski-Doo, another brand that manufactures snowmobiles, does not have power steering in most of its models. They do not produce any consumer-grade models with power steering. However, they have racing snowmobiles that have this feature.
What is power steering?
A power steering is an external power-assisted steering mechanism. Instead of relying on the driver’s raw strength, external sources like hydraulics or electricity provide power. This mechanism saves both effort and energy.
In a conventional steering system, the driver uses their strength and effort to steer the vehicle. In contrast, in a power steering system, the main components remain the same. Still, the energy comes from the electrical motor or hydraulic pumps.
Based on the source of power, usually, power steering is of two categories. One is Hydraulic Power Steering (HPS), and the other is Electric Power Sterling (EPS). Another type of power steering is hybrid power steering, where hydraulic pumps run by electricity.
HPS is comparatively an older system. Here, hydraulic pressure assists the steering. This system runs on hydraulic pumps and hydraulic fluids.
An EPS, on the other hand, is a newer mechanism. It relies on electrical motors to assist the steering. A set of computer sensors control the motors.
Benefits of power steering snowmobile
You should choose your snowmobile with or without power steering based on your needs. However, there are some added benefits of a model with power steering. Let’s see some of the benefits of having power steering.
Reduces effort needed to steer
This system is a power-assisted mechanism. That is why you can steer with minimum effort. You’ll need very little energy to drive. Thus, it saves your efforts.
When the terrain is rough, or you need to make sharper turns, it takes much energy to steer using manual steering. The power-assisted mechanism of power steering makes it easier to drive.
Helps to drive with heavy load-out
Whenever you carry a heavier load-out, it’ll become difficult to steer with all that extra weights. Having power steering will help you navigate efficiently and smoothly. It will also give you proper control while carrying heavy load-outs.
It saves your hand from fatigue.
Every once in a while, you might need to take long drives with your snowmobile. And if you have a traditional manual steering system, your hands will get very tired at the end of the day.
Having power steering will save your hands from such fatigue. They will save a lot of muscle work and keep your hand less weary.
Decrease the kickback force on rough terrain
Your snowmobile usually goes through a lot of rough snowy terrains. The amount of kickback force may sometimes damage your hands. Having power steering will reduce the kickback force and protect your hands.
Power steering absorbs the feedback from the trail and reduces them. Thus, your arms remain protected from any kickback force.
Which snowmobiles have power steering?
Power steering is not very common in the snowmobile market. Most manufacturers do not produce snowmobiles with power steering. Yamaha is the only brand to provide a wide range of options.
Let’s have a look at some of the snowmobiles that have power steering.
Yamaha has various snowmobiles with power steering. They range from performance to touring snowmobiles as well as trail-type snowmobiles.
Yamaha Apex SE, Yamaha X-TX, Yamaha RS Vector, Yamaha RS Venture TF, etc., are some of their models.
Arctic cat recently released their first snowmobile with power steering. Their first-ever snowmobile with power steering is Arctic Cat ZR 9000. It is a trail-type snowmobile.
Polaris Indy Evo was launched in 2021. This performance type snowmobile is their first snowmobile with a power steering system.
Released in 2019, Ski-Doo MXZx 600RS is one of the few snowmobiles with power steering from Ski-Doo. It is a racing snowmobile with high performance.
What is the difference between hydraulic power steering and electric power steering?
Presently, between hydraulic power steering and electric power steering, most people choose electric power steering.
Although this preference is subjective, some benefits of electric power steering gave it an edge over hydraulic power steering. Let’s have a look at some of their differences.
Hydraulic power steering gets power from the engine. It uses fuel from the engine, which increases fuel consumption and decreases mileage. As a result, HPS is costlier to run.
Electric power steering, on the other hand, uses a battery to run. Hence, it doesn’t consume any fuel from the engine. It makes EPS cost-effective and cheaper.
Electric power steering is less complex in contrast to hydraulic power steering. The components in the hydraulic system are critical. It’s hard to work with them. EPS runs with simple parts which are easy to handle.
Electric power steering is compact. It has fewer components. Hence, an EPS weighs less.
Hydraulic power steering is an older technology and less compact. As a result, its overall weight is more.
Between hydraulic power steering and Electric power steering, the latter is more fuel-efficient. As EPS runs on a battery, it does not drive fuel from the engine. Its lightweight makes it energy efficient as well.
Having more components and complex mechanisms, HPS is more likely to have maintenance issues. As it operates with fluid, leakage is a significant problem.
EPS, on the other hand, is simple, battery-driven, and easier to maintain.
Can you still steer snowmobiles without electric power steering?
Most snowmobiles do not come with electric power steering. So, it is safe to say that you can still steer your snowmobile without one. Snowmobile without electric power steering runs by traditional manual steering.
A traditional manual steering system depends mainly on the raw strength of the driver. This system drains much energy. However, its excellent feedback from the roads makes it a unique and enjoyable experience.
Due to the unique feedback, many veterans prefer manual steering systems. That is why most snowmobile does not have an EPS. So the bottom is, you can still steer your snowmobile without an EPS.
How does snowmobile steering work?
The snowmobile steering system is comprised of a set of skis and handlebars. The handlebars are similar to a motorcycle or an ATV. These Handlebars control the skis in front of the snowmobile.
A stem joins the skis and the handlebars. Turning the handlebars right and left turns the skis in the same direction. For sharper turns, the rider needs to lean on the side of the snowmobile while turning.
Along with handlebars, skis are also an essential part. They give mobility and helps you steer in the rough snowy terrain. They function as the front wheel of your mobile.
The handlebars steer the power-assisted steering as well. Here, the handlebars connect with either hydraulic pumps or electric motors. These motors or pumps provide the ability to turn the skis accordingly.
What year did Yamaha come out with power steering?
Yamaha was the first manufacturer to introduce power steering. They first brought power steering in 2006 in their All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV). It made them the pioneer of power steering in the powersport market.
Five years later, in 2011, they added power steering to their snowmobiles. They first added power steering on their 2011 Apex models. Later, they also added this system in some Vector and Venture models.
Later, a year after that, Yamaha added some more snowmobiles with power steering in their Apex series.