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Do Snowmobiles Have Reverse? (Explained for Beginners)

If you are worried about getting stuck in the wrong direction with your snowmobile, you may have to look for that reverse mechanism.

If you have an old model of snowmobile, you’ll be out of luck!

Find out if snowmobiles have reverse and why they are so important.

Do snowmobiles have the reverse?

Snowmobiles that are built more recently have reverse functions integrated into them. Snowmobiles can have mechanical, as well as electronic reverse, the latter being more popular. Without the reverse in snowmobiles, parking, loading, and changing direction becomes very difficult.

Do all snowmobiles have a reverse?

All snowmobiles do not have the reverse tool system. Especially if your snowmobile model is more timeless, and manufactured before 1998, it is most likely that it was designed without a specific reverse button.

The good news is for the ones who have the newer models of snowmobiles. This is because most upgraded and new snowmobiles have an integrated reverse mechanism where you can drive the vehicle in a backward direction without hassle.

However, some models are more modifiable, where an additional reverse component can be wired in. 

Before the reverse function was introduced, snowmobile riders who got stuck in a snowdrift and had to go reverse would need to move their cars manually. Most of the time, the driver had to leave their seats and use strength to turn the vehicle in the opposite direction.

The first time reverse snowmobiles were introduced, the mechanism used electricity for the function.

Can you put a snowmobile track on backward?

It is possible to put a snowmobile track backward, but it would depend on what type of track your snowmobile has.

Putting the snowmobile track on backward can improve traction considerably especially when going downwards.

However, experts recommend drivers avoid flipping the tracks. This is because the tracks and the given direction were specially designed for optimal driving experience and safety of your vehicle.

The straight track on snowmobiles produces braking and stopping effects that would otherwise be eliminated if you had reversed the track. Instead of reversing the tracks, investing in a deeper or better sled would be more beneficial.

At the bottom of the snowmobile tracks, you will notice an arrow that points to the back of the vehicle. This arrow usually shows the direction in which snowmobile track rotation will happen if you drive it.

Do Polaris snowmobiles have the reverse?

Polaris snowmobiles have a reverse which they introduced on their vehicles, and it is commonly known as Polaris Electronic Reverse Control or PERC.

For the reverse operation in Polaris snowmobiles, the RPM is required to be below 400 while the engine should be completely idle before reverse is turned on.

How does reverse work on a snowmobile?

Mechanical reverse and electronic reverse have two different mechanisms in a snowmobile although their principal work is the same.

In the case of a mechanical reverse, the driver pulls a lever which makes the gear change its position. When the spot is changed from the forward position, the tracks are placed backward.

Now, as the driver starts the engine, the tracks will move in the direction of travel, making the snowmobile move backward.

The electronic reverse is a lot simpler and more popular as it requires the driver to just push a reverse button on the control functions. They were introduced in the 1990s and are popularly referred to as RER or Rotax Electronic Reverse

On the go, when the reverse button is pressed, the engine automatically slows itself down to a point before the stoppage. Next, the engine rotates the tracks in reverse direction automatically.

How important is reverse on a snowmobile?

You may be wondering if snowmobiles could do without reverse. After all, older models were made without it, but a reverse function has myriads of significance in your snow ride.

Changing direction:

Suppose you’ve turned right instead of left. Without a reverse, you would well have to get out of the vehicle, set the snowmobile in the right direction, and then start again.

Sometimes, when snow is too deep and your snowmobile gets stuck, having a reverse will make it far easier to get out of the snow than you can imagine. It is an automatic process where you only have to push a button as you steer.

Ease of loading and unloading:

Without a reverse on your snowmobile, one of the most tiresome jobs is sledding your vehicle in and out of the trailer. This way, you won’t have to injure or tire your arms trying to unload the snowmobile manually.

Hassle free parking:

If you have driven a snowmobile without a reverse, you would already know that it is an additional worry to find a parking space and park the snowmobile with its front facing forward.

Sometimes when the vehicle is turned back, a snowmobile without reverse has to be manually changed position before driving it into a parking space.

With the reverse, you can park it rear facing or front facing without worrying about the position of the snowmobile.

What is a snowmobile mechanical reverse?

As the name suggests, the mechanical reverse is a more traditional reversing system that requires the driver to manually pull a lever for the vehicle to track back.

Here, when the lever has pulled the gears inside change their positions so that the tracks move in the new direction.

One reason mechanical reverse becomes obsolete is the added weight to the vehicle. Maneuvering a snowmobile in deep snow is already difficult, the added weight on the sled could lead to more challenges.

Apart from increased human effort, a mechanical reverse is more time-consuming as well. Although few traditional designs of snowmobiles still incorporate a mechanical reverse function, most have switched to the electronic version of it.

What is PERC reverse on Polaris?

The PERC reverse is a reverse operation on snowmobiles that was upgraded from the original electronic reverse system by the company Polaris. Later it gained popularity and to date is referred to as Polaris Electronic Reverse Control or PERC by snowmobile riders.

Although a PERC has been deemed more efficient; Polaris has given some safety tips that are to be followed. Unlike any other electronic reverse snowmobiles, PERC reverse requires the driver to bring down the RPM or rotations per minute of the engine to below 400.

In addition to the RMP rate, it is strictly instructed that the engine is completely idle while the snowmobile is halted when you are operating the reverse.

Further, you have to make sure your rear area is completely empty and free of obstacles before turning on the reverse button.

How do you put a Polaris snowmobile in reverse?

One reason why most people prefer to use a PERC Polaris reverse is because of the ease of use. Here are the simple steps you can follow to put a Polaris snowmobile in reverse:

In order to put a snowmobile in reverse, follow the given steps and tips:

Bring RPM below 400:

At first bring the RPM, or engine’s rotations per minute to below 400. Following that, bring the vehicle to a complete halt.

Keep the engine idle:

Next, it is crucial for you to keep the engine in an idle state for a good time. As your engine rests, make sure the area where you plan to steer back is clear so that you can reverse the snowmobile safely.

Press reverse button:

Now look for the reverse button of the snowmobile, which you can find on the left-hand side of the control panel. Press the button briefly. Do not press the button continuously.

Look for the indicator:

When the RPM comes down to below 400, the tracks will start to move in reverse. Here you may look for a light indicator to show the progress of the reverse.

What was the first snowmobile to have a reverse?

The first snowmobile to have reverse was produced by the reputable company Ski-Doo, for which snowmobiles are sometimes called Ski-doo vehicles.

The Ski-Doo Tundra R and Touring SLE models were the first snowmobile to have reverse and were designed with the Rotax Electronic Reverse system or RER.

The reversing mechanism of this snowmobile was based on electricity and was later upgraded to conventional electronic reversing snowmobiles.

Although the RER technology was received with some doubts initially, soon the reversal technology was well accepted and soon, both reverse roles in snowmobiles were a staple post 1998s.

Snowmobiles are all fun and games until you have to rescue the vehicle from a snowdrift, or you are required to change the direction of the vehicle. Owing to these issues, all modern snowmobile models are designed with a reverse system.

While the more popular system remains the electronic option where you can have your snowmobile change tracks with the push of a button, the mechanical is also effective with some manual effort.

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