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Why are Snowmobiles So Loud? (Explained)

Almost all modern snowmobiles are made available to the market after passing sound test procedures. These procedures are carried out and certified by internationally recognized testing agencies.

Even after all these precautions, snowmobiles are still very loud. Many riders are also fined by authorities because of this noise. Let’s find out the reason behind this and how to solve this problem.

Why are snowmobiles so loud?

There are many reasons why snowmobiles are so loud. The main reasons are changes made to the exhaust, engine tuning, using 2-stroke engines, and reckless riding. Other factors include aftermarket parts used on snowmobiles, distance, and speed. This is why many places have noise restrictions. 

Are snowmobiles noisy?

Snowmobiles were very noisy when they were first produced before 1975. You can still find vintage models from the 1960s that produce around 100 to 110 decibels noise when traveling at full throttle for fifty feet.

Modern snowmobiles are much quieter than their earlier counterparts. Although newer models produce less noise, they still exceed the noise limit for cars. 

Snowmobiles that have been modified with aftermarket parts or 2 stroke engines tend to produce more sound.

This is why many people advise wearing ear protection while riding a sled. It may not be illegal but the noise levels exceed doctor recommendations of safe noise levels. 

Always check out the noise restrictions or limits of the area you plan on snowmobiling in. Extra precautions such as this can save you from hefty fines. 

Four reasons why snowmobiles are so loud

Snowmobile exhaust cans and exhaust modifications:

Many people make changes to the exhaust to improve the performance of snowmobiles. These are different from the stock exhaust systems. They will be louder than stock ones.

Engine Tuning:

Engine tuning can boot performance by increasing the top speed. Most internal combustion engines will make more noise at a fast speed after engine tuning.

But it can damage your engine if installed incorrectly. It should be done by a professional.

Reckless Riding:

An engine’s top speed and normal speed will always be different. Many riders do not follow the speed limits. Faster snowmobiles tend to produce more noise, just like a high-speed car.

You have to be careful about where you snowmobile. There should be a reasonable amount of distance between riders and private property. 

2-stroke engines:

Two-stroke engines are louder and less efficient than four-stroke ones. But this does not stop people from buying them because of the price tag. They are cheaper and have more aftermarket parts available for them.  

How loud is a snowmobile?

78 dB of sound or less at fifty feet is the average sound level of most snowmobiles traveling at full throttle. This applies to both two-stroke and four-stroke engined stock snowmobiles. Modern snowmobiles are much quieter with two-stroke ones being louder.

When operated normally, they are barely audible from inside a house. From 200 feet, snowmobiles make an interior noise level of around 29 to 35 decibels. This is below the average evening household sound level. 

On average, you can expect your snowmobile to produce around 70 decibels at three feet. This is very low if you compare it with the snowmobiles from the 1960s.

It would take plenty of snowmobiles operating at once with full throttle to make up for the noise level of just one of those 1960 snowmobiles.

Snowmobiles do not make a lot more noise than regular road vehicles. A truck pulling a camper or an off-road Jeep makes the same level of noise as a snowmobile operating at full throttle.

Hence, the noise produced by a snowmobile at full throttle is around the same level as a common vehicle traveling on the road. 

What is the loudest you can get for a snowmobile?

The loudest snowmobiles are the vintage ones. You can reach around 102 to 110 decibels with those at full throttle.

Besides that, you can make modifications to your exhaust and that can reach higher levels above 80 dB. Be aware of the noise level as it can disturb residents living around the area. 

The standard noise level for every snowmobile exhaust and engine made in 1975 or after is 88 decibels. 

Can I make my snowmobile exhaust quieter?

Yes, there are ways to make your snowmobile exhaust quieter but most of these methods are only a temporary solution that can damage your snowmobile in the longer term.

The best thing to do is replace your can with the same can number instead of an aftermarket one once it has gotten old. You can also pack the exhaust with fiberglass to lessen the sound.

The exhaust could be packed with stainless wool from before so check if there is muffler fiberglass packing and if your exhaust is stuffed already. 

You can also route a rear can into the tunnel. Some have said it has made it a bit quieter than before for their snowmobiles. 

Furthermore, check for holes in your exhaust. Purchase some muffler packing from a store then cut the muffler open and put in a bit of packing. 

Watch your snowmobile for leaks as well. Often the donut gasket that is located around the Y pipe can make it loud. You can fix this with an exhaust system sealer. 

How to make a snowmobile quieter?

Purchase aftermarket or custom silencer:

There are many aftermarket silencers available that promise to make your snowmobile quieter.

But there are chances of it doing the opposite. The better option is to make a custom silencer or have it built by someone. These are more reliable than aftermarket ones. 

Attach automotive sound reducing foam:

This is especially helpful when the old foam is not there. This can reduce the sound a bit. 

Remove aftermarket SLP exhaust and go back to stock setup:

The stock setup is as quiet as it gets. It can be very hard to make it quieter than its original noise levels. Remember to reset the carburetors to stock settings after you do that. 

Reduce noise for the area:

Man-made barriers can be used to reduce noise for the area itself. This is done by planting trees, snowbanks, and buildings. 

If it is not possible to reduce the sound levels by any means, you can try wearing earmuffs to protect your ears. 

What external factors contribute to snowmobile noise?

External factors such as distance play a role in snowmobile noise. The closer the rider, the more intense the noise will be. This is why trails are produced away from homes and buildings. You don’t want to be disturbing people. Man-made barriers are built to reduce this noise. 

As mentioned earlier, vintage snowmobiles produce more noise than modern models. This is because they didn’t have the technology to make it quieter back then. Vintage snowmobiles are still very popular and come with this drawback.

If your snowmobile was manufactured before 1975, it is likely to be noisy. The newer your snowmobile is, the quieter it will be. Snowmobiles become noisier with age. This applies to any vehicle. Moreover, if you don’t operate it regularly, it will become rusty. 

Poor maintenance can also cause your snowmobile to produce all sorts of noise. Many snowmobile owners forget the importance of maintenance. Not keeping your snowmobiling properly can lead to parts being damaged.

These damaged parts will shorten the lifespan of your vehicle and produce noise. Make sure to regularly check up on your vehicle and maintain it properly. 

Are there quiet snowmobiles?

Who wouldn’t love silence while out snowmobiling in the backcountry? Silence can be very refreshing when you stop in the forest or on a mountain and shut your engines.

It might also prevent scaring away wildlife. Unfortunately, as of now, there are no silent snowmobiles. 

However, as technology advances, modern snowmobile manufacturers are working on making snowmobiles quieter and quieter. There are quiet snowmobiles available in the market.

They are not completely quiet but less than the other models. This feature does make a difference in riding performance. 

Four-stroke sleds tend to be quieter than other ones, especially the factory turbo ones. If you’re looking for a quiet snowmobile, you can start with those. 

The best thing to do is find a balance between quiet and efficiency. An example of a quiet snowmobile is the Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme 850 E-TEC. 

Are electric snowmobiles quiet?

Electric snowmobiles are remarkably quieter than regular snowmobile models. But they are not fully quiet. There is bound to be some noise when you’re riding a vehicle in the snow. It is not possible to prevent that yet. 

You can shift to an electric snowmobile if the noise is a large factor for you. Riding electric snowmobiles can be beneficial in many ways, not just for sound. Not only is it good for the environment, but there is no need to spend money on gas.

You can avoid the foul smell of petrol and large noises when compared to a two-stroke engine. However, there are many disadvantages to riding an electric vehicle. They will not be able to cover large distances like other snowmobile models and there are other risks involved.

The biggest disadvantage when it comes to electric snowmobiles is performance. Performance levels will decrease greatly when it comes to electric ones.

Change is coming. Snowmobile manufacturers are working their way to building silent snowmobiles so that you can enjoy a quiet trip snowmobiling with no reduction to performance levels.

It might forever change how snowmobiling feels and ‘sounds’. The future of snowmobiling could be silent! 

Make sure to follow the legal limits and restrictions when you go snowmobiling to avoid getting in trouble with the law. If you can’t do that, simply follow the ways to fix this given in the article and you should be just fine.

Ensure that your muffler is in good working order and use your snowmobile often. Try not to use snowmobiles that have mufflers cut-out or gutted mufflers.

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