What is the Hyfax on a Snowmobile? [+Replacement Guide]


The hyfax on a snowmobile is a pair of plastic strips on the bottom of the skid rails. The hyfax is designed to protect these aluminum rails from wear and tear. Without the hyfax, the track would very quickly wear out the rails, which would end in a costly replacement. Instead, replacing the hyfax is cheap and easy! The hyfax is often referred to as sliders or slides as well, especially in Canada.

If you want to learn more about the hyfax and its maintenance, you are in the right place.

We’ve gathered all you need to know about this key part under one roof!

What is the Hyfax on a Snowmobile?

To understand what the hyfax is on a snowmobile, we should first take a quick look at the suspension system as well as the skid.

What is a bogie suspension system? An interesting fact is that snowmobiles used to feature “bogie wheel suspension systems.” These suspensions were also commonly used in tanks and many other tracked vehicles.Simply put, these vehicles actually ran on wheels, which were installed inside of their tracks. These wheels were known as bogie wheels.

The main drawback of this suspension system was that the bogie wheels continuously moved up and down. This led to uncomfortable bumpy rides, especially on uneven surfaces.

To eliminate this effect, in 1966 Arctic Cat invented the slide rail suspension system, which has become the new industry standard.

Thanks to this new suspension, today’s snowmobiles no longer run on wheels. Instead, they slide on the inside of their tracks. This new design offers a smoother riding experience, as the wheels don’t move under the rider.

As its name implies, in this suspension the track is continuously sliding on aluminum rails. But if the track ran on just the bare rails they would very quickly wear out. This is where the hyfax comes in handy.

What is a hyfax? To protect the aluminum rails, the engineers designed a protector between the track and the rails. These hard-plastic protector strips are called the hyfax or referred to as sliders. The main advantage of the hyfax is that it’s cheap and easy to replace.

Are you wondering what material the hyfax is made of? Let’s drill into the details!

What Material is the Hyfax Made Of?

The hyfax is typically made of UHMW plastic, which means Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene. Simply put, it’s a durable high-quality plastic that is still flexible. This is why it’s not only the hyfax, but also the snowmobile’s skis that are made of this material. To make them even more slippery, some models contain graphite or Teflon strips.

It’s also good to know that there are three main different types of hyfax.

The “OEM” or regular sliders are probably the most popular models on the market. They are made of pure UHMW plastic, which makes them the cheapest ones on the market.

The aftermarket “extra slippery” sliders are known as friction-reducing hyfaxes and these are manufactured in two different types.

The blended or graphite sliders contain other additions like graphite. These extra materials make the hyfax more slippery, reducing the friction.

The Teflon (or DuPont) sliders are also made of pure UHMV plastic, but this design features long grooves in the middle of their bodies. To reduce the friction and increase the longevity, a narrow piece of Teflon is inserted into these grooves.

The additional benefit of this design is that the Teflon provides a light coating to the metal track clips, which also helps reduce friction.

Moreover, these types of sliders last longer than the blended models. However, they come with higher price tags as well.

That’s why many owners stick with OEM sliders. They have a great price/value ratio and fit perfectly on the sleds!

How Long Does the Hyfax Last?

As a general rule, the hyfax on snowmobiles lasts around 1500-3000 miles. This means you can expect 1 to 3 seasons on one hyfax set. However, the longevity of these parts strongly depends on a variety of factors like the snow conditions, your riding style, and so on.

Under extreme conditions, the hyfax can even wear out even in as little as 500 miles! On the other hand, if you take care of them, you can even get 5000+ miles out of them.

How do you make the hyfax last longer?

If you want to make your hyfax last longer, you have to make sure that your track is not too tight. The right track tension is one of the keys to extending the lifetime of the hyfax! If you regularly ride on low-snow conditions, it’s recommended that you install ice scratchers on your sled. This is because without lubrication the hyfax can wear out much faster or even get damaged.

If you ride in minimal snow conditions and can smell melting plastic, it’s a very bad sign as it means your hyfax remains without any lubrication. Keep in mind that you can destroy the hyfax in a couple of miles. Without any lubrication they can be completely destroyed.

It’s also a lesser-known fact that it’s necessary to “break-in” a new hyfax! This is how you straighten its surface, which makes it more durable.

Are you wondering how to do this? Then don’t miss this tutorial:

When Should you Change the Hyfax on Your Snowmobile?

You have to change the hyfax when the indicator mark appears on its side. This indicator, also known as a wear line, is a long line that runs down the entire length of the hyfax. As the material of the hyfax wears out, this line becomes more and more visible.

Unfortunately, not every hyfax features this indicator mark. If no wear lines exist on your hyfax, don’t worry. You can still manually check its thickness!

How can you do that?

First, find out what the minimum hyfax thickness is required on your sled. You can find this requirement in the owner’s manual.

Then, you can measure the thickness of the hyfax with a caliper. If one is not available, another trick would be to grab an open-end wrench that has the same size as this minimum measurement.

Put the wrench next to the hyfax, if it slides inside the wrench you have to change the hyfax immediately!

As these parts are very cheap, it makes sense to periodically change them, even if they are not completely worn out. That’s why many owners replace the hyfax every season!

Keeping in safety in mind, you may also want to regularly change the hyfax, depending on the ridden miles. As they say, prevention is better than the cure!

How do You Change the Hyfax on a Snowmobile?

You can change the hyfax on your snowmobile with these 10 simple steps:

  1. Place the track up off the ground.
  2. Loosen the track (by the rear idler wheels).
  3. Remove the retaining screws through one of the track holes (they are at the front of the skid).
  4. Push the hyfax towards the rear of the rail. If it’s hard to move, try to loosen it up with WD-40.
  5. Pull the whole hyfax out of one of the track holes.
  6. Repeat the process on the other side.
  7. Cut the new hyfaxes off if they are longer than the original. As there is only one bolt hole on them, make sure to cut off the right end!
  8. Install the new hyfaxes. It’s good to know that OEM hyfaxes are always easy to install, while aftermarket ones are usually harder to push into place.
  9. Once they are in place, reinsert the front retaining screws.
  10. Set the track tension.

You can see how to change the hyfax on a snowmobile in this video:

Best practice is to replace both of them at the same time. If you notice one of them is worn out, then it’s time to change the other one as well.

It’s also easier to replace the hyfax in a warm environment. In cold they are stiff and it’s harder to work with them.

Are you wondering how to change the hyfax on different types of sleds? Let’s take a closer look at the main snowmobile brands!

How do you change the hyfax on a Polaris Sled?

How do you change the hyfax on a Ski-Doo?

How do you change the hyfax on an Arctic Cat?

How do you change a Yamaha hyfax?

What do Sliders do on a Snowmobile?

Simply put, sliders on a snowmobile are actually the hyfax. They are also called slides as well. The term “hyfax” is more common in the US and less used in Canada. But finally, all of these names can be used interchangeably.

Conclusion

Hyfax or sliders are durable plastic strips designed to protect the aluminum rails from the track. Without these parts, the track would damage the rails, which would result in costly repairs.

The material that the hyfax is made of is extra durable UHMW plastic. However, you can find some “extra slippery” sliders on the market, which contain graphite or a Teflon tape depending on the model.

Although these sliders offer a longer lifetime and a more slippery surface, most owners stick to OEM sliders. They are not only fit perfectly, but also have a great price/value ratio. Installing an aftermarket hyfax could be a hassle, as they don’t fit perfectly in many cases.

The hyfax usually lasts around 1500-3000 miles, but this strongly depends on the snow conditions. If the hyfax remains with no lubrication, it can be damaged in just a couple of miles!

Replacing the hyfax is a very easy maintenance task, that’s why many sledders replace these parts every year.

If you are considering replacing the hyfax on your sled, it’s recommended that you refer to the owner’s manual!

References:

https://www.snowtechmagazine.com/which-hyfax

https://www.westshoremarine.ca/know-change-snowmobile-sliders/

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