The 8 most common reasons why a snowmobile track makes noise are as follows:
- Snow and ice buildups
- Wrong track tension or alignment
- Worn out drive sprockets
- Lugs hitting the heat exchanger
- Idler wheel and bearing issues
- Hyfax (slides) too long or damaged
- Worn out clips and studs
- Damaged or worn-out track
If you want to find out more about these issues and their remedies, you’ve come to the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
Should a Snowmobile Track Make Some Noise?
According to Snowest.com, about 50% of snowmobile noises are generated by the track.
Riders are prone to considering these noises to be exhaust or engine sounds, but they are often wrong.
Unlike their vintage predecessors, today’s advanced snowmobile engines and exhaust systems generate much less noise. Therefore, the tracks seem much louder on these machines due to the engines and pipes being much quieter.
This means that a certain amount of track noise is considered normal on snowmobiles.
The level and nature of track noise depends on a variety of factors like the track’s design, material, and features.
Some tracks are louder than others, even if they come from the same manufacturer. What’s more, track noises often depend on the type and make of the sled.
New tracks also tend to be slightly louder as they are very stiff and usually stored in a twisted position and so need a couple of miles to loosen up.
However, certain track noises are caused by malfunctions, e.g. the track is rubbing against the idler wheels or jump on the track drivers.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about the most common causes in detail!
8 Reasons Why Your Snowmobile Track is Making Noise
1. Snow and Ice Buildups
One of the most common sources of track noise is when the track rubs against buildups of snow and ice in the tunnel.
Ice buildups can even create a “bridge” between the two sides of the tunnel. If the lugs reach these buildups they can generate various sounds and a lot of vibration.
What’s more, the ice can block the heat exchanger, which often leads to engine overheating.
Best practice is to stop and carefully check the tunnel. If buildups are present, remove them manually or lift and gently drop the rear end of the sled a couple of times.
2. Wrong Track Tension or Alignment
It’s safe to say that the leading reason why a snowmobile track is generating noise is track misalignment. Only a little misalignment can cause the track to move side-to-side, rubbing against the sides of the idler wheels.
Along with the track’s alignment, the tension is no less important.
A snowmobile track that is too tight often produces a clicking noise, while a loose track makes a rattling noise when it slams against or even jumps on the drivers.
Therefore, it’s recommended that you check and adjust the track tension and the alignment if needed.
Don’t rely on your eyes when it comes to these settings! Instead, read your sled’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
3. Worn Out Drive Sprockets
The track is prone to slipping on the drive sprocket if their teeth are worn down.
The most common symptom of this issue is when the track generates ratcheting noises at top speed or aggressive accelerations.
These plastic sprockets are mounted on the driveshaft nestled in front of the track. Inspect them carefully and replace them if they are worn!
4. Lugs Hitting the Heat Exchanger
Another common issue is when the lugs or studs reach the heat exchanger or the bottom of the tunnel.
This not only produces annoying sounds but can also wear down or break the lugs and even damage the heat exchanger.
There could be many reasons why the lugs are hitting the exchanger, but the most common ones are as follows:
- Loosened track
- Lugs (or studs) are too long
- Wrong rear suspension settings
- The sled is overloaded
- Poorly designed or positioned heat exchanger
- Lack of tunnel protector
5. Idler Wheel and Bearing Issues
You should also check the idler wheels and the bearings in the skid.
If the idler wheels touch the track for some reason they tend to make excessive noise, just like defective or seized bearings. Bad rear wheel bearings allow the track to move side-by-side, rubbing it against the front wheels.
Grease or replace the bearings in the skid if needed. Also, don’t forget to check the drive shaft bearings.
6. Damaged/Worn Out Slides
When it comes to the track noises of snowmobiles, the slides (hyfax) are often overlooked.
Worn out, loosened, or even wrong-sized slides can cause various sounds since the track can’t run smoothly on them.
First, make sure that the slides aren’t worn out, bent, or loosened.
If you’ve recently replaced your slides, make sure that you didn’t cut them too long.
Some owners prefer to bevel the rear end of the slides to reduce track noise. This helps the track to run more smoothly and prevent it catching on the slides when you move the sled backward.
7. Clips and Studs Issues
Snowmobile track clips are small metal units integrated inside the track. They are designed to slide against the hyfax (slides).
In most cases, they last as long as the life of the track, but they can get cracked or bent when hit by a rock or other hard objects.
Damaged snowmobile clips often cause various noises and wear out the slides much faster, so they have to be replaced immediately.
If you want to find out more about the process, here’s a great tutorial on how to replace snowmobile track clips.
If your track is studded, don’t forget to check the studs as well. The most common problem with studded tracks (if studs are on their outer portion as well) is the studs hitting the guides causing wear and tear.
As we’ve discussed, studs can even reach the heat exchanger, which translates to strange noises and hefty repair bills.
8. Worn Out Track
A snowmobile track is considered a wear item, so you can see more and more cracks, tears, exposed cords, and missing parts on it over time.
Not necessarily, but worn-out snowmobile tracks can also be louder than its newer counterparts.
If you notice significant damage or wear and tear on your track, maybe it’s time to replace it.
+1 – Other Issues
Although the source of the strange noises is often the track on a sled, other units can also make various sounds. The most typical of which are the following:
If you can’t figure out what’s causing the sound, you may want to pull these units apart and check them carefully. Sometimes it’s just a flat spot on the belt or a missing tooth on one of the gears.
Why is my snowmobile track making a clicking noise? – this is a common question of many riders.
If the track generates clicking noise, it’s often caused by the clips hitting the slides due to the track being too-tight.
If you want to fix this issue it’s wise to check the track tension and alignment as the first steps.
In other cases, the noise is caused by some ice buildups in the tunnel, worn-out drive sprockets, idler wheels, or slides. Bearings are also prone to getting seized or damaged, producing various noises.
The lugs and the studs are also prone to hitting the bottom of the tunnel or the heat exchanger on liquid-cooled sleds.
If you can’t find the source of the noises, don’t forget to check some other parts like the chaincase, clutch, drive gears, and the suspensions.