Changing the tracks on your snowmobile can be a completely new experience to the rider. Not only will it be better for your driving experience, but it will also increase the life of your snowmobile. This is why it is important to know which tracks you can put on your snowmobile and whether the different brands and models are interchangeable.
Snowmobile tracks are generally interchangeable if you are replacing with the same dimensions and pitch of the tracks. However, be careful to check the front heat exchange clearance between the lugs and/or studs. There needs to be enough clearance there for you to use the new tracks.
We are going to show you the basic elements of snowmobile tracks as well as explain whether you can use them interchangeably. We are also going to provide you with a guide for different brands so that you can check out the exact models and numbers for yourselves.
The Elements of A Snowmobile Track
The tracks are an essential part of the snowmobile and it is very important to have a good, if not new, pair on your machine. Changing the tracks is very important as is finding the right replacement if your exact model is not available at the moment. But first, you need to know the basic elements of snowmobile tracks. They are:
The length of a snowmobile track is the inner circumference of the track. It is calculated by multiplying the drive pitch by the number of track segments and it has to be precise up to an inch if you want to have a perfect fit and avoid subsequent modifications.
It’s not overly difficult to modify them, but it is better to avoid it altogether
Shorter snowmobile tracks are better when it comes to handling and stability, while longer ones are better in aspects of ride quality and floatation.
Width is a very simple measurement that measures the distance across the track, as defined by the width of the tunnel. Simply take a tape measure and stretch it across the track to measure its width.
Narrower tracks are better if you want more speed, since they reduce the weight, while wider ones are better for floatation in deep snow.
3) Drive pitch
The drive pitch is a very important part of the tracks. It is the drive cog center distance around the circumference of the cogs on the drive axle. The pitch must fully match the existing track in order to be interchangeable, or you must replace the cogs.
Although you might find some different measures on older models, common contemporary models include 2.52˝, 2.86˝, 3.0˝ and 3.5˝ pitches.
4) Lug Height
The height of the lugs is the distance the lugs extend over the surface of the tracks. The higher the lugs, the better the traction of your tracks. They can also greatly influence the speed of your snowmobile.
These are the essential elements of snowmobile tracks. Now that you know all the basics, let us see the general sizes and the answer to the main question – are they interchangeable.
Sizes of snowmobile tracks
Snowmobile tracks come in different shapes and sizes, based on the brand and the manufacturer. Some parts are – in size – determined by the size of other parts (e.g. the relation between the width and the width of the tunnel), while others are proportional to other elements of the track itself.
- As for the lengths, the usual sizes range from around 120˝ to not more than 160˝, based on the model used.
- Standard widths are 15-16˝, but they can range from 14˝ to 20˝ in total.
- Modern pitches come in sizes of 2.52˝, 2.86˝, 3.0˝ and 3.5˝, while there are older models with different sizes.
- As for the height, you can find a lot of varieties starting with 0.82˝ to a total of 2.5˝
If you follow these links, you can find a size guide for a variety of different tracks based on the snowmobile brand:
- Arctic Cat: https://sledtrack.com/snowmobile-track-fitment-guide/arctic-cat-snowmobile-track-fitment-guide/
- Polaris: https://sledtrack.com/snowmobile-track-fitment-guide/polaris-snowmobile-track-fitment-guide/
- Ski-Doo: https://sledtrack.com/snowmobile-track-fitment-guide/skidoo-snowmobile-track-fitment-guide/
- Yamaha: https://sledtrack.com/snowmobile-track-fitment-guide/yamaha-snowmobile-track-fitment-guide/
Get together all the measurements of your old tracks in order to find new ones that will fit.
Are Snowmobile Tracks Interchangeable?
Most snowmobile tracks are interchangeable and you can easily use different models or brands for your snowmobile tracks if your exact one isn’t available. There are some aftermarket track brands that are made for specific applications that will not be interchangeable with most machines.
This was even easier historically, as practically all tracks (with a few notable exceptions) came with a standard 2.52˝ drive pitch. This made replacement easier, as the drive pitch is one of the most important elements when changing tracks and if that segment doesn’t fit, you have to change all the lugs and/or cogs, which is not just an extra cost, but also a lot of extra work.
With the introduction of larger pitches, the situation has become a bit more complicated, especially if you have an older model, but it’s still nothing you can’t handle.
The important thing is to compare the measurements. You have to know the measurements of your old tracks in order to find a fitting new model.
- The length and the pitches are the most important since that has to fit perfectly (although lengths can be modified later on, but that is still extra work you don’t need).
- As for the width, a one-inch difference isn’t a big deal, so you can use a 15˝ on a 16˝ tunnel.
- While lug height isn’t that important, you need make sure your machine has enough clearance for the lug height you want to get.
Here’s a good video explaining how you can find the pitch and other measurements of your snowmobile track:
How Long Does A Snowmobile Track Last?
Now that you know everything about snowmobile tracks, you might wonder how long they actually last and when you should replace them.
Well, as a matter of fact, snowmobile tracks are a very durable product. Much more durable than automobile tires, for example. Of course, a lot of it depends on the mileage and the terrain you used them on, but generally speaking – they’re very, very durable.
Newcomers to snowmobiling usually think that they are going to need to replace their tracks after a couple of years, but that’s very far from the truth so don’t worry – you won’t have to spend money on new tracks that often.
So, how long do snowmobile tracks actually last?
A good pair of snowmobile tracks can last for more than ten years. Even with fairly decent mileage, tracks can last for more than a decade if they haven’t been exposed to extreme conditions, and if you’ve been following all the rules of driving a snowmobile.
How do you know it’s time to change them? Well, they don’t really have an expiry date so you’ll have to follow your feeling and the visual cues.
- You’ll notice your tracks being worn out.
- The first obvious sign is the degradation of the lugs, but that can be fixed up to a point.
- Just remember that you’re never to apply fire to the lugs; don’t burn them, just cut them.
- The fire might severely damage the material and you can turn one small problem into a big one where you’ll actually have to replace your tracks.
The lugs are actually a very good sign of the condition of your tracks. If you can’t fix your lug problem with simple cutting – and there have been no prior issues – it’s about time to look for a new pair of tracks.
There you have it. Snowmobile tracks are a good and reliable product that you can fix up from time to time and if you treat them well, you might enjoy them for years and years.