The UTV industry is currently booming! As a result, more and more states have set aside recreational land to use the four-wheeled side-by-side vehicles to explore and run free. In some states, it is even legal to register and tag your UTV or side-by-side. But each state is different, and the number of laws and fines can be overwhelming.
Owning a UTV means learning how to maintain it so that you can enjoy it for longer and ensuring that it ticks off all the legal boxes. Read on to learn how to install side-by-side turn signals so you can explore the trails safely and legally.
Table of Contents
Steps to Install Turn Signals
Below we describe a little more about how to perform the steps to install turn signals.
Choose an Appropriate Lighting System for Your UTV
Depending on the model and kind of side-by-side you own, there may be a specific type of lighting kit for your machine. Browse through the owner’s manual and see if there is a system that the manufacturer suggests. If there isn’t, check a few discussion boards to see what other owners are using. More popular UTV models will have a large online following, and users are always open to answer questions.
The laws vary depending on the state, but typically, all UTVs should have working front and rear blinkers, taillights, and tag lights. These lights provide the driver and rider the appropriate amount of safety while showing your place on the road or trail to other riders. If there is an emergency, a good lighting set can alert authorities.
Required UTV lighting for driving on the streets includes:
- Front turn signals
- Rear turn signals
- Brake lights
Remove the Front Hood Plastic and Seats
On the front of the UTV is a large plastic covering that houses the main wiring harness. This harness holds the wiring essential for the functioning of the UTV and some extra spots for accessories. Follow these wires inside and under the center console of the vehicle. The mess of cables can seem daunting but rest assured they all have a purpose and function.
The seats on the inside will need to be removed. The plastic flooring is interconnected and is held by a series of bolts and plastic grommets that can be a pain to undo. Once the seats are gone, you can unbolt the console and reveal the mess of wires on the inside. Take care not to snip or pull apart any wires until you know their function.
Guide the Wiring Harness to the Rear of the Side-by-Side
One of the most important things to look for when moving the harness is heat spots. If there are places on the machine that will generate more heat or have a higher risk of rubbing on exposed wires, it is best to move the cables away from them. Use the same path as the manufacturer to play it safe when moving your wires.
Faulty wires mean that certain parts, or all, of your machine, could stop working. Bad wiring could lead to a life or death situation depending on your excursion’s location and climate. Doing checks before, during, and after on your equipment will help to prevent breakdowns.
Measure the Areas for the Blinkers and Tail Lights
While some machines will have large flat areas where the lights should rest, some areas need to be measured before moving on to the install. Each chord should be noted as longer pieces will be for the rear and smaller for the front. Each will have two lights attached for a total of eight lights in four positions.
The areas to measure on the body of the side-by-side are:
- Front Fenders
- Rear Fenders
- Dash Space (If applicable)
- Tag Location
Once the areas are mapped out, and the wires are ready, you can move on to the drilling phase. The plastic on your machine will vary in thickness and have spaces close to the frame that obscure your vision during drilling. Be careful when pulling on the plastic as some models can have very brittle panels. You should park UTVs out of the sunlight to prevent brittle panels.
Drill Holes and Replace with New Light System
Using a ¾ inch spade drill bit, drill the holes in all four locations on the side-by-side. If there are rough edges, go back with a file and make the holes smooth and even. Once they are cleaned up, insert the rubber grommets in the hole. These grommets keep dirt and grit from working its way inside the lights and causing a failure.
After the grommets are installed, you can move the light through the center and pull the wires out the back. Leave the connections uncovered for easy installation in the steps to come. Make sure that the lights fit flush inside the grommets and aren’t moving around in the holes. UTVs have a much rougher ride than a car. Excess jostling will shake the lights loose. (Source: UTV Action)
Install the Dash Electronics and Lights
One of the most impressive facets of a lighting system is how well it makes the dash area of the UTV look. Some modern light systems have a bevy of bells and whistles that will tell you everything you need to know about how your side-by-side is performing. Try to concentrate on getting the essential safety equipment installed before moving on to toys.
Once your dash electronics are powered up, they will offer data about your ATV like:
- Miles Per Hour – One of the main things you will need to drive on the streets or at night is an MPH gauge. This gauge ensures that you don’t break any speed limit laws while traveling. If you are riding on public parklands, there could be a speed limit for all traffic. Game Wardens and Park Rangers have the same authority as police off the paved road.
- Turn Indicators – Letting other riders know which way you are turning is essential for safety. The indicators inside your dash electronics will be bright enough to create a flash seen from a decent distance. While they aren’t as bright as the lights themselves, the flashing could attract the eye and prevent an accident.
- Fuel Gauge – Fuel is vital for side-by-sides. They are energy efficient but could burn more during steep climbs or with excess weight inside. Electronics can provide a way to measure the fuel or hours used and determine when you need to refuel.
- GPS Location – Some top of the line models will come with a way to track and follow your group. The standard arrow on a tracking map will appear on the dash screen along with the icons of your companions. GPS is a lifesaver. It can help if you get lost, or there is an accident that needs emergency medical assistance.
Not all side-by-side turn signal light systems will have dash lights. Some could be a colored arrow that signals when you flip the switch. Either way, choose something that has access to turn signals along with any other features you need. It is shocking how many UTVs are decked out with LED spotlights but don’t have essential traffic lights.
Connect the Color-Coded Wiring to the New Lights
The number of wires on the inside of a side-by-side is going to be overwhelming. Computer chips control sensitive systems within the machine and could lead to permanent damage or excess repairs if they aren’t protected correctly. Choose a lighting system that color coordinates with the device you are using. It makes installation much more manageable.
Here are some tips for connecting your wiring to your new lights:
- Move orange and white wires – There will be a pair of orange and white wires leading from behind the light. Run these lines to the exposed wiring that you revealed earlier. According to the ATV owner’s manual, connect the corresponding positive and negative wires with the orange and white wires.
- Ensure the safety of the wiring – Side-by-sides have many places that can be hazardous for wiring and electronics. Areas exposed to large amounts of heat and areas around moving pieces like axles should be avoided.
- Solid connections are imperative – The wires must be well connected and not easily pulled apart. Some companies have a locking system that keeps the wires connected, while others need electrical tape to stick together.
- Repeat the process around the UTV – Move around the machine and follow the steps above. The number of lights on the side-by-side could be as many as ten, so this step is easier said than done. Be meticulous with the process to ensure that you only have to do it once. (Source: Rocky Mountain ATV)
Test the Lighting and Make Repairs
Make sure that everything works before setting off on the road. Check the signals in all of their operational modes by clicking the remote or installing a handle on the steering column. A steering column could have a tilt option that doesn’t allow for a standard switch; check before buying.
Turn signals on a UTV still don’t keep them from being in accidents. It is always a good idea to move to the highway side and allow faster vehicles to pass. Lighting does make riding on the roads safer, but collisions with automobiles can cause serious injury or death. Always take the appropriate safety measures when operating a UTV.
Return the Plastic Pieces to their Places on the UTV’s Body
Using the same screws and bolts as you used to remove them, reapply the plastic pieces to the outside of the side-by-side. They should fit flush with no serious obstructions or broken parts on the body. Take the time to ensure that all parts fit correctly and with no issues. The pieces protect vital components of your machine.
Add the console back to the inside of the UTV. The console covers some of the most necessary wirings in the whole machine and should be kept free of cracks and debris. Once the console is uniform and flat with the flooring, you can replace the seating. The panels under the seats should be cleaned and free of defaults.
Top 6 Turn Signal Systems for Side-by-Side UTVs
The turn signal system you buy for your side-by-side depends on the type of UTV you have. Each manufacturer has its wiring layouts and purchasing the wrong kind of system could be a headache. While there are universal models, many companies specialize in only one type of vehicle. Make sure you know the model and manufacturer before jumping into the process.
Whichever side-by-side turn signal light system you choose should be the correct fit for your UTV and have everything you need to complete the install. One of the best places to start when deciding your needs is local and state laws. Some municipalities will not allow for side-by-sides to be driven alongside other automobiles. Being ignorant of the rules does not make you immune to them.
SuperATV makes a fantastic set of turn signals that are super easy to install and are color-coded. This set also comes with a horn attachment, which could be useful if you intend to use the side-by-side around town. It works best with the RZR 900 and should work for over 380,000 flicks of the switch.
SuperATV specializes in add-ons for all types of UTV but doesn’t make on that is universal. Make sure before you buy that you have the appropriate equipment for your side-by-side. SuperATV has a great return policy and a substantial amount of literature on the web to handle any installation problems.
The items that come with a SuperATV turn signal kit are:
- 105dB Horn
- Dash-Mounted Toggle Switch
- (2) Front LED Lights
- (2) Rear LED Lights
- Dash Cluster
- (2) Bullet Connectors
Fitting the two- and four-seat versions of the RZR, XTC makes a top-notch system that is easy to install and has color-coded wiring. XTC is based in the United States and has a wide range of signal options for the RZR and other popular models. One of the most exciting things about this set is the laser-etched switches, which add flair to the interior.
The items that come with a SuperATV turn signal kit are:
- Emergency Hazard Switch
- Rear License Plate Option
- Automotive Horn
- Brake Lights
- (4) LED Lights
- Color-Coded Wiring Harness
The TS315 turn signal system is a great set of lights built by a no-nonsense company that makes various systems for Ranger and the Ranger Crew. It is an easy to install system with color-coded wiring that doesn’t force you to disconnect any machine wiring. It has a switch that leads right to the battery and won’t harm the existing electrical system.
The items in the VLK Turn Signal LED System are:
- LED Flashers
- (4) 3/4in Round Front Lights
- (4) 3/4in Round Rear Lights
- Fuse Link to Battery
- Signal Switch
Advance MCS Electronics makes a great turn signal system for side-by-side UTV’s. It only requires two connections for operation. The lighting is powerful and simple to install, with only a few holes drilled into the plastic. It is a universal kit that can be installed on any system that is powered with a 12v battery.
Advance makes a great system for anything that has a 12v motor. As such, you can transfer the system from side-by-side UTV to your upgrade or something completely different, like a golf cart. Having a universal system provides many more options than something specializing for a particular model.
The items in the MCS Electronics Signal System are:
- On/Off/On Switch
- On/Off Lighted Toggle Switch
- (2) Clear LED Lights
- (2) Amber LED Lights
- (2) Red LED Lights
- (2) Green Panel Mount Indicators
Ryco Street Legal Kit
Ryco is a company that only makes turn signal kits for the Polaris models of side-by-side. It has a steering column-mounted switch that has a four-way flasher as well. When paired with a set of add-on mirrors, the kit makes any RZR street legal.
The items in a Ryco Street Legal Kit are:
- (6) LED Light Signals
- License Plate Light & Holder
- Switch Mounted on Steering Column
- 114dB Horn
- Side-View Mirrors
The side-by-side UTV industry produces some fantastic products. Some states are starting to relax laws that allow owners to drive them on public streets as long as they meet specific requirements. Proper turn signaling is one of these requirements. A set of turn signals can be added to your UTV with just a few alterations to the electrical system.
Choose a lighting system that is bright and easy to install. Most models come with color-coded wiring that connects to the corresponding wiring on the machine. Perform regular checkups on your UTV’s wiring to ensure a great time while you are out riding!