UTV owners love their vehicles because of their multifunctionality and their ability to handle pretty much anything. This leads to some interesting questions about using side-by-side vehicles in the winter. The right vehicle can work well and be reliable in the winter months, but could it work as a snowplow?
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Prepare your UTV for a snowplow
You can use your UTV as a snowplow. As long as you are careful to use the right plow, in the right places, and take good care of your vehicle, it is possible to utilize a plow and make a big difference over the winter. There are, however, some important considerations before making this conversion.
Is your machine powerful enough to handle the snow?
Is it in good enough condition to take on this task?
What sort of plow would you need?
Do you get enough snow to warrant this sort of investment?
How should you fit your plow?
What other tips should you consider for the best performance?
Use your UTV in the winter
You have two options when the colder months start to creep in. The first is to winterize your vehicle and put it into storage. This might seem like the most practical choice if you don’t think that you will use your UTV that much over the season. It takes some work to prep and clean everything, and to make sure that no damage occurs over winter. But, the effort is worthwhile to keep the machine in good order. You can learn more in our guide: Storing a UTV over the winter.
The other option is to make the most of the capabilities of your side-by-side vehicle over the winter and continue to use it. The best UTV models should be able to handle a fair amount of ice and snow to get you over your land safely. If you want to find out more about handling a UTV in the snow and ice, you can learn more here.
Turning your UTV into a functional snowplow
If you do decide to make use of your UTV’s power and performance over the winter, you could turn it into a snowplow. Why spend money calling out professionals with their own trucks when you can use the tools at your disposal. You can get straight out there to clear the roads and trails so you aren’t snowed in. You can also help out others in your community by helping to clear access roads and dealing with other problems.
Can your UTV handle snow plowing duties?
This is the most important question to ask before you start getting lots of grand ideas about getting out on your UTV. Does it have the power behind it to take the pressure of plowing snow? It is easy for side-by-side users to hook up a plow to the front of their machine and overestimate its abilities. You could put too much pressure on the engine, causing damage and breakdowns.
With that that said, there are different opinions on what you can and cannot do with a smaller vehicle. There are those that advocate snow plowing with UTV and even ATV machines as long as you are careful not to do too much in one go. It is better to go over an area a couple of times than to try and get it all in one big sweep.
What kind of snowplow should you use on your UTV?
This is another important consideration that will affect the performance of your UTV. The plows come in different sizes. Some are lighter and more narrow for dealing with smaller areas and walkways. This shouldn’t be too difficult for a professional UTV. Others are much heavier and wider for use on roads and wider spaces. If you want to go out helping your neighbors in the countryside, this is the plow you need. But, they do require more power behind them.
How much snow do you expect to deal with?
One way to determine the best plow to use on your UTV is to think about the average snowfall in your area. There is no point going for anything too extreme if your location only gets a few light flurries of snow over the season. If you could handle it with a shovel without too much concern, a heavy-duty plow is overkill. Then there are the areas that get really bad snowstorms, something that is more frequent year by year. If you were caught out by bad winter storms and snowed in last year, perhaps you want to take precautions to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Winter preparation for the UTV
Give your UTV a once-over and tune-up before transforming it into a snowplow.
It is a good idea to give your UTV a maintenance check and make sure everything is in full working order before you start this venture. This is a good idea anyway at the start of the season to deal with any potential faults or damage before they get worse. But, this also gives you a chance to perform a few tune-ups here and there on the engine and any other key components so everything runs smoothly.
A good tip here is to make sure that there is enough coolant for the engine. The extra power required to get the machine moving with a snowplow can cause a lot of excess heat. This can catch a lot of riders off guard and you don’t want any engine malfunctions out in the middle of a snowdrift.
Of course, this also means adding on some winter tires that are suitable for handling the snow and ice. There is no point in having the power to handle a plow if you can’t drive through the snow. The more effort you put into upgrading and improving your vehicle to handle whatever the winter throws at it, the better it will handle the addition of a snowplow.
How to fit a snowplow to your UTV
Once you are sure that your side-by-side vehicle is ready to handle the snow and get to work dealing with any drifts, you need to fit the plow. The first factor here is the depth of the plow. Novice users often place the plow far too low on their UTV, assuming that this is the best way to handle the snow. The risk here is that you could end up driving the plow into the ground instead. This could be a big problem for the land and the machine when dealing with asphalt roads or other hard surfaces. You also don’t want to churn up the ground too much and make it even more difficult to get around.
You also need to make sure that the snowplow is at the right angle to pick up the snow when dealing with the roads or other terrain. It shouldn’t be too difficult to adjust the angle as needed to get the best result. Once you have done that, it is important to check all of the connections, just to be sure that the plow isn’t going to shift or slip off at some point during the session.
Following the right angles also means following the contours of the land
One reason that setting the right angle on a snowplow blade is so important is because of the angle of the typical driveway. This won’t matter so much out on rural properties, but it could make a difference if you decide to do some good deeds in town for snowed-in residents. You also need to be careful to follow the contours of the land, however, which could be tricker in larger drifts. Where possible, use a downward trajectory and the weight of the machine to push snow downhill.
Lubricate the snowplow blade
This is an extra part of the process that is easily overlooked. Lubricants for snowplow blades are a necessity, but they can definitely make your life a lot easier. Some people that use these plows regularly will invest in some quality silicon spray to stop the snow from sticking to the blade. If the snow sticks, it will become increasingly difficult to handle more snow. Instead, you want it to slide off. There are also suggestions to use cooking oil if you don’t want to get a specialist spray.
You can turn your UTV into a snowplow this winter. As long as you are careful to put in all the right work to create this upgrade, and understand the potential limitations, this shouldn’t be a problem. Make sure to understand what your machine can handle, to do all the right maintenance first, and fit the right plow at the right depth and angle.
This should allow you to transform your vehicle into a whole new snow plowing UTV that is not only beneficial on your land, but it is also beneficial for your neighbors and the local area. So, consider your options and see how a snowplow UTV can work for you.
Sources and good links to read more about snow plowing with UTVs.