What are Ice Scratchers and Why Do You Need Them?

By Alex
January 31, 2022

Ice scratchers are an essential accessory that keeps your snowmobile at a cool temperature even in poor snow conditions. If you do not know what an ice scratcher is, the definition is all in the name. Ice scratchers are made to scratch the ice or snow on unfriendly trails so that your snowmobile does not overheat. They can create snow powder from a frozen sheet of ice and densely packed snow caused by heavy traffic or other circumstances. If you are looking for a way to increase your hyfax lifespan and prevent your snowmobile from overheating, you should see the selection of snowmobile ice-scratchers from Straighline Performance.

Ice scratchers were traditionally used by mountain riders to overcome poor snow conditions at the bottom when riding to the mountain top. They are now popular with trail riders seeking to overcome hard-packed or icy snow on their regular routes. Getting ice-scratchers is a cheap way to preserve the quality and extend the lifespan of your snowmobile. 

Types of Ice Scratchers

Ice scratchers are spring tines or cables attached to a snowmobile’s rear suspension rails to dig into ice and densely packed snow. The fine snow powder that the ice scratchers kick up is sent into the suspension to provide cooling for the sled’s rear. There are two main types of ice scratchers (some are OEM add-on accessories, but most are aftermarket) made to create snow powder to cool the snowmobile and lubricate the track and slides. 


Cable Scratchers 

Cable ice-scratchers are short flexible metallic cables that have replaceable steel tips to drag across ice and snow to create a snow powder that cools your snowmobile and lubricates the track and slides. Cable scratchers are not as effective as spring scratchers at kicking up snow powder. However, they are more popular than spring scratchers because they do not prevent snowmobile riders from reversing. Trail riders also prefer cable ice-scratchers because their design does not apply downward pressure, and therefore they do not wear out quickly. 

These kinds of ice-scratchers are better suited for riders who prefer riding on well-known trails because they do not have as much hard-packed snow as rarely used mountain trails. The major disadvantage of cable ice-scratchers is that they wear down a sled’s rails, particularly the paint, because of where they are attached.

Spring Scratchers 

Spring tine ice-scratchers effectively cool snowmobiles and lubricate tracks and slides. When they drag across the ice, spring tine ice-scratchers apply downward pressure on the snow or ice and create much more snow powder than cable ice-scratchers. Unfortunately, spring scratchers have a design flaw that prevents snowmobile riders from reversing whenever the scratcher is down. Most riders find it highly inconvenient to stop and put up the spring ice-scratchers any time they need to reverse the snowmobile. Reversing with your spring ice-scratchers still down will cause them to get seriously damaged. 

Why You Need Ice Scratchers

Anyone who owns a snowmobile could benefit from purchasing ice scratchers to complement their snowmobile’s cooling system. Snowmobiles have heat exchangers that rely on snow powder to get into the design and provide instant cooling. The hyfax slides and heat exchangers under the tunnel can get very hot and damaged if not efficiently cooled.  Snowmobiling is one of the many things that one can do with their kids, so it may be a good investment.

When riding in densely packed snow, there will not be much snow coming up off the ground as it would in powdery snow. Ice scratchers are therefore essential to prevent your snowmobile from overheating during long trips or low snow conditions because they throw snow up onto your heat exchanger, so it melts and dissipates the heat in the engine. Riders with long tracks have a greater need for ice-scratchers because long slides heat up and melt faster than short-track sleds. Ice scratchers are more necessary in the morning than during the rest of the day because morning snow is still hard and frozen from the night’s temperature. 

Also Read: How to Prepare Your Home for Winter?

When Do You Need Scratchers?

Late winter and early spring present snow conditions that require snowmobile owners to have ice-scratchers before thoroughly enjoying a ride. At this time, snow trails begin to harden because of being exposed to high daytime temperatures then subjected to refreezing at night. Springtime makes snowmobiling spotty in some locations, and the best way to cross the short areas of low or no snow is by using ice-scratchers. 


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