Snowmobiles are incredibly versatile machines. They can be used for both practical purposes like hauling loads over packed snow and heading out for adventures through mountainous terrain. Even riders who start out viewing their snowmobiles as purely practical tools often fall in love with their machines after the very first time they hit the trails.
Whether new snowmobile owners have purchased their sleds exclusively with the intention of trail riding and racing or they plan on using them for more practical purposes as well doesn’t matter in the end. Every snowmobile looks better and is best suited to withstanding the elements and rough terrain with a snowmobile wrap.
What Are Snowmobile Wraps?
Snowmobile wraps, often called sled wraps, are graphics kits designed for winter sports enthusiasts. Just like ATV graphics kits provide protection and some extra style for off-road vehicles during the warmer months, sled wraps do the same for snowmobiles. They can be used to add color, texture, and images to a sled, transforming a boring winter workhorse into a stylish and eye-catching off-road trailblazer.
High-quality snowmobile wraps are manufactured from durable materials that offer UV protection and fade resistance. The graphics protect a snowmobile’s plastic components from all kinds of difficult conditions out on the trails while simultaneously enhancing the appearance of the machine.
DIY Snowmobile Wraps
One of the best things about snowmobile wrapping is that it’s an art that can be practiced at home in the warmth and comfort of a garage or another temperature-controlled space. All it takes to get started is finding a reliable vendor, choosing custom graphics, and placing an order online. The installation process itself is simple. Here’s how it’s done.
Step One: Clean the Machine Thoroughly
Even the highest quality decals won’t stick to plastic that’s dirty, dusty, or covered in old adhesive from the last wrap, so the first step is always to thoroughly clean the machine. If riders are removing old wraps, they should take extra care to make sure that the plastic is devoid of residue. After cleaning the plastic, leave it to dry thoroughly before applying the decals.
Step Two: Check the Fit
Every make and model of snowmobile is a little different, and as a result, so is each graphics kit. Because anyone can make mistakes, riders should check each decal for fit before starting the application process. If they ordered the wrong kit, it’s best to figure that out immediately rather than after the first decal is half-applied because it doesn’t fit correctly.
Step Three: Apply the First Graphic
Most experts recommend starting with the largest pieces since they tend to be the easiest to apply. Choose a decal, then lift it off the backing and hold it above the area to which it will be applied. Take care to get the decal positioned correctly, then adhere one corner to the machine, rotating the graphic until it is positioned properly before applying the opposite corner.
If riders are satisfied with the placement, they can run a thumb down the center of the graphic to ensure proper adhesion. However, starting with a light application at just two corners means that if the decal isn’t positioned perfectly, the problem can be resolved easily by removing it and trying again. Once it’s in place, start from the center and work outward when applying the graphic to avoid air bubbles and wrinkles.
Step Four: Repeat for Each Graphic
Snowmobile owners can use the same process to apply each subsequent decal. This process can take some time since it requires care and precision, but it’s worth some extra attention to detail.
Step Five: Heat Treat the Decals
Once all of the graphics are in place, use a heat gun or a hair dryer to ensure proper curing of the adhesive. If there are overhanging edges on any of the graphics, now is also the time to trim them.
Step Six: Let Sit
Some kits claim to require only six hours of cure time for their adhesives, and heat treating them can speed up the process. However, most experts still recommend waiting 24 hours before taking the newly revamped snowmobile out on the trails.
The Benefits of Snowmobile Wraps
Not sure if it’s worth the effort to apply a sled wrap? Don’t be put off by the in-depth, step-by-step instructions provided above. Applying decals is easier than most people think, and it comes with all sorts of added benefits beyond just looking cool. They include:
- Added Durability
Snowmobile wraps feature built-in UV protection and abrasion-resistant materials that can protect a sled’s plastic from wear and tear. High-quality wraps boast a longer lifespan than paint and will continue to look fresh and new for years to come.
- Better Resale Value
Most snowmobile owners don’t purchase new machines to turn right back around and sell them, but there will come a time when they want to upgrade. When that happens, they’ll get more money for used machines that are still in good condition instead of having UV-faded, cracked plastic. Sellers can either keep the wraps intact or remove them to expose the sled’s stock paint job, which will still be in pristine condition.
Snowmobile wraps are much more cost-effective than repainting a sled. Having a sled painted costs anywhere from $500 to $1,500, whereas premium decals cost just a few hundred for a full graphics kit. Plus, since snowmobile wraps are DIY-friendly, riders can save on installation costs.
Start Looking Into Options Today
Riders in the Northern Hemisphere have many months ahead of them before they’ll be able to get back on their sleds and hit the trails, which makes now the perfect time to start looking into options. Take some extra time to find a manufacturer with a reputation for producing high-quality snowmobile graphics kits that are easy to apply and will look good for years to come. That way, it will be easy to add applying a custom wrap to the year’s off-season maintenance checklist.