With so many accessories available for UTVs nowadays it can be hard to choose the best ones. The choices range from speakers to stronger roll cages to snow track kits. When it comes to adding functionality or style to your machine the sky is the limit.
Admittedly, there’s a ton of add-ons available for Side-by-Sides, whether you have a sporty Polaris RZR, Can-Am Maverick, Yamaha YXZ1000R, Honda Talon, Arctic Cat Wildcat or any of the numerous utility based models. The options are endless.
My top 5 personal favorites are focused on visibility, protection and performance. I’m talking about mirrors, windshields, light bars, armor and exhaust. These accessories work for pretty all types of riding whether you are slowly climbing over rocks, carving up sand dunes, blasting through deep mud or just driving down dirt roads.
Mirrors are important for your Side-by-Side because they improve rear visibility. Chances are you will be driving where there will be other people around and it’s important to see behind you. Out in the dunes or in the woods, mirrors are a must have. Whether it’s to let someone pass you on a dirt road or to keep an eye on your riding buddies.
Just like a car or truck you can get side mirrors and/or a rear view mirror. Side mirrors are fairly small, so you don’t get a lot of visibility. But since they mount on the side of the roll cage small size prevents them from getting broken or damaged easily.
Rear view mirrors are larger and offer more visibility. Since they mount inside the roll cage they are better protected and less likely to get broken.
Being protected from the elements while driving can make it a lot more fun for you and your passengers. A windshield will protect you from mud and dirt when following behind someone and offers protection from sand, rain or snow when riding.
A windshield won’t stop the elements from coming around the side of the vehicle but it will keep you protected from anything directly in front of the UTV.
Windshields comes in two distinct styles: half and full.
These are self explanatory. A half windshield is basically the lower half of a windshield. It is designed to protect the inside of the vehicle from the elements while still allowing airflow. This prevents dust from swirling around inside the cab. These are quite a bit cheaper than a full windshield. The downside is that you only have half a windshield. Dirt, snow, rocks, etc can still going to come over the top of it.
A full windshield is a just like a car windshield. It covers the entire area in the front “window” area. These are more expensive than a half windshield but offer full protection.
UTVs come with either halogen or LED headlights. Most of the time either of these work pretty well. If you really want to light up the darkness, light bars are where it’s at. LED light bars are everywhere nowadays. If you live in the country every other truck or Jeep has a light bar mounted on the roof of bumper. That’s for good reason…they are extremely bright.
Light bars are great on Side-by-Sides because they have low power draw (they won’t kill your battery if you accidentally leave them on too long) and they improve nighttime visibility.
Due to the fact that light bars are so popular on cars and trucks you can find them all over places like Amazon and eBay for dirt cheap. Some of these cheap LED bars are very low quality and should be avoided. They can fill up with water when exposed to the elements or the individual LEDs will go out not long after you get them. Good quality units are far more durable and tested for defects unlike a lot of cheap models.
Protecting the underside of your vehicle is a must when riding in areas with rocks or logs. Riding in any terrain other than sand dunes will benefit from a skid plate. Skid plates protect the bottom of your Side-by-Side from getting damaged when you drive over hard objects. Rocks and even logs can do a lot of damage to the bottom of your machine even if you hit them at slow speeds.
There are two material options when choosing a skid plate to protect your UTV. Aluminum and UHMW (ultra high molecular weight) plastic.
Aluminum is heavier and also stronger while UHMW is very light weight but not as strong in terms of protecting against impact. Since UHMW is plastic it has the ability to return to its original shape if it takes impact whereas aluminum will bend when hit hard enough. UHMW also has a greater ability to slide over obstacles. Since its a slippery plastic you can glide over rocks or logs without getting hung up like you might with an aluminum skid plate.
An aftermarket exhaust will give your engine an aggressive sound while increasing performance. A high performance exhaust for your UTV will increase horsepower and torque by allowing better flow than the stock system. Along with the increased flow a more throaty engine sound is also gained.
Most exhaust systems have a polished aluminum finish that adds a great look to the machine. So, along with a sound and performance improvement you also get cool aesthetics.
Almost all exhaust systems come with USFS approved spark arrestors to prevent sparks from coming out of the exhaust. This is very important if you ride anywhere with vegetation that could catch fire. The last thing you want is to be out riding and start a forest fire.
Those are just a few of the many accessories available for Side-by-Sides. From fast sport models to utility based farm models mirrors, windshields, lighting, skid plates, or high performance exhaust can improve the fun and functionality of your UTV.