There are a lot of factors to take in when you’re looking for a windshield. What makes one the Best UTV Windshield for you, may make it worse for another. Most people wonder how thick their windshield should be, what material, and what features it should have. Today, we’ll cover what makes the best windshields for side by sides and why.
Do I even need a windshield for my side by side?
That depends: where do you plan to ride? How fast do you want to go? Are you riding with friends? Do you want to protect your face? If it rains when you ride—do you get wet? Could you use some shade and UV relief when out hunting?
You can fix some with a helmet, some with a tarp, some with a flak jacket, and some with some shades. No matter what, the simplest, most cost-effective way to fix all of them is with a windshield for your UTV.
Why get a UTV windshield? Why ride without one?
Rocky trails are always around the corner. Rain’s no reason to cut a trail ride short—and when we’re flying the fastest, no one wants rocks and debris getting inside the cab.
With the best UTV windshield, you can block harsh winds, rain, debris, branches, and more. The tinted windshields even provide riders with in-cab UV protection. The trails are tough enough—the right UTV windshield can be the difference-maker you need to cross into new territories.
Though, if you’re already riding with a helmet and prefer the open-air feel or are concerned about aerodynamics, there’s nothing wrong with going without a windshield or even just a half windshield.
Can I Make My Own Windshield?
Sure, you can DIY a windshield, but it’s not recommended. For one, getting it attached to the UTV itself is a chore, which might damage the vehicle itself. Additionally, the more random polycarbonate and acrylic suppliers don’t make products specifically for vehicles—much less for visibility.
Within a week or two, the materials you purchased can crack, scratch, and fade. When you buy an acrylic or polycarbonate windshield from Side By Side Stuff, you know it’s meant to handle the trails.
Acrylic vs Polycarbonate Windshields
With all the rough riding that UTV and buggie enthusiasts like to do, glass windshields just won’t cut it. So, there are two options available for getting a windshield on your UTV.
Compared to glass, an acrylic windshield is 10x stronger. With that added benefit, there’s also price to consider: acrylic is easily one of the least expensive UTV windshield materials available.
With the added strength comes a couple of flaws, though—it’s not the best against scratches. Be wary of branches and rocks. A simple washing isn’t going to scrape your windshield, but stray rocks certainly can.
An uncoated acrylic will experience some hazing if not cared for properly. At Side By Side Stuff, we recommend always wiping your UTV windshield with a clean cloth and frequently flipping which side you’re using to avoid dragging particles across.
Polycarbonate is as strong as it is tough to pronounce. With 250x the tensile strength of a glass windshield, this is a good UTV windshield for overall strength. On the other hand, however, polycarbonate UTV windshields are the hardest to clean—and the easiest to scratch. It is very important to make sure the cloth or shammy that you use to clean it is fresh-from-the-dryer- clean to avoid scrapes.
But—that’s not a death sentence for polycarbonate or any type of windshield! Polycarbonate windshields often come with a hard coating that makes them as scratch-resistant as glass.
Just like on your car or truck, these are high-visibility and sealable options for UTV windshields. Glass windshields are a standard option to pick from for many reasons.
1: The availability of product
2: Naturally scratch-resistant
3: Easy to clean
4: Tempered glass improves safety
Though they are the most prone to cracking or breaking, modern automotive glass has come a long way. Many UTV riders who know they aren’t sending it full-throttle every ride like glass because it’s just as easy to care for as a car, and repairable as well.
The benefits of hard coating your UTV windshield
Dozens and dozens of years have been poured into making the acrylic and polycarbonate windshields UTV riders need better. Now, hard-coating allows for side by side riders to upgrade their windshield, and its durability at the same time. Here are some of the pros of coated windshields:
Although the most prone to scratches, the polycarbonate windshield becomes the best of both worlds with a hard coating. With the added protection, the stronger material stays more clear for an extended period of time.
UV protection—whether you choose a tinted windshield or not—is always an added benefit of a hard-coated polycarbonate windshield. That’s not to say it’s still important to put on your sunscreen! But, while the sun filters through a coated windshield, harmful UV rays won’t.
The same UV resistance in the hard coating actually protects polycarbonate as well. It keeps the windshield itself from yellowing. So, not only are you kept scot-free, your windshield is too!
Tinting is a dark chemical layer that blocks out a large amount of sunlight. Tinting can be applied to glass, acrylic, or polycarbonate windshields. This type of coating helps block even more UV light and prevent glare. Tinting acts much like a pair of sunglasses would.
By bringing techniques like tinting into the mix, coated windshields are able to block even more UV light and prevent glare. These levels of light blocked are measured in VLT (Visible Light Transmission), with 5% being the darkest and 99% being the brightest.
There are a lot of options available from brands like Falcon Ridge for any windshield you may need. Choose from full, half, foldable, half-tinted, full-tinted windshields, rear screens and more.
UTV windshields: your next best upgrade
With all the benefits available, there’s a reason Side By Side Stuff fans always invest in a windshield first-things-first. Whether you need acrylic, polycarbonate, or anything in between, you’re sure to find the best deals right here at SBSS.
Not sure it’s the right time to buy? Let your friends and family know, and put it on your holiday list!