Transporting your utility terrain vehicle (UTV) requires taking some extra precautions to prevent damage, especially to vulnerable components like the windshield. UTV windshields are easily cracked or scratched when hauled improperly. However, you can take simple and effective measures to safeguard your vehicle’s windshield when trailering. This comprehensive guide provides useful tips for transporting your UTV to protect the windshield from harm.
1. Prepare the Windshield Surface
Place a Windshield Cover
The very first step is to cover the windshield with a purpose-built windshield cover. High-quality UTV windshield covers are padded, absorb shocks and bumps, and prevent direct contact with hauling straps that could otherwise scratch the glass. Make sure to get a cover that fits your windshield’s dimensions precisely. Secure all edges tightly with the attachment straps once the cover is positioned.
Clean Off Debris
Before covering, use an automotive glass cleaner to wipe the windshield thoroughly. Make sure no dirt, debris, or sand particles are left on the surface that could scratch the glass underneath the cover. Pay attention to cleaning the edges and trim. Any debris trapped underneath the cover can get ground into the windshield during transport vibration.
Protect with Masking Tape
It is also wise to apply masking tape strips along the vulnerable bottom edge and trim pieces. The tape acts as another smooth barrier preventing metal-on-glass contact from hauling attachment straps. Be sure the tape aligns perfectly so no edge peeks out, which could lift while driving. Press all taped areas firmly to maximize adhesion during transit.
Cushion Contact Points
To shield from scratches, apply self-stick foam bumpers at spots where strapping will sit. Two vertical strips at the strap locations along the frame work great. The cushiony foam absorbs vibration and gives added insulation against rubbing or knocking that mars surfaces. This is an inexpensive precaution, adding an extra safeguard. Ensure foam blocks do not lift and are fully secured.
2. Brace Internally
The windshield itself is not the only consideration when securing your UTV for transport. Internal bracing keeps rattling or shifting contents from contacting the windshield, preventing cracks and chips. Anchor and wedge gear, accessories, tools, or cargo that could bounce around with straps, netting, and foam blocks to avoid free movement. Anything unchecked inside acts like a projectile when trailering.
Make certain closed doors and compartments are latched, preventing flapping open while driving. Use secondary straps or mechanisms to keep them shut, adding peace of mind against objects flying out or shifting contents bumping the windshield. A little prevention here ensures the windshield stays protected throughout the trip.
Use Protective Coverings
For final interior shielding against wayward contents, cover with drop cloths, old blankets, or tarps before latching doors. Anything touching glass should be wrapped in towels first. The right cushioning goes a long way in guarding against incidental cracks and chips during starts, stops, and bounces down the road.
Different materials of windshield damage resistance is also not the same, you could click Polycarbonate vs. Glass Windshields to get more helpful info.
3. Transport UTV Securely
Strap Down Tightly
Having your UTV secured snugly is imperative for keeping the windshield immobile and safe from the elements during transport. Sloppy strapping leads to bouncing and jarring, which takes a toll. Ensure hauling straps cinch your vehicle down tight at suspension points, with minimal play for it to shift or rattle in the trailer. Tie-downs should have some give but limit motion.
Anchor All Angles
For optimal stability, always strap and anchor your machine from multiple angles. Criss-crossing straps distribute dynamic forces most effectively while containing the UTV in place. Combine undercarriage and vertical tie-downs to immobilize from several vectors. This keeps it solidly grounded through turns, acceleration, and braking. Consider using corner hooks drilled into the trailer bed for additional hold at vulnerable pivot points.
Use Edge Protection
Though covered in padding, hard strapping sitting directly on windshield edges could gradually damage the trim and glass. For enhanced protection, position 1” rubber U-bolt edge guards or pool noodles between the straps and windshield perimeter. The flexible tubing cushions force and absorbs incidental bumping that degrades edges over time. Ensuring some padding barrier is vital.
Routinely inspect tie-downs during longer road trips or bumpy terrain, re-securing if needed. Straps can loosen, posing risks of shift, bounce, or sway; windshield threats ensue. On extended hauls, take a break to check fit and tension, feel for slipping, fraying, or knots, and address anything questionable pronto. An ounce of prevention during a pit stop saves major heartache later!
4. Weatherproof the Windshield
Guard Against Debris
Road debris is inevitable, but you can make your windshield less vulnerable. Simple mesh screens installed behind the grille guard diffuse stone strikes, and cushions light bone strikes. For total protection, install a sturdy polycarbonate windscreen mounted ahead of the glass windshield itself. It forms an impenetrable barrier against bugs, sand, pebbles, and anything else kicked up off the highway.
Fight Moisture Buildup
Without evaporating interior air circulation, hauling a covered UTV allows moisture to accumulate and permeate. Lingering humidity and dampness degrade seals, promoting leaks, cloudiness, and mold in between trips. Combat this by placing moisture-wicking bags or containers inside before covering. Alternately, prop open doors slightly to allow airflow without exposing the interior.
Prepare for Inclement Weather
When trailering in rain or snow, take extra precautions, shielding your UTV’s windshield. Beyond wet road spray, exposed glass frosted by low temperatures becomes permeable. To prevent icy drips inside, use plastic sheeting around the windshield’s exterior underneath the cover. Ensure water cannot penetrate by sealing off entry points with putty, duct tape, or silicone at hardware and trimming gaps if needed.
5. Address Transport Damage Properly
Inspect Closely After Each Trip
Despite best efforts, minor windshield damage may still occur when moving your UTV around. Make it standard practice to remove the cover and thoroughly examine the glass and trim after delivery. Clean the surface to spot any chips, cracks, or new scratches early. Detecting issues promptly makes repairs simpler.
Know When to Repair or Replace
Though small chips can sometimes be remedied by DIY polish kits, extensive cracking necessitates total windshield replacement. Evaluating damage severity determines whether the glass just needs polishing up or risks further fragmentation unsafe for driving. When unsure, consult a professional to assess before operating your UTV. Don’t delay repairs.For more helpful maintenance info: How to Clean Your UTV Windshields?
Use Factory Parts and Specialized Tools
To avoid safety hazards, only install replacement windshields made specifically for your UTV make and model. Aftermarket universal fit units rarely meet proper specifications. Similarly, have a qualified dealership or repair shop tackle necessary windshield work, as specialized tools and precision sealing procedures are vital to restore integrity and prevent leaks around edges.
Protecting your valuable UTV investment from trailering mishaps or road wear and tear takes some careful packing preparations. But following these comprehensive long-haul windshield protection tips reduces stress while keeping your machine shielded in transit. Take the time to cover vulnerable glass surfaces, brace the contents properly inside, secure your vehicle tightly to the trailer bed, and weatherproof everything effectively beforehand. And inspect closely for any minor damage after unloading so prompt repairs prevent bigger problems down the road. Making UTV windshield safety the top priority delivers confidence your off-roader arrives safely at every destination ready to ride.