East Algoma OPP – Think before changing that snowmobile exhaust

The East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind snowmobilers to ride safely for an enjoyable winter season. Snowmobiling is one of the joys of a Canadian winter. However, excessive noise may be problematic for some communities and private property landowners.

The issue of snowmobile exhausts and the enforcement of modified exhausts has always been a hot topic in the snowmobile community. Municipal, Regional and Provincial Police partners across Ontario are being tasked with how to respond to the vast use and current expansion of modified snowmobile exhaust systems. The issues being, some snowmobilers commonly replace the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) exhaust component, in exchange for an aftermarket product commonly referred to as a “pipe” or a “can”. The original muffler that muffles or lessens the exhaust noise is then physically replaced by the “can”. It is the resulting increase in noise that results in complaints, not simply the fact that operators choose aftermarket parts for their sleds.

“The stock, or OEM muffler on your snowmobile has been engineered by the manufacturer for that specific machine. It is meant to fit and perform properly as an extension of the specific motor in the snowmobile. Aftermarket manufacturers for “pipes” or “cans” claim to provide minor weight savings and minimal horsepower gains. But, with this comes increased noise. Also, some manufacturers require engine modifications because of the difference in exhaust flow. These modifications can negatively affect the overall performance of the snowmobile”, says Constable Phil Young – East Algoma OPP.

However, there is a time and place for these aftermarket exhausts. This exception is in a racing area. Aftermarket modifications are permitted if the snowmobile is driven in a racing area sanctioned as such by the council of the municipality within which the designated racing area.

Much of Ontario’s trail system encompasses private property. The private property landowners generously allow the use of their land for snowmobile use via Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trails. But, landowners and municipalities are being disturbed by the increase in snowmobile exhaust noise, which is resulting in trail closures.

There are applicable charges under the Motorized Snow Vehicle Act (MSVA) for modifying, altering, or changing the exhaust or muffler on your snowmobile. The East Algoma OPP will continue their snow vehicle patrols throughout the season to ensure the safety of all snowmobile operators, passengers, and community members alike.