A snowmobile tether is essentially a kill switch for your snowmobile. When attached to your snowmobile, by plugging it in or magnetically attaching it, the tether allows your snowmobile to start and operate as normal.
When the tether is pulled off the snowmobile turns off and will no longer run. The tether’s purpose is to make it so the snowmobile is only running while the rider is aboard the snowmobile. This, of course, is only true if the rider has the tether attached to themselves like it is supposed to be.
How Does a Snowmobile Tether Work?
The tether has a “base” or place to attach to on the snowmobile and the other end of it attaches to the rider. When the rider is separated from their snowmobile the tether is pulled off the snowmobile with them resulting in the snowmobile turning off. To start the snowmobile again the tether must be reattached to the snowmobile.
Each tether system works a little differently as far as their design and connection, but how they work electronically is all relatively the same. When disconnected the electrical connection is lost and that is what kills the snowmobile. There are magnetic tether options that cost a little more than the non magnetic options. It all comes down to your preference and how much money you want to spend.
Some snowmobiles come stock with tethers
If your snowmobile does not have a tether, it needs one. Tethers are a safety feature that come stock on all BRP products as it is part of their key system. Ski Doo did it right with this feature on their machines. Arctic Cat snowmobiles also have a stock tether on them.
As for Polaris, they do not come stock and must be added to their machines. There are multiple aftermarket options as well as an OEM option from Polaris. Why they don’t just put them on in the factory is beyond us. Adding a tether to your snowmobile is very easy so do not let that stop you from doing so.
On the newer Polaris models most tether systems are plug and play meaning they only require being plugged in to work. Some mounting may be required, but it is very simple.
Why you need a snowmobile tether
As we just mentioned above, snowmobile tethers are a safety feature. The use of a tether could keep a bad situation turning into a terrible situation. We have heard stories from riders about their buddies falling off their snowmobile and being sucked up into their track as the sled is flipped over on its throttle resulting in it being stuck fully pinned.
Had the rider in this situation been wearing a tether the snowmobile would have killed when the ridere was originally separated from the snowmobile. The rider then would not have been sucked up between the track and the tunnel. Serious injury could have been avoided.
Using a tether is not difficult and if your snowmobile does not have one it is a cheap addition. You can pick one up for between $50 USD to $150 USD depending on its style and or features.