What Are Ice Scratchers And Why Do You Need Them?

Ice scratchers have become a required add-on device for many snowmobilers as a low-cost means of keeping their machines operating excellently in low-snow circumstances and extending the life of their snowmobile parts. In the past, mountain cyclists had utilized them as a shortcut to their favorite honey hole when the snow conditions at the foot of the mountain were terrible. 

In recent years, trail riders have discovered that hard-packed and ice conditions may cause their bikes to overheat, among other problems. Ice scratchers is a short spring tine or cable with a hardened steel point that is mainly intended to drag over (scratch) the surface of an ice lake, plowed road, or hard-packed track as your snowmobile travels. It comes in various configurations – most are aftermarket, but some are OEM add-on accessories – but all serve the same goal: to generate snow dust for cooling and lubricating the track and slides.

Scratchers for the season

Snowmobile ice-scratchers are generally classified into two categories: spring tine and cable. 

  • The spring tine is the most effective for cooling and lubricating since this form of scratcher provides downward pressure on the snow and ice, resulting in more snow dust for the machine. 

However, this kind has one significant drawback: because they are designed, you cannot use reverse without first pausing to place the scratcher back into its holder. If you attempt to back up while they are down, it is highly probable that they may get entangled and bent beyond repair.

  • A cable scratcher is a metal cable with interchangeable steel ends that drags over snow and ice to generate snow dust. Although being a bit less efficient at generating snow dust, most trail riders frequently prefer these scratchers. As a result of the cable’s flexibility, it is possible to flip the machine without damaging the scratcher. 

Also, since they don’t provide any downward pressure, they don’t wear out as rapidly when driving or parking at a petrol station. Depending on where they are situated, this sort of scratcher might chip the paint on your rails. This may not be an issue with older equipment, but it is something to consider if you purchase a new machine with powder-coated rails.

When do you need scratchers?

Snowshoes are most often used in late winter and early spring, when temperatures rise during the day then freeze again at night, when paths begin to harden and refreeze. It’s possible for spring snowmobiling to be limited in open regions. Your machine will go longer without needing to stop to cool the engine if it is equipped with a scratcher, which builds up a snow layer in the track of your vehicle. 

To securely get to the following route, they are also an asset if you come across a plowed woods road. A brief mid-winter thaw in your location may make scratchers quite useful for many riders, mainly if other snow has fallen. As the studs penetrate the ice paths, they create the snow-dust needed to cool the bike, reducing the number of required scratchers. It is also worth noting that during trail riding, any snowmobile with an inch or more of lug track will need scratchers more often than a snowmobile with a half-inch or less.

What to consider when buying the right one?


The snow and ice scratchers have a one-on-one relationship. As a result, ice scratchers are prone to moisture, and if the inappropriate material is chosen in their manufacture, you’ll find yourself replacing them regularly. Water will not harm metallic materials. 

Ensure to search for long-lasting materials that can withstand even the harshest icy conditions without cracking. For its strength and resistance to corrosion, stainless steel is the most used material. Ice scratchers with carbide tips are more durable than those with non-carbide tips.


As we’ve already established, ice scratchers may be broadly classified into two categories. One has a solid cable, while the other has a slack one. Both have advantages and disadvantages. A stiff ice scratcher exerts more significant pressure on the snow than a flexible scratcher and generates more snow dust. Even with the ice scratcher down, you cannot reverse your snowmobile. A broken ice scratcher will cost you more money in the long run since you’ll have to buy a new one. 

Unlike cable scratchers, which have a rigid structure, cable scratchers are flexible. They put a different amount of pressure on the snow, depending on the substance of the cable. In retaining the ice scratcher firmly in place, zinc-plated wire is the most popular. You don’t have to worry about picking up these ice-scratchers off the ice as you reverse. This gives you a lot of peace of mind and gives you more freedom when sledding.


Several ice-scratchers have a coating applied to the exterior to improve their aesthetics and increase their lifespan. Even if you’re cautious, you might wind up with an expensive, shiny, and attractive ice scratcher that looks shabby after a few usages. This is because the coating on your ice-scratchers may peel off after a few uses. Your ice scratchers and, by implication, your sled will seem neglected after the protective layer is removed. The ice-scratchers have a sleek appearance thanks to the high-quality finish.

Storage and mounting

An ice scratcher for your snowmobile or sled should be simple to install. In most cases, your snowmobile will be hitched up with bolts, and you’ll need to tighten them. Certain ice-scratchers need drilling holes into the sides of your snowmobiles so that they will fit. This isn’t a difficult task, even if you’re not an expert. Your local hardware shop may also provide the ice-scratchers before heading to the slopes. Hooks that attach to the snowmobile allow for the proper storage of ice scratchers, which can then be retrieved at a moment’s notice as necessary. You don’t have to worry about damaging your ice-scratchers since they’re firmly attached to the snowmobile with these hooks.

Visit https://straightlineperformance.com/ if you have any queries regarding scratchers or other snowmobile modifications and accessories or if you have any general inquiries about snowmobiles parts. We like talking about snowmobiles!


Straightline Performance,

15250 Hornsby St. Forest Lake Minnesota 55025,



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