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How can I keep dust out of my Side by Side?

Tired of eating dust in your UTV?

You landed on this page because you are searching for solutions to control the dust swirling problems that occur when riding your side by side. Just about any UTV owner has experienced this problem including us (the employees that work at Pure Offroad). We've owned and tested many different side by sides and we've tried several windshield & door combinations to see what works best. We wanted to share with y'all our experience and what we've found to help reduce the dust. We know how frustrating it can be to go on a ride in your new side by side only to find yourself eating dust the whole time. Check out the solutions below that we have come up with to help with this ongoing issue. We'll probably never be able to completely eliminate the dust from our side by sides unless we have a full on sealed cab system, but we can certainly reduce it. Read on to see what options we suggest below.

What causes the dust swirl?

In our experience, these are the top 2 culprits that are causing the issue to begin with.

1) Airflow (the type of windshield you use drastically changes the airflow, and airflow drastically affects the swirling dust)
2) Open sides (Partial or no doors)

The good news is we have solutions to address both of these issues so you can get your side by side fixed up and back on the trail to enjoy riding with much less dust. Here are a few other factors that may not be the main cause of the issue but certainly aren't helping. Some of these can also be addressed but not as easily fixed.

- Aggressive tires stirring up the trail
- Short wheel base (front and rear tires are very close to the cab)
- Tires/wheels sticking out beyond the fenders

Let's first discuss how the type of windshield you use on your machine can drastically affect the amount of dust you have swirling in your side by side. We will show you several examples of the different types of UTV windshields and how they affect the airflow. And we'll explain for each type how the airflow affects the dust. We hope you find this informative and helpful so you can take the next step in slowing down the dust you are inhaling.

UTV Windshield Types, Airflow, Swirling Cab Dust

Option 1

Polaris RZR with no windshield

In this example the Polaris RZR does not have a front or rear windshield, nor does it have lower door inserts to plug the holes below the partial doors. Believe it or not a fair amount of dust enters your cab through those holes regardless of what windshield you have. When riding without a windshield the air flows directly into the front of the cab and straight out the back. This method prevents a lot of dust from settling within the cab because the fresh air is constantly flowing through. This is quite effective as long as your vehicle is moving forward at a decent speed. As soon as you slow down or come to a stop the dust catches up to your machine and you'll find yourself sitting in a dust cloud. If you ride in a warm climate year-round, and you don't mind the air blowing in your face as you ride you might consider going this route. Afterall it's the least expensive option because you don't have to buy a windshield. Just grab yourself some goggles to keep the bugs out of your eyes and ride away! However, this isn't a practical method for most UTV riders. If you've ridden in a storm or cold temperatures you know exactly what I'm talking about. Continue reading to see other options and how they affect the air flow.

Option 2

Polaris RZR with half windshield

In this example the Polaris RZR has a half windshield, but does not have lower door inserts to plug the holes below the partial doors. Believe it or not a fair amount of dust enters your cab through those holes regardless of what windshield you have. Using a half windshield is an excellent way to deflect most of the wind from hitting your face and upper body. As you can see in the image above the air flows up and over your upper body, deflects off the roof and shoots out the back. You'd be surprised at how much this actually helps in keeping you warm when riding in cooler temperatures. You still get some airflow but most of it blows right over your head and out the back. This method is fairly effective in preventing dust from entering your cab because you still have some airflow that helps cyle it through. However you will still notice dust coming in through the holes below the partial doors. You will also notice a little more dust coming in from the sides and the rear because as you start to close off the front of your cab you also start to create a vacuum that pulls the surrounding air into your cab causing the swirl that we're all so familiar with. We also noticed that if you install a half windshield on a 4 seat RZR (or similar model) the rear passengers will take the brunt of the airflow. The airflow goes over top of the front passengers, deflects off the roof and then blasts the rear passengers. We learned the hard way that the rear passengers freeze out with a half windshield in cold temperatures! A half windshield is a great way to go if you install the lower door inserts and you ride in a relatively warm climate year-round. We especially recommend this option on the 2 seat models.

If you decide a half windshield is for you, order one for your Side by Side here:
POLARIS: RZR 170, RZR 570, RZR 800, RZR 900 11-14, RZR 900 2015+, RZR 1000, General, RS1, Ranger 570 900 1000, Ranger Mid-Size 10-14, Ranger Mid-Size 2015+, Ace
CAN AM: Commander, Defender, Maverick, Maverick X3, Maverick Trail
YAMAHA: Viking, Wolverine, Wolverine X4, YXZ1000
HONDA: Pioneer 500, Pioneer 700, Pioneer 1000
KAWASAKI: Teryx 750, Teryx 800, Mule Pro FXT
KUBOTA: RTV900, RTV X900/X1120D
JOHN DEERE: Gator, Gator XUV

Option 3

Polaris RZR with full windshield

In this example the Polaris RZR has a full one piece windshield. In theory a full windshield makes sense to most people because it blocks all the wind, keeps you warm, and of course that's what your car/truck has so why wouldn't you want one on your side by side? Let me explain why... I made the horrible mistake of putting a full windshield on my first side by side years ago. Yes, it did block the wind and keep me warm and there are certain times where a full windshield would make sense. But for most people a full windshield (in my opinion) is not the way to go. As you can see from the cheesy picture above, the air flow hits your full windshield, goes around each side of your machine and then swirls. And when I say swirls, I mean IT SWIRLS! By completely closing off the front of your side by side you create a vacuum into the cab of your machine and the dust will swirl in through every place possible. Through the hole below your partial door (if you have one), through your upper door opening and through the rear. I've never been caked in dust so bad in my life as when I had a full windshield on my side by side. This is our least favorite option but your circumstances may be different and a full windshield might make more sense to you. Listed below are 4 reasons we could think of where you may want to go this route.

So when would you use a full windshield? These are the only instances we could think of:
1 - If you have a full cab system with complete doors, roof & rear panel so it's sealed and the dust stays out
2 - If you only drive on blacktop, cement or other hard packed terrain that isn't dusty
3 - If you only use your machine in the winter to plow snow and you just want to stay warm
4 - If you only drive on wet terrain that isn't dusty so the dust won't be an issue

If you decide a full windshield is for you, order one for your Side by Side here:
POLARIS: RZR 170, RZR 570, RZR 800, RZR 900 11-14, RZR 900 2015+, RZR 1000, General, RS1, Ranger 570 900 1000, Ranger Mid-Size 10-14, Ranger Mid-Size 2015+, Ace
CAN AM: Commander, Defender, Maverick, Maverick X3, Maverick Trail
YAMAHA: Viking, Wolverine, Wolverine X4, YXZ1000
HONDA: Pioneer 500, Pioneer 700, Pioneer 1000
KAWASAKI: Teryx 750, Teryx 800, Mule Pro FXT
KUBOTA: RTV900
JOHN DEERE: Gator XUV
We also carry some full windshields with vents you can open and that helps a bit with the dust swirl but keep reading and I think you'll agree that the next option we discuss is the best.

Option 4

In this example the Polaris RZR has a flip up front windshield and a rear panel. Out of all the combinations we've tested on our own machines this is BY FAR the best setup we've had and we highly recommend it. This keeps the dust minimal compared to some of the other options. As you can see in the picture above the airflow comes in the front when you have your windshield flipped up, as it enters the cab it hits your rear window which creates a positive air pressure within the cab. There is only one way for that positive air pressure to escape and that is out the sides. This positive air pressure prevents the vacuum effect from happening as shown in previous examples and the dust doesn't get a chance to circulate into the cab. With this setup we also recommend you install the lower door inserts (if applicable for your model). The best part about the flip up windshields is that they can be used in 3 positions. First, it can be used as a full windshield when it's cool (and dust isn't usually an issue when it's that cool anyway). Second, you can crack it open to get a little airflow and help cool you down on a hot day. Third, you can flip it all the way up and get that much needed airflow on a hot day and keep the dust out! The only negative thing we came across with this setup is that the dust swirls behind your cab and settles in the rear bed area. We recommend you only store durable cargo in the rear compartment that is sealed or protected in some way because it will eventually be caked with dust.

FAQ's about the flip up windshields
Question 1 - Can you drive with the windshield in the flipped up position?
Answer 1 - Absolutely yes! That's what it's designed for. Our flip up windshields have 2 strong gas shocks that hold it firmly in place in the flipped up position. I personally have one on my RZR and I drive 50 mph with it flipped up all of the time. 80% of the time that I'm riding my RZR my windshield is flipped up so i can get that airflow and keep the dust out of my cab. In the late fall/winter when it cools down in Wyoming I close the windshield and use it as a full windshield. By that time of year the ground is wet and the dust is minimal so the full windshield is the best option.

Question 2 - How does this differ from the FLIP DOWN windshield that you frequently see out there (especially Polaris)
Answer 2 - Flip down windshields are also a great option to help with dust (if it's in the flipped down position). A flip down windshield can also be used as a full windshield. The biggest issue we have with flip down windshields is that they aren't very convenient. If you are driving along a trail and you notice you are eating dust you have to come to a stop, climb out of the rzr, undo some straps, flip it down, and then fasten the rubber straps on both sides to hold it in place against the hood. And then 30 minutes later if it starts to rain or get chilly you have to redo that whole process to flip it back up. Our flip up windshields are so much more convenient as you can make all those adjustments and use all 3 positions right from the seat of your cab on the fly.

Question 3 - Can you trailer your side by side with this windshield?
Answer 3 - Yes, as long as it's in the flipped down position. We do not recommend trailering your side by side with the windshield flipped up.

If you decide a flip up windshield is for you, order one for your Side by Side here:
POLARIS: RZR 570, RZR 800, RZR 900 11-14, RZR 900 2015+, RZR 1000, General, RS1, Ranger 570 900 1000
CAN AM: Commander, Defender, Maverick, Maverick X3, Maverick Trail
YAMAHA: Viking, Wolverine, Wolverine X4, YXZ1000
HONDA: Pioneer 500, Pioneer 700, Pioneer 1000
KAWASAKI: Teryx 750, Teryx 800, Mule Pro FXT
JOHN DEERE: Gator XUV

Our Consensus on how to stop the dust in your Side by Side

The bottom line is, you will have some dust because you are off-roading and it's just going to happen. However, if you read through our article and follow the advice we are offering we're very confident you will be much happier and your riding experience will be much better! As you know some trails are far worse than others. We've seen some trails that are just caked with moon dust and there's no way around it. Especially if you are in a large group and you are driving one after another in a line. We recommend you distance yourself from the riders in front of you and wait for the dust to settle a bit before you proceed down the trail. If you go with option 4 and use a flip up windshield, a solid rear panel, and half doors (or door inserts which are only applicable to certain models) you will notice a significant decrease in the amount of dust that comes into your cab. We know this because we have tried each of these options we've discussed in this article first hand on several different machines. Please contact us for more info on this topic!