LANSING, MI – Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are offering snowmobile sound testing from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 20, at the DNR customer service centers in Marquette, Newberry and Gaylord.
Sound testing is offered only for 2-stroke machines manufactured after 1980. Conservation officers also will be available during this time to answer snowmobile law-related questions.
“Decibel-level enforcement has increased this winter to ensure snowmobilers are in compliance with state law and acceptable noise levels, which ensures a better experience for everyone on the trails,” said 1st Lt. Pete Wright. “There is a zero tolerance for sound violations. These sound-testing events offer a great opportunity to make certain your sled is within legal decibel levels.”
The sound test, which takes approximately 10 minutes to perform, includes:
- Placing the snowmobile in a designated test area (no objects within a 16-foot radius of the snowmobile).
- Placing the sound meter 4 feet above the ground and 13 feet 1.5 inches from the centerline of the machine, on the same side as the exhaust.
- The operator, while holding the brake, increasing engine speed until the tachometer reaches 4,000 RPMs +/- 250, and then keeping at that speed for four seconds.
- Repeating the test once.
- Averaging the two test readings to produce the final result.
Any test result above 88 decibels is failing. No enforcement action will take place should the snowmobile test non-compliant. If the snowmobile sound test fails, snowmobile owners are encouraged to replace the modified exhaust with the original exhaust system from the snowmobile manufacturer. This action will ensure the snowmobile is compliant when on the trail.
Under Michigan law, the muffler on a snowmobile must be in good working order and, when in constant operation, noise emission cannot exceed 88 decibels at 13.1 feet, as measured using the 2004 Society of Automotive Engineers standard J2567 for a stationary snowmobile manufactured after July 1, 1980.
This winter, 14 sound violation tickets have been issued in Michigan through Feb. 2. Enhanced enforcement efforts, aimed at keeping snowmobiling an enjoyable, safe and available experience for everyone, focus on the DNR-managed trail systems, high-use areas and areas where complaints are received. The penalty for violating the sound levels for snowmobiles is a civil infraction, with fines up to $250.
Because approximately 50 percent of Michigan’s 6,200 miles of designated snowmobile trails pass through private land, snowmobile noise violations can have a negative lasting impact on the state’s trail riders.
“Michigan’s vast snowmobile trail system is the result of partnerships with private landowners who, through annual permits between the landowners and snowmobile clubs, open portions of their land for snowmobile trails,” Wright said. “Without these partnerships, the expansive, interconnected trail system enjoyed by thousands of snowmobilers each year wouldn’t exist.”
When snowmobilers behave unethically or illegally, including running snowmobiles with illegal decibel levels, private landowners can and have opted out of signing another annual agreement, and trails have closed.
For more information on snowmobiling in Michigan, including current laws and regulations, go to www.michigan.gov/snowmobiling.