Buying a windshield for your UTV could easily set you back more than $200, or double that for high-end windshields with special coatings. Add a rear windshield, and your budget will be at least $500. Read on to learn more about how to make a windshield for a UTV by yourself.
What You'll Learn Today
Why Go The DIY Route?
Making your own windshield will save you money. And it’s not that hard. All you need to do is buy a sheet of the right material (glass, polycarbonate, or acrylic), cut it to shape and affix it to your side by side.
You may not be able to make some of the advanced designs that store-bought windshields come in such as flip-up, flip-down, and vented windshields.
But with basic tools, you can easily make a full or half UTV windshield. Using a clear hinge, you can even make a foldable windshield.
What Material Can I Use for UTV Windshield?
UTV windshields come in three types of materials: acrylic, polycarbonate, and glass. Let’s look at each material in more detail.
Acrylic is the cheapest material for a UTV windshield. Common brand names for acrylic sheets include Plexiglas, Lucite, Perspex and PMMA.
Acrylic is a type of plastic that’s ten times as strong as glass, has high resistance to scratches, and has the best clarity of any windshield material.
That said, we do not recommend using acrylic to DIY a windshield sheet. Even though it’s stronger than glass, it still cracks easily when hit by debris. And in case of a big impact or a roll over, it shatters in a way that can harm the occupants of the vehicle.
It also scratches easier than glass and coated polycarbonate.
Polycarbonate is the most popular, and the best, material for making UTV windshields. Specifically, coated polycarbonate.
You can get an ordinary polycarbonate sheet and DIY a windshield out of it. But uncoated polycarbonate scratches easily, which can quickly reduce visibility.
Coated polycarbonate sheets such as Lexan MR10 and Makrolon AR2 have excellent scratch resistance.
The biggest advantage of polycarbonate is its strength. Polycarbonate is 25 times stronger than acrylic and 250 times stronger than glass.
There’s a reason why some bulletproof screens are made from polycarbonate sheets.
A coated polycarbonate windshield is perfect for a utility UTV. It can withstand scraps from branches and bushes, and can withstand the impact of small rocks and debris.
And since it’s clearer than even glass, you’ll have excellent visibility.
The last option is glass.
While a glass windshield is strong, it’s not as strong as acrylic or polycarbonate. It’s good enough for most farming environments.
Glass is also highly scratch resistant. It’ll look good for a long time.
That said, there are two downsides of glass to be aware of. One, it’s a pricey option. If you are on a budget, use polycarbonate or acrylic.
Two, it’s heavy. It also requires a rigid metal frame (unlike polycarbonate that you mount with straps) that adds more weight.
If weight is a major concern for you, stick to polycarbonate or acrylic.
How Do I Make a DIY Windshield for a UTV?
Once you decide which material you are going to use, buy a sheet of it. Usually, a ¼ inch sheet of polycarbonate is adequate.
It’s thick enough to resist impact, but not too thick that it’s heavy and difficult to work with.
A standard 2’ by 4’ sheet is adequate to make a full windshield for most ATVs. You’ll also need to buy four windshield mounting straps, as well as a length of edge trimming.
As for tools, you’ll need a contour gauge and a circular saw or jigsaw.
- The first step is to create a template for the bottom edge of the windshield. You’ll need to cut the polycarbonate sheet to match the curves and angles on the hood of the UTV. The easiest way to create this template is using a contour gauge.
- A contour gauge allows you to accurately trace the outline of the UTV hood onto a piece of cardboard. You can then use the cardboard template to trim the bottom edge of the polycarbonate sheet.
- Once you’ve cut the bottom edge, fit the sheet of polycarbonate on the UTV to make sure it sits perfectly on the hood. Check if you need to trim the top edge a bit to get a nice fit
- Next, check the horizontal fit of the sheet. Mark the points at the top and bottom of the sheet where you need to cut it. Take the sheet down and trim it where you marked it.
- Mount it again and check that it fits perfectly all round.
- With the sheet still mounted, mark the positions where you’ll secure the straps, two for each side of the windshield.
- Take the sheet down and cut a pair of 2-inch slots on each side of the sheet. The velcro straps will go through these slots.
- The last step before you install the windshield is to add edge trimming at the top and bottom of the windshield. These keep out elements, and provide a layer of protection between the windshield and the ATV roll cage and hood.
- Finally, mount the windshield and secure it with the straps.
Note that this guide is for a polycarbonate windshield, which is what most UTV owners get. Mounting a glass windshield is more complicated since you need to design a metal frame for it first.
If you need more help making a polycarbonate windshield for your UTV, watch how this DIYer has done it in the video below.
Can I Use Plexiglass for a UTV Windshield?
Yes, you can. Plexiglass, a brand name for acrylic, is strong and has some scratch-resistance.
But it’s not the best material especially for farming and utility UTVs that are used in rough environments. Coated polycarbonate is much stronger, and better resistant to scratches.
Only use plexiglass if you are on a tight budget, but expect to replace the windshield soon.
Also, keep in mind that Plexiglass can be dangerous when it breaks. It shatters into little sprinters.
Which Type of UTV Windshield is Best?
For most farming UTVs, a full windshield is the best. It provides complete protection against wind, dust, debris and the elements.
You can opt for a half windshield if you want to feel some wind.
An even better option is a 2-in-1 folding windshield. Don’t worry, you don’t have to buy an expensive flip or foldable windshield; you can DIY one.
You use the same process as above, but cut two separate sheets of polycarbonate then join them horizontally at the center using a clear golf cart hinge.
Now you can remove straps on the top half of the windshield and fold it down over the bottom half/
Do I Need a Rear Windshield for My UTV?
The main reason for installing a rear windshield is to reduce the dust swirl that forms when you only have a front windshield.
A front windshield creates low pressure in the UTV, attracting dust-laden wind.
However, this is only a problem if you ride on dusty trails. If you don’t stir up dust when riding your UTV around the farm you can do with just the front windshield.
But if, after some riding, the inside and back of your ATV are dusty, a rear windshield will help.
Some UTV owners also say that adding a rear windshield reduces road or trail noise, especially if you often ride on gravel. It can also enhance sound from a speaker if you love listening to radio or music as you ride.
You can DIY a rear windshield from the same coated polycarbonate material you’ll use to make the front windshield.