It is important to know how many decibels your ATV exhaust is emitting so you won't disturb any neighbors or so you won't cause your own hearing loss, and to be sure you are within the limits of the law in case your State has noise regulations for ATVs. There are also sound regulations that are enforced by local law enforcement. To prevent getting a ticket or destroying your hearing, first find out what the allowable sound decibels are for your state. After you know what the target is for your ATV exhaust, follow the following steps to ensure that your ATV is in compliance.
First you will need to buy an analog sound level meter which will cost about $35 and also a tachometer which will cost around $20 and is needed in order to test your ATV exhaust at a specific RPM. When buying your tachometer it is important to get one that doesn't need a power source and uses a protruding wire as the reed. You should be able to purchase a tachometer from most lawn mower dealers.
Now that you have all the supplies you need to test your ATV exhaust, you need to determine what RPM you should test at. Most ATV's should be tested between 3,000 and 4,000 RPM.
For the actual ATV exhaust test you will need a friend to help you out. A good tip is to do this ATV exhaust test in an open field as opposed to the enclosed space of the garage where the sound will bounce. First place the tachometer on the handlebars. With your friend operating the throttle and maintaining the proper RPM you should have in your hands both a tape measurer and the sound level meter to take your reading. With your meter in the "A" weighting you should now dial the decibel range and keep the meter at about 20 inches from the ATV exhaust and at a 45 degree angle. Your reading will now appear and you will know if your ATV exhaust is in compliance with state law.
This is a simple test to do and won't cost you much more than $60 to do. In fact, if you are a member of an ATV club you may even be able to split the cost between other members of the club. By knowing that your ATV exhaust is in compliance with regulations, you can be rest assured that riding your ATV will not cause deafness. Testing your ATV exhaust decibels is an important and easy test to do, don't wait until you get pulled over to find out.
Author: Travis Smith, Owner, North American Power Sports