Your snowmobile has provided you and your family years of adventure, fun, and laughter. Whether your sled is brand new or has been on the trails for several years, caring for it properly can help you avoid unnecessary repairs and keep your snowmobile ready and running for many winters to come.
Here are a few simple tips to help you extend the life of your snowmobile.
Prep Your Snowmobile for the First Winter Ride
Pulling your snowmobile out of storage is thrilling, and chances are you want to hit the trails as soon as the first snow falls. However, before you gear up and head out, ensure your sled is ready for the ride.
Examine every inch of the sled and look for wear, cracks, or buckling. For example, check the belts for any fraying or damage. Look for cracks or buckling on the hood, bumpers, and running boards. Perform a thorough check of the engine and look for damage to the throttle, fan, and water pump. Examine the carburetor for dirty, oil buildup and other debris.
Do not ride on the trails if you have any mechanical or structural issues with your sled. For example, minor damage to the bumper can lead to a serious injury if you hit a large rock on the trails. Engine failure on the trails is often caused by a dirty carburetor.
If you notice any damage, repair it yourself or contact a licensed mechanic.
Check and Maintain Fuel Levels
After pulling your sled out of storage — and periodically throughout the winter — monitor the antifreeze, oil, and gasoline levels. Here are a few tips for how to monitor each fluid:
- Antifreeze. Refer to your owner's manual to locate the antifreeze reservoir and which type of antifreeze is best for your snowmobile. Watch the antifreeze levels and refill the reservoir as needed.
- Oil. Watch the engine oil gauge on a four-stroke motor and replace with the correct product as needed. For two-stroke engines, monitor injector oil levels inside the reservoir. Do not allow the injector oil reservoir to empty completely because it will cause the engine to seize.
- Gasoline. Check the gas tank and make sure it’s full before you hit the trails. Do not use old gasoline or the improper octane fuel.
Check the brake fluid at the beginning of the season and monitor the levels throughout the winter.
Pay Attention to the Skis
Damage to the skis will place you in danger of a breakdown or injury. Examine the skis for any signs of damage, holes, or dents. Both metal and plastic skis are vulnerable to damage and malformation, especially if used on unkempt trails. If the skis are bent, take them to a professional immediately for repairs.
Older skis or those that suffer a serious break or other damage should be replaced before hitting the trails.
Clean Your Snowmobile
Road salt, mud, and other contaminants will cover your snowmobile. In addition to making it look dirty, the contaminants can eat away at all the components, which makes driving your dirty snowmobile potentially dangerous. Here is how to easily clean your snowmobile:
- Clean the exterior. Grab your hose, car shampoo, and an automotive sponge. Spray off the exterior with the hose, clean the skis, hood, and the rest of the exterior with the car shampoo. Spray off the snowmobile and wipe it down or let the sled air dry.
- Degrease the engine. Open the hood and spray the engine with an engine degreaser. Choose a product intended for use on snowmobile engines. Let the product sit for a bit and then wipe away the grease. If there is plastic or rubber near the engine, use an appropriate product.
- Clean the upholstery. Wipe down the seats with an all-purpose upholstery cleaner.
Apply a coat of snowmobile wax, according to the package directions. The wax protects the snowmobile's exterior from road salt and other contaminants.
Prep Your Snowmobile for Storage
When winter ends and you're ready to put your snowmobile away for the season, prep it correctly to prevent damage and ensure your sled is ready for the trails next year.
Begin by washing, degreasing, and waxing your snowmobile. Apply a thin layer of lightweight oil to any exposed nuts, bolts, and the exhaust.
Fill the tank with gasoline and a fuel stabilizer, according to the product's directions. The mixture of fuel and a fuel stabilizer will prevent moisture from collecting inside the tank.
Remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. Place your snowmobile on a set of quality snowmobile dollies, cover it with a breathable snowmobile cover or cloth, and keep it in a cool, dry place.
Properly caring for and storing your snowmobile is the best way to extend its life. However, if you're ready for a new adventure on a new snowmobile, contact the professionals at Bob's Cycle Supply, Inc.