If you want your snowmobile to last for years of fun and adventure, you need to maintain it. You can make yours run great for a long time with our snowmobile maintenance tips below.
1. Use High-Quality Oil
Most owners wonder which motor oil to use. Manufacturers do a ton of testing on their motors with many oil types to make them run well and last as long as possible.
The most obvious option is to use what the snowmobile manufacturer recommends, but you can buy excellent aftermarket oils, too. In addition, you can ask your dealer if they recommend a particular aftermarket oil.
But avoid outboard and motorcycle oil because they aren’t designed for use in cold weather. And use the appropriate viscosity and weight for four-stroke motors.
2. Check Fluid Levels Often
Just like with your car, you should check the snowmobile’s fluid levels regularly. This means you should check the oil, coolant, and fuel.
As you check these fluids, look at their condition, too. For example, if the oil is thick and black, it’s overdue for a change. And if the coolant looks watery or cloudy, it should be changed.
How often you should check fluids depends on the snowmobile model, so review your owner’s manual.
Further, you should check the condition of the fuel and oil filter.
3. Keep Your Snowmobile Clean
Snowmobiles cost thousands of dollars, and you want yours to last for many seasons. That’s why it’s essential to wash your snowmobile after each ride to avoid corrosion and rust.
This also includes washing off road salt after you drive it on the trailer; we all know what salt can do to metal parts! You also should wipe off grease or oil that may have gotten on it as this can damage the finish.
It’s also recommended to let the sled completely dry after washing it, including allowing it to run on jack stands to eliminate any moisture in the suspension, clutches, or bearings. Running it for 10 or 15 minutes will ensure all water is out of the essentials to last longer.
Experts also say you should have a snowmobile cover like this one from SkidooParts.com when you’re transporting it to avoid road grime. Of course, it’s best to put the snowmobile in a covered trailer, but a good-quality cover will do the trick for less money.
4. Maintain The Skis And Track
The first thing is to check that the sled’s track maintains alignment. Do this by sitting on the sled seat and measuring how far it is from the end of the bars to a spot on the sled chassis. It should be identical.
Also, check the condition of the carbides, which are on the skis’ bottom, and help steer. If they’re too worn, they need to be replaced immediately.
5. Let Engine Warm-Up
When you’re about to hit the trails, let a cold engine run for five minutes before you start. Snowmobile engine parts are composed of many materials, and they’ll heat and expand differently.
For instance, aluminum warms quicker than steel. So if you have aluminum pistons and steel cylinders, you could wind up with a piston seizure or scratches.
6. Look At The Drive Belt Regularly
The track is essentially a big drive belt. It’s made of a rigid composite material that revolves under the snowmobile to keep you moving. The track is similar to car tires, so the better the track condition, the better you’ll move.
If your drive belt breaks, there’s a good chance you’ll blow your engine – not good! Unfortunately, if that happens when you’re in the wilderness, you may not have the tools to fix the drive belt, even if it doesn’t wreck your motor.
But if you check the drive belt before every ride, you can avoid serious, expensive repairs and hassles.
When you look at the belt, check that the belt teeth aren’t too worn. Also, feel the belt’s edges to see if they’re beginning to shred. If they are, the belt may be about to fail.
Remember that snowmobile tracks work under strain, so minor damage can become a big problem quickly.
If you see a problem with the track before you ride, you need to fix it immediately or replace it.
7. Measure Belt Tension
Having the appropriate track tension keeps it turning smoothly under the sled with as much engine power as possible transferred to the ground.
But if you have the belt too tight, it wears out faster. And if it’s too loose, the sled won’t move correctly.
So, review the tension with your spring scale every month during the season. With 20 pounds of force in the middle of your sled’s track, the standard spec is 1.5”, but check your owner’s manual.
8. End Of Season Maintenance
When your season of fun comes to an end as the snow melts, it’s time to do end of season maintenance:
You should grease the drivetrain and suspension with the product your owner’s manual recommends.
It’s wise to use WD-40 to stop rust, so put it on the sled’s skid arms and tie rods. But don’t allow it on the belts or clutch parts.
Gasoline will separate if it sits too long, so add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank.
Some owners also fog the engine with fogging oil to safeguard the crankshaft, cylinder rods, and rod pins.
Take Out Battery
The battery may go dead if you don’t remove it. If it loses the whole charge, it may be impossible to charge it again. Batteries cost a lot!
When you take out the battery, see if there’s any corrosion, and check its condition in storage every month.
It helps to start the motor every four to six weeks during the spring, summer, and fall. This can prevent sediment from building up and also keeps seals soft.
This winter, you can spend hours of fun on the snow trails with these essential maintenance tips. A well-maintained snowmobile throughout every winter can help your machine run better for longer.