How to Make Your Snowmobile Last Forever
How to Make Your Snowmobile Last Forever
Written by Tracy Graham
In addition to protecting your sleds with car covers, regular maintenance will extend the life of a snowmobile. Upkeep isn’t difficult if you follow these 10 tips to make your snowmobile last forever.
1) Create a maintenance schedule
Providing regular maintenance for your snowmobile is one of the most important steps to ensuring its longevity and also snowmobile owners must buy snowmobile covers to resist against scratches, dust, environmental damage, UV rays, and other hazards that can cause premature wear. It doesn’t matter who performs the maintenance – yourself or a trained professional – it’s essential that you provide repairs on a regular basis. Checking components that experience the most wear, cleaning the clutches, and scrutinizing fasteners are just a few maintenance checks you should run on your snowmobile. If you decide to go the professional route and take your snowmobile to a trained mechanic, find out the full range of their services and get yourself on a schedule to regular tune-ups.
2) Break in your machine
For most snowmobiles with a two-stroke engine, you should use premixed fuel when you’re filling up for the first time (ratios can vary depending on the manufacturer). You should also add oil to a rebuilt machine during the first tank of fuel. When taking your snowmobile out for a run, use the entire throttle range. Also, don’t maintain the same engine speed for more than a few seconds at a time. This will ensure that the piston rings are properly seated through exposure to the various pressures in the cylinder.
3) Store your sled properly
Typically, snowmobiles are seasonal vehicles. During the off-season, you’ll want to store your snowmobile in a safe environment. When you’ve found a proper location for your snowmobile, run it through a list of actions to maintain its longevity – fog the machine, add fuel stabilizer, unhook the torsion springs, raise the track off of the ground, and grease the zerks. If it’s possible to raise the skis, do so as well. Leaving your snowmobile at the mercy of the elements during the off season can have disastrous consequences. Rusted components and damage to your plastic and vinyl seat covers will be just a few of the issues you would have to deal with potentially.
4) Use a snowmobile cover
Another way to keep your snowmobile in pristine condition when it's not in use is to use a snowmobile cover. A good cover will be weatherproof, so you can rest assured that your machine will weather the elements rain or shine. A cover will also keep your machine nice and clean, so you won't have to wash off the cobwebs when you take your snowmobile out of storage after the off season. Snowmobile covers come in a variety of sizes and colors, so make sure that you know the year and model of your machine when shopping for the proper cover. Check out snowmobile covers for Arctic Cat.
5) Prevent Corrosion
Long term corrosion can be the death of your snowmobile. As part of your preparation to store your snowmobile properly, you should spray the front and rear suspension (this includes the shocks) with WD-40 or something similar. Go over your entire vehicle and spray down everything that is metal. This includes the skis and the engine. As a final note, ensure that the rust inhibitor doesn’t touch the belt or clutches in any fashion as they may slip.
6) Wash regularly
To keep your snowmobile in good order, you should clean it often. How often is entirely dependent on how frequently you ride, but any good visual inspection will tell you when your snowmobile needs a good bath. Washing on a regular basis will aid in the prevention of rust and corrosion forming on the metal components of your vehicle. Clean any road salt, oil, gasket leaks, and the like. It’s important that you let your snowmobile dry off after a good washing. Also, let it sit on a jack stand to dry off the suspension shafts, bearings, and clutches.
7) Use high-quality oil
Ever wonder what type of oil to put into your snowmobile? When testing their snowmobiles, manufacturers run all types of oils through their engines to achieve these three crucial things – run quality, durability, and cleanliness. The safest route is to use the manufacturer’s recommended oil. Always check to see if your dealer recommends any alternative oils for your snowmobile.
8) Warm up the engine
Don’t just wake up, jump on your snowmobile and go joyriding. Let a cold engine idle for a few minutes, much like you would with a car. A snowmobile engine is comprised of various types of metal, and each metal contains different properties. When they’re heated, each metal type expands at different rates. So, let’s say you have an aluminum piston that sits inside of a steel cylinder. Due to its properties, the aluminum will expand faster than the steel. If the aluminum piston heats up too fast, it can expand and cause damage to the steel cylinder.
9) Fix damage immediately
Damaging your snowmobile at some point is almost inevitable. For instance, if you tear the seat, use a vinyl repair kit to fix it. Stop corrosion damage from spreading by sanding rusty pipes. You can even minimize the damage of a cracked windshield by drilling a small hole at the end of the crack. This will stop it from spreading any further. Tackle any and all repairs immediately. Sitting and waiting will only make things worse.
10) Take care of the drivetrain
To stop your drivetrain from failing, the chain case should always be filled with fresh oil (be mindful of the proper levels). You should grease the driveshaft and jackshaft a few times each season, and you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation when it comes to adjusting the chain.