Some people despise winter because of the cold temperatures and piles of snow it can bring. But for those who love outdoor sports and activities during this time of year, nothing is better than hopping on a snowmobile and enjoying the fresh powder and white hills. As avid snowmobilers, we know what it’s like to feel that exhilarating rush. Of course, winter doesn’t last forever, and before too long, the snow will be gone from trails at even the highest elevations. As summer approaches, it’s essential that you thoroughly wash your snowmobile and store it for the next few months.
When you pay attention to the details and take the time to care for your sled, it will be ready for another season of riding once the calendar turns over to November and beyond. Even a little bit of effort on your part will help ensure your snowmobile will be around for many more years to come.
Clean it Up
Even though you’re contending with ice and snow during your rides, the sled isn’t immune from coming into contact with its share of dirt and mud. It’s likely that your snowmobile will get dirty later in the season as you’re still riding in early spring. Don’t put your machine away for the summer until you’ve washed every square inch of it by hand. Take a sponge with some soap and scrub off the dirt and mud. Don’t forget to wash underneath the sled either. Once you’ve washed it, dry it with a towel until you’re satisfied that it’s as close to spotless as possible. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, it won’t hurt to put on a coat of wax and make it shine. There are even products that will repel dust while it’s in the garage over the summer.
Attend to the engine
One of your next steps should be to fog the engine. If you’re a new snowmobile owner, or maybe an experienced one, fogging may be an unfamiliar term when it comes to thinking about the engine. To do this, you simply add some lubricant to the engine before you put the sled away for the next several weeks or months. This is an important process because it wards off corrosion. A common way to do this is to turn on the engine, pull the oil pump cable and keep the engine going for at least 10 minutes. During this process, a rich oil mixture will go through the engine.
You can also purchase a fogging spray, which you will put into the throttle body or into the carb. Make sure the engine is running during this process. Once you see thick white smoke coming out of the exhaust, you’ll know you’ve completed the task. You should do either method in an area with good ventilation, preferably outside.
Another critical step is to put in some fuel stabilizer into the snowmobile. Through the months of use, there are solvents in the gasoline that have the potential to break down and evaporate. The danger is that these vapors will cause corrosion in the carburetor. A quality stabilizer will help reduce this risk. This way, once you fire up your sled in the fall or winter, the gasoline in the machine should still be effective. There are plenty of products you can choose from.
Some people thinking draining all the fuel from your snowmobile is an essential part of summer storage. In reality, keeping the tank full can be a smart way to prevent oxidation.
Take out the Battery and Belt
Some, but not all, snowmobiles have batteries. If your does, don’t store it in your garage for a long period with the battery still attached. Remove it and keep it out of the sunlight. If possible, store it during the summer in a place that won’t get hot. It’s also a good idea to get your hands on a charger and juice it up while it’s out of the snowmobile.
Also, you should take out the drive belt. The primary reason for doing this is to help it last longer. By removing the belt, you won’t likely see a buildup of condensation on the clutches. Removal will also take pressure off the clutches. This simple step should only take a few minutes but an add years to your machine. If you remove the belt and battery, you can notice a significant difference in your sled’s performance when it’s time to hit the hills this winter.
Don’t Forget About Draining the Carbs
You’re almost finished with the important duty of snowmobile storage, but you don’t want to neglect the carbs. You drain the carbs after putting in fuel stabilizer and after you’ve handled the engine fogging. Look for the float boat on the carburetor; there should be a drain that enables you to remove any additional fuel. This step will help ensure that the metals in the carb are not damaged.
Lastly, put your snowmobile away for the season in a spot you know will stay dry. For most people, this is probably going to be the garage or a large shed. Before storage, inspect the area and make sure there are no leaks or places where water can get through. It’s also effective to get the sled off the ground, as this will help prevent corrosion. Put your snowmobile up on blocks or a lift, and it should be in good shape. Many people like to place a durable cover over the machine to block it from the sun or to use as an added measure of protection from moisture, dirt and dust.
You rely on your snowmobile for hours, if not days or weeks, of enjoyment during the winter months. Can you imagine how disappointing it would be to start it up only to find that poor summer preparation left it ill-prepared for action? Invest the time and effort into putting it to bed for the summer. You’ll be happy you followed these guidelines, and family and friends will thank you for it as well.