Wintertime seems to sneak up on us every year, and it’s a good idea to start planning to make sure you are ready when it hits and not scrambling to fix issues from the previous season. The fall season is a great time to pull the cover off your snowmobile and get it in shape before hitting the trails. There are a lot of factors that go into properly preparing your snowmobile for winter. Here are a few things you need to check to make sure everything is in proper working condition.
While the weather’s still mild, thoroughly wash your machine. This will enable you to inspect your machine for any damage that may have been overlooked when you put it away last spring. Pay particular attention to cracks or corrosion, unwanted rodent nests, loose or missing bolts, fluid leaks and proper operation of suspension components.
Check the fuel
If you didn’t add a fuel stabilizer when you put your snowmobile away last spring, it’s a good idea to drain the tank and start with fresh fuel. Then you may want to clean your carburetors or injectors with a recommended fuel additive. For both two-stroke and four-stroke engines, you should replace the fuel filter if it’s an external type.
Look for track damage
One of the most important parts of snowmobile prep is checking the machine’s track for any damage that may have occurred last year. Look for cracks and missing pieces, and make the track has the proper tension and hasn’t worn down. Lastly, make sure each part of the track is present, including all clips. Another important component of your snowmobile is the ski system. Make sure that your skis are in proper working condition before winter. To do this, check for holes, gouges or cuts on your skis. You should also see to it that your runners are straight before you use your snowmobile. If they are bent, have them repaired immediately.
Hit the brakes
Don’t forget to check your brakes for worn brake pads and possible disc damage. Your safety and the safety of the people around you all depend on the level of control that your brake system provides. Before you hit the trails with your snowmobile, make sure that your brakes are working properly. If the brake pads are worn or if the disc is damaged, have those replaced before doing any serious riding.
Inspect the drive train
There is never a more important time to pay attention to your drive train than at the beginning of the season. This includes inspecting your drive belt for wear and replacing if needed. While under the hood, also check the tension and condition of the fan belts and water pump belts. Inspecting your clutch and torque converter for proper alignment and operation is a recommended practice as well. And don’t forget to make sure your battery is in good working condition too.
Top off/flush your fluids
Lastly, check your fluid levels. Of course, this means the brake fluid, gas and coolant levels. Your coolant should be new to ensure maximum performance and protection. As for your brake fluid, make sure that you follow the outlined level indicated in your master cylinder. If you’re riding a four-stroke and didn’t do it last spring, change the oil and filter. It is recommended you change the oil regardless of the miles at the beginning of each season. The reasoning behind this practice is that the engine and the oil can be exposed to condensation during storage in the off season, and given that oil is the “blood” of an engine, it’s better to start off the season with new, clean oil and a new oil filter. On two-strokes, make sure to top off the oil reservoir and use an oil with excellent cold-flow properties for best protection.
Winter can creep up on us fast, so you’ll want to be ready when the snow flies again. A well-maintained snowmobile allows you to enjoy your winter without worrying about your safety and security. It also makes the skiing environment safer from unwanted accidents, engine failure and injuries.