How to Wash a Snowmobile
If you are the proud owner of a snowmobile, you know there are certain elements of care which are non-negotiable. Keeping your ride clean is one of the most important elements of care for this vehicle which is exposed to harsh weather, snow, slush, and dirt. When it comes to how to wash a snowmobile, there are a few tips to make it easy and effective without unintentionally damaging your ride. Let's take a look at the main areas and how to clean them properly!
One of the most crucial aspects of how to wash a snowmobile is to degrease it under the hood. A snowmobile takes on a lot of potential buildup throughout the riding season so it's crucial to degrease certain important areas to cut through this buildup for proper performance.
You want to use a safe degreaser meant for use on such a vehicle and spray it on everything under the hood. Spraying a quality engine degreaser on the exhaust ports and near the oil reservoir will help break up any gunk that may have accumulated. The rest of the under the hood areas can be sprayed down with a non-engine degreaser but take care not to spray water or liquid into the electrical parts of the snowmobile. For example, if the clutches get wet, you will need to fire up the engine and then run the track for a few minutes to dry the pulleys again. It should be alright to apply degreaser to areas such as the nose pan, exhaust pipe heat shield, air box, and the overall framing areas of the ride, but it's always a good idea to consult your owner's manual if you have one on hand.
The best way to use degreaser is to apply to a dry surface and give it a few minutes to break down everything, no scrubbing required on your end, and then simply use a hose to spray it all off with one quick task that takes away all the degreaser and the buildup along with it. If the water running off the vehicle isn't clear, then you may need to reapply your degreaser and let it sit for a few more minutes and then spray off the second round of degreaser.
Soap Things Up
Other than degreaser, a good soapy lather is the best way to clean the external areas of your ride. When you wash the hood, seat, nose pan, and tunnel of your ride, you want to use a rich soapy lather with warm water and a sponge. You want to use a sponge like what you would use on your car, not a sponge with abrasive sides like a kitchen sponge to avoid scratching these areas. The hardest area to clean will be the nose pan since it experiences the most exposure. You may need to wash it more than once. If that still doesn't get it clean, a little bit of degreaser may be in order for this area. For really stubborn dirty areas, such as stains caused by residue from the exhaust pipe, you may need a stiff bristle brush or scuff pad and a carburetor or contact cleaner to get the job done. Make sure you always test any type of cleaner or scrub/brush in a small area before you use it to test that it won't ruin the surface.
Take Care of Vinyl and Plastic
Another important aspect of how to wash a snowmobile is to understand that every area needs different care. Much like how the under the hood area needs an engine degreaser and the nose pan needs a good lather, the vinyl and plastic parts of your ride need their own individualized type of attention. For example, the vinyl on the seat can easily become dull looking when exposed to too much sun, but you can fix it by using a little WD-40 to rub the vinyl back to a pleasing appearance. You should also shine the plastic areas in the same manner such as the under the hood deflection tape or any plastic side panels or plastic nose pans.
Give Metal Extra Care
The metal areas also need a little TLC when you are cleaning your ride. The suspension rails and tunnel should be cleaned with soapy water or degreaser depending on their buildup, and then rinses clean. This will give it a nice shine to it while ensuring all of the areas of your ride are cared for properly. Make sure you thoroughly dry any nooks or crannies when it comes to metals to avoid rust.
Tend to Steering
A lot of people overlook the steering areas of the vehicle and only tend to the more obvious aspects of cleaning, but this area needs TLC as well. The spindles and ski saddles are known for gathering grime as you enjoy the riding season because its an area most owners give a few shots of grease at the start of the season, but the grease drips down to this area as well. This grease can buildup too much if you never clean it and lead to the grease holding dirt, road salt, and grime. Using your finger or a towel, remove some of this buildup and take care to avoid smearing the grease you removed to other areas nearby. Once the buildup is removed, you can spray a little soapy water on the spindles and brush them clean to start your next ride fresh.
Polished to Perfection
Once your ride is clean and you dry it with a shop towel or rag, the final step is to add a nice layer of your favorite wax and polish it up! This will not only add a bit of shine to your ride, but it will serve as a layer of protection against damages while you are out riding. Make sure you apply polish to the hood and work out any small scratches as best you can until it shines again. For areas of bare metal, make sure you use a metal safe polish.