Snowmobile Winter Maintenance
Now that winter is in full force, it's snowmobiling season! You've primed your sled up for the powder and may have already taken it out a few times already. Have you considered maintenance during the season outside of regular fueling and changing air filters? There is a whole list of items to check off on that you may not be doing right now. Luckily, these things don't take very long to do. In fact, you can do these checks after every few rides to ensure everything is in great shape. It'll save you the pain of a faulty part in the future when you catch an issue early on. Use this list after your next ride to get started on integrating it into your routine.
After riding, it's a good idea to knock off as much snow as you can off your sled. This will help you examine it for damage. With a ton of packed snow and ice, how can you possibly do a thorough inspection of your suspension or other areas? To rid the snow, do this by lifting and dropping the back end of the snowmobile. You can also knock snow off with a rubber mallet or other tool that won't scratch up your plastic.
Check the Track and Rails
Begin your inspection by starting at your track and rails. Ensure that the sliders aren't looking thin or damaged. Then, move on to the idler wheels. Are they rotating easily? If not, there is an issue present. There should be no deterioration present either. This can happen from the wear and tear from small rocks and other ground debris. The last thing to check here to your track. Look for torn edges or holes. If you detect any sort of damage, you'll need to replace your track. In some cases, they can be repaired.
Measure the Tension
Having the right track tension is crucial for your snowmobile's performance. Having the precise tension for your specific machine is a true Goldilocks situation. If too loose, the sled won't hook up. If too tight, the track will rub and wear down quickly. Check your owner's manual first to see what your recommended tension is before adjusting it.
Check the Belt
This is a very important one! Always check your drive belt for wear, as any damage to it could cause it to blow. This will really dampen your day, especially if you don't have a spare belt in your storage box or bag. It can cause your sled to come to a total stop, in which case you might have to be towed out of the area to fix it. To prevent this from happening, inspect your belt frequently.
Inspect the Snow Flap
It's actually pretty easy for your snow flap to become damaged. It can happen when reversing or from debris kicked up by your track. Check for damage here. If there is a serious chunk missing or a large crack, it will need to be replaced.
You want your carbides to stay as sharp as possible, but over time, they'll naturally wear down. When they're dull, it makes it more difficult to maneuver your snowmobile. Check them out and sharpen them in your shop (or have a professional do it).
Lube Grease Fittings
Try to get in the habit of re-greasing your fittings and shafts after every ride. This keeps your machine functioning smoothly and blocks out moisture from the snow.
Top Off Fluids
Always ensure you have a full supply of coolant, oil, and gasoline for your snowmobile. You may also need to change your oil if you haven't in a while. With this, change the chaincase oil if you didn't in the spring.
Other Areas to Examine
It's a smart move to give your spark plugs a onceover to ensure they aren't dirty or have frayed wires. They're easy to replace if you do find that they're worn down. Make sure to check up on your electrical system as well, as the warning lights are crucial for you to make needed repairs. Without these lights, it makes it more difficult to diagnose what's wrong with your snowmobile.
Over time, you'll be able to quickly run through this list and detect any issues that need attention. This should only take about an hour or less to run through unless you find damage that needs to be repaired or replaced. It'll pay off once you find that one problem that could have really cost you a lot of money had it been left to worsen.