When the white stuff is on the ground, snowmobiles can be a ton of fun. As the season wanes off, however, most riders tend to park their sleds in the garage or to the side of the house, where the snow melts out from underneath them. Many feel that snowmobile storage means adding a little fuel stabilizer and throwing a tarp over it, but there’s a lot more to keeping your snowmobile reliable season after season and retaining its value. Here’s a look at five things you should be doing to properly store your snowmobile for the off-season.
This one is a no-brainer for most snowmobile owners. Adding fuel stabilizer keeps the gas that’s left in the tank from evaporating or going stale over the summer. After adding the proper amount of stabilizer, slosh it around in the tank and then run the engine for a few minutes to run the mixture through the fuel line. Once you’ve run the stabilizer through, drain any excess gas from the carb and switch the fuel off to keep gas from damaging any gaskets.
2. Lube It
A snowmobile’s frame is the foundation for everything, so it’s essential to keep it lubricated. There’s nothing fancy here; just grease any fittings on the suspension and steering systems. Keeping moving parts lubricated will protect them from rust, which can damage them when it’s time to move again.
3. Fog It
One of the most destructive moments inside an engine is when it’s cold started. Even during the winter when you run your sled more often, moving parts inside the engine don’t get oiled until it’s started, so you can imagine what happens when it sits dormant for six months. While the engine is running slightly above idle, spray some fogging oil into each of the intakes. Switch back and forth from one cylinder to another for about a minute, repeatedly spraying to make sure all the internal parts are oiled.
4. Protect It
You lubricated all the fittings and protected the engine, but what about the frame itself? Even though it’s painted, the chassis can still corrode over the summer, so give it a good wash to remove any snow and debris and then spray down all the parts you can reach with WD40 to keep moisture off of the metal. When you get your sled ready again in the fall, simply remove the WD40 with a light degreaser like Simple Green, and you’ll be ready to go.
5. Park It
Where you park your sled and how you cover it makes a big difference, too. Keeping it in a dry place like a shed or a garage under a soft cover is better than a tarp, which can trap moisture underneath. Jack up the rear end and unhook the springs to take tension off the suspension and track lugs. Placing the chassis on top of a milk crate lets the suspension hang freely and keeps the tips of the lugs from folding over. Finally, throw a few mothballs underneath to keep rodents from eating the foam under the hood or making a nest in the air box.
Snowmobiles are complex machines that require a commitment to maintenance. However, proper storage can ensure your sled runs with ease for many years to come.
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Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.