Depending on where you live, the snow has arrived. The mountains now beg the question: Are you and your snowmobile ready? If you’re like most people, you put your sled in the backyard after your last spring ride and haven’t touched it since. That’s why we developed this quick guide to let you know what to check for this season to prevent any mid season mishaps later on.
Sled Maintenance – First things first. Make sure your sled is ready to eat what you dish out. For reference we are using a preseason inspection checklist from our local dealer, Rexburg Motorsports. If you need to replace any factory snowmobile parts along the way, be sure to check out our OEM Snowmobile parts page. We assume your competent enough to perform most of these things yourself, (that’s why you’re on GearHead right?) but if not, have your sled checked out by a local dealer. Here’s the checklist:
- Inspect Carburetors/Throttle bodies (Look for gunk, leaks, cracked lines, etc.) and clean if necessary
- Check intakes and vents for obstructions/damage
- Inspect chain case and chain tension
- Check engine compression (should be close in psi for all cylinders)
- Inspect clutch parts for wear/damage (buttons, helix, bearings, etc.)
- Check exhaust and exhaust pipe gaskets
- Examine engine and seals/gaskets for cracking/leaks
- Check head bolt torque with torque wrench
- Check drive belt for wear and adjust tension if necessary
- Check kill switch operation
- Inspect throttle/Brake Cables-Linkage for cable wear
- View skis and runners (skags) and replace if worn down too close to ski
- Check Hyfax slides for wear
- Check all fuel and vent lines for wear
- Check fluid levels and change oil if you have a 4 stroke/add oil on 2 stroke.
- Check air filter and intake and clean/replace if necessary
- Check suspension components and hardware
- Check bogie/idler wheels
- Check bulkhead/chassis/bumpers/windshield for any loose or missing fasteners
- Inspect brake pads for wear/looseness/damage
- Test/charge battery (if applicable)
- Check track and track tension is within specs. Replace track if necessary (we recommend camoplast tracks)
Replace spark plugs
- Ride legal – No we’re not talking about drinking and driving (don’t do that either), we mean make sure your sled is registered so you don’t get busted by the trail police (or whoever does the busting). Don’t forget to check with the county you’ll be riding in for changes in laws and legal riding areas and that your sled isn’t breaking a noise ordinance with its 500 decibel screaming banshee, mufflerless, turbo charged, nitrous injected, fire breathing exhaust.
Gear Up – Once your sled is in tip top shape, you need to make sure you and your gear are ready for the upcoming winter. Try on all your gear and make sure it’s still in good condition. You don’t want to remember you have a hole in your boots after you are fifteen miles down the trail and your foot is cold and soaking wet. Now would also be a good time to purchase some new snowmobile gear if your current stuff is not quite up to par for this season.
In addition to checking your clothing, make sure your snowmobile equipment and avalanche gear is in good working order (assuming you ride in a place with avalanche danger). Inspect your shovel, whistle, pack, and avalanche probe for cracks and overall integrity. Replace the batteries in your transceiver/beacon with fresh high quality ones and make sure it is in good working order. If you left the batteries in for the summer (not a good idea), make sure they didn’t leak or corrode the terminals inside the battery compartment. If you see any corrosion on the terminal contacts, it is recommended that you send in your transceiver to have it replaced. Most transceivers recommend you use alkaline batteries but some have settings for lithium batteries. Check the owner’s manual of your transceiver and make sure you use the correct type of batteries to avoid damage to your device.
Trailer Tips – Trailer maintenance is often a neglected part of preseason maintenance. Follow these quick maintenance items to help ensure that your season isn’t hampered by any trailer issues:
- Inspect wheel bearing seals, grease, and repack if necessary
- Check ramps and trailer bed for any problems
- Verify with a friend that all trailer lights are working properly
- Check all tie downs for wear and replace any if necessary
- Check snowmobile covers for looseness, frays, or holes. They will get exponentially worse on a windy highway so mend or replace cover immediately.
- Check tires
Now that you’ve done all your preseason checking and maintenance, it’s time to fill up the gas tanks and pray for a snow filled 2012-2013 snowmobile season! Have fun and ride safe!
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