The snow is quickly melting and sled time is coming to an end. Now it’s time to put your snowmobile to sleep for the summer. While many people stow their sleds under a cover or in the back of the garage without doing anything after a season of hard riding, you’ll find your sled will be in much better shape come your first ride next season. We’ve put together a few important steps you should consider before tucking your sled into bed to ensure it gets a good sleep this summer. By performing a few items of maintenance before storing your snowmobile, you can save yourself a few headaches come winter and greatly extend the life of your sled.
- Change Oil: Change out the chain case oil. If you have a 4 stroke sled, change the engine oil and oil filter with the recommended oil for your machine.
- Clean it Up: Take it to a spray car wash if you can and rinse off all the grime and debris from the track, runners, and body. Clean off under the hood and engine area, but be careful if you’re using a high pressure nozzle as it can force water into electrical components. Keep the nozzle at least 5 feet away to avoid damaging anything. Depending on how greasy your engine is, you can use an engine cleaner as well. Remove clutch cover and belt and clean pulleys with a clean rag or shop towel and some light duty solvent.
- Dry and Wax: Dry everything off and give your hood a coating of wax to protect and extend the life of your plastics. Avoid petroleum based wax which can affect the finish.
- Grease and Fog: Make sure to grease the sled at all grease zerks (see photo) with special attention to suspension components. Grease will not only lubricate, but prevent corrosion by keeping out water. Also get an engine fogging product to keep corrosion and moisture off of internal components. Doing so will help prevent early engine failure. Some engines like the E-Tec have a program that will fog the engine with extra oil for storage. Check your owners manual for specific procedures for your sled. It’s also a good idea to coat the metal parts with a light coating of oil from a rag or lube spray to keep moisture off and prevent rust. Use just enough to give the metal a light coating. (should not be dripping off the frame) Do not get any lube on the clutch or CVT components or belts.
- Stabilize Gas: Add some fuel stabilizer to your tank to keep the fuel from deteriorating over the summer. Follow the directions on the bottle for the correct mixing procedure. Topping off the tank with fuel is not necessary.
- Jack it Up: It’s a good idea to keep the skis and track off the ground for the summer by suspending the sled from your garages ceiling if possible (may sound strange, but we’re serious). If you can’t hang it, prop the tunnel up with something and also place something under the body to keep the skis off the ground. Doing so will keep pressure off the suspension and keep the skis and track from deforming under the weight of the sled all summer. Keeping the skis off the ground will help rust on carbides, especially if the sled is stored outside.
- Keep the Critters Out: Rodents and other creatures sometime find their way into your sled for the summer. Steel wool works well at keeping mice out of the exhaust, and dryer sheets or moth balls around the sled will help deter other furry and creeping things from finding a summer home in your snowmobile.
- Remove Battery (if equipped): Take out the battery and put it on a float charger to extend the life of the battery and ensure it’s in good order when you go to ride your sled when winter comes.
- Cover It Up: UV rays from the sun will deteriorate the rubber in your track and fade your plastics. If you don’t have a garage or shed to store the sled in, use a good quality snowmobile cover. Waterproof but breathable covers will help prevent moisture from building up on the sled and components.