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Preparing Your Snowmobile For Summer Off-Season

Preparing Your Snowmobile For Summer Off-Season

When you’re ready to store your snowmobile for the off-season, it isn’t as simple as parking it in the garage or storing it under a tarp in the backyard. Not taking proper care of your sled for the off-season can seriously damage both the exterior and interior. This could cost you a lot of money right at the start of your next season, which is not what you want to do. By taking the time to fully prep your snowmobile for months of inactivity, you’ll be able to get many more seasons out of your engine and battery. Here are the top objectives to complete before putting your sled to bed until the fall.

    1. Stabilize Fuel: If you’re lucky enough to primarily use non-ethanol gasoline in your snowmobile, be sure to leave half a tank. If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve probably had to use gas with ethanol. In this case, you need to stabilize the gas so it doesn’t damage or corrode the carburetors, gaskets, plastics, and other internal mechanisms. Fuel stabilizers help by reducing evaporation of the solvents in gasoline that make it volatile. Use Sea Foam® or Sta-Bil® to treat your gas, but ensure you follow the directions on the container so you add the precise amount needed. Once you’ve added it, turn your snowmobile on and let it run through the system for a few minutes.

    2. To Fog or Not to Fog: A lot of people ask this question in relation to their sled engine. Fogging is the process of coating the inside of an engine with oil to protect it against engine failure. It works to keep crankshaft bearings, rod pins, and more secure from air and moisture, which could easily rust during the offseason. Whether or not to fog your engine truly depends on your model’s owner manual. Consult it first to determine if this is a proper step. Arctic Cat specifically states that you should NOT fog 1100c engines. Many models have a self-fogging feature already built-in. In opposition to fogging, many opt to simply start their snowmobiles several times over the course of the summer, allowing them to run several minutes at a time.

    3. Perform A Full Bodily Assessment: Before placing your sled in storage, do a full assessment to determine parts you’ll need to replace before the fall. By being proactive, you’ll set yourself up to get all the parts you need before the new season. That way, you’ll be ready to go without finding those issues later on. Check over all of the studs, ball joints, tracks, brushing, and other crucial parts.

    4. Wash Your Sled: Washing your snowmobile will help preserve the look of it as well as make the rest of the storage process easier. After removing the exhaust and belt, spray the undercarriage with a quality degreaser to break down old grease and dirt. After allowing it to soak in, spray it down with a pressure washer to force all of the gunk out of small crevices. Once this is done, wipe it down with a microfiber towel. Wash up the plastic and wax it to keep looking fresh and preserved. Be sure to reattach the exhaust and belt.

    5. Grease and Lubricate the Sled: Now that your sled is all cleaned up, re-greasing it will be a much simpler task. Consult the user manual for the best oil to use for your model. Grease all the zerks in the rear and front suspension, as well as the steering and drivetrain components. Use a lubricator like WD-40® to lubricate skid and A-arms to ward rusting. During this process, change your chaincase oil and brake fluid if you haven’t already.

    6. Store on A Sled Lift or Dolly: If you’re able to, store your sled on a sled lift, jack stand, or sled dolly. This is crucial if you’re storing your snowmobile outdoors, as the ground’s moisture will get into the tracks and metal. Storing them on some type of lift will decrease the pressure on the suspension, springs, and shocks. Ideally, you want the track and skis to hang freely. The closer you can get to this, the better!

    7. Block Exhaust and Intake: As a precautionary step, block these open areas so as to prevent the entry of unwanted animals. Protect your sled and the critters by sealing the points of entry with an old rag, ball, or some type of cover. Remember to remove these barriers before starting the sled up.

    8. Use a Fitted Cover: A fitted cover will prevent water, debris, and animals from damaging your snowmobile. Plus, the tighter fit your cover has on the sled, the less moisture can seep into it.

    9. Store Battery in Cool, Dry Place: Lastly, take the battery out so it isn’t susceptible to moisture. Store it in an area that is cool and dry where you can hook it up to a trickle charger. This’ll keep your battery alive throughout the summer and will save you money in the long run. Invest in a trickle charger for all of your powersports batteries.

Now you can say goodbye to your snowmobile for a few months knowing that it’s protected and ready for the next season.

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