As temperatures warm up, it's time to store your snowmobile away until next season. Before you put your sled into hibernation, you should follow a few simple steps that will keep it in great condition and ensure that it’s ready to hit the trails next year.
Clean and Wax the Outside
As you near the end of the season and the snow starts to melt, your snowmobile can pick up quite a bit of mud and slush on the trails. That, in addition to road salt, can cause build up on your sled, and it’s not something you want to leave until next winter. Avoid paint and part corrosion by using warm soapy water and a sponge to thoroughly clean your snowmobile, making sure you clean under the hood, and get into every nook and cranny. For the outside, use a high-pressure washer to clean off the track, runners, and suspension. Once everything is clean and dry, apply a coat of wax to extend the life of your snowmobile parts, and make it easier to clean in the future.
Maintain the Fuel System
For fuel injected snowmobiles, fill your tank up and top it off with a fuel stabilizer, like Sta-bil or Seafoam, to prevent gasoline solvents from breaking down and corroding the carburetor. Run the engine for a few minutes to ensure that the stabilized fuel is spread throughout the engine. Storing your sled with a full tank will reduce the risk of condensation forming and water getting into your fuel system. For carbureted models, you’ll want to completely drain the fuel tank before storage.
Fog the Engine
Make sure you’re outside or in a well-ventilated area when fogging your engine. This process coats the inside of your engine with oil, preventing engine failure and protecting internal parts from air, moisture, and corrosion. To begin, remove your air box, air box removal varies depending on the brand and model of your sled, so make sure to research how to do it correctly. Once the air box has been removed, start the engine. With the engine running, spray the fogging oil into the throttle body. Continue this until thick white smoke comes out of the exhaust, or until the engine begins to sputter.
Drain the Carbs
Remove the carburetor float bowls and drain any excess fuel. This will keep the fuel from evaporating and creating a chalky residue that could block passageways, or damage the metals.
Grease Lube Points and Chassis
Prevent rust from forming by adding grease to any point with a grease fitting, making sure that the fitting is full. For exposed surfaces, such as suspension rails, exhaust, nuts, bolts, and the like, use WD-40, or a similar lightweight oil. When you’re getting ready to ride again, wash everything down with a degreaser to remove any oily residue.
Remove the Battery and Belt
Take out the battery and put it in a safe, temperature controlled area, out of the sunlight. You can either use a battery tender to keep the battery charged while not in use, or you can charge the battery once a month with a small charger that is rated at no more than 2 amp/hr.
Removing the drive belt will prevent damage to the belt and the clutches, and reduces the risk of condensation between the belt and clutch. It keeps the belt from setting to its installed shape on the snowmobile and not rotating properly next season. Make sure to store the belt unrolled.
Cover and Raise it off the Ground
When stored on a cold garage floor, condensation could climb your snowmobile and result in rust. Ideally, your snowmobile should spend the summer on a set of snowmobile dollies. This will not only keep the sled off of the ground, but will make it easier to move around should you have to. To prevent rodents from making a home in your sled, you can scatter dryer sheets around to repel mice, and stuff the muffler outlet, carburetor air intake, cooling system intake and outlet holes with steel wool. Cover your snowmobile with a soft, lightweight cover that will prevent scratches or moisture buildup.
If you follow these simple steps, your snowmobile will stay in peak condition during the off season, and you won’t have to spend as much time getting it ready to hit the trails next winter.
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