How-To Guide

How to Prepare a Snowmobile for Summer Storage

 Posted: March 11th, 2020

When last year’s Farmer’s Almanac promised a “parade of snowstorms” for the 2019-20 winter season, it wasn’t kidding. After an unusually warm winter peppered with heavy snowfall, it’s time to resign ourselves to the fact that the snowmobile riding season is over and it’s time once again to get our sleds ready for summer storage.

Here are a few simple steps that will keep your snowmobile in great condition and ensure that it’s ready to hit the trails next year, hopefully with more favorable winter weather.


Clean and Wax the Outside

Towards the end of the season, as snow starts to melt, your snowmobile can pick up quite a bit of mud, slush, and road salt on the trails. This build-up of moisture and salt is a recipe for corrosion and is not something to leave until next winter. Keep your paint and parts rust-free 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

Storing your sled with a full tank will reduce the risk of condensation forming and water getting into your fuel system. Unless your snowmobile will be in a temperature-controlled environment with low humidity, storing it with an empty tank can cause the seals and the gas gauge float to dry out and become compromised. Most snowmobiles these days have fuel-injected systems that need gasoline to stay lubricated and protected, especially if they are not being used. Fill the tank up and add a fuel stabilizer like Sta-Bil or Seafoam to prevent gasoline solvents from breaking down and corroding the carb, which can sometimes be seen at the start of the season in the form of green gunk. For older models that use a carburetor system, some sledders firmly believe in completely draining the fuel tank before storage. Be sure to research which type of fuel system you have so you can make an informed decision about what will work best for your sled.

Fog the Engine if Needed

Fog the Engine if Needed

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 to prevent engine failure and protects internal parts from air, moisture and corrosion. If you start your engine up once a month while in storage, fogging the engine isn’t necessary, however if you know your snowmobile will be sitting all summer and you won’t start it up, then it’s a good idea. There are a couple of different ways to fog an engine, so be sure to research the way that bests for your snowmobile make and model.

Drain the Carburetor

Drain the Carburetor

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 metal.

Grease Lube Points and the Chassis

Grease Lube Points and the Chassis

Prevent moisture from getting it and creating rust 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, and the like, use WD-40 or a similar lightweight oil. Be sure not to get any on the clutch or belts.

Tip: When you’re getting ready to ride again, wash everything down with a degreaser to remove any oily residue.

Remove the Battery and Belt

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 trickle charge the battery

Remove the drive belt to reduce the risk of condensation building between the belt and the clutch. Taking it out will keep the belt from setting to its installed shape on the snowmobile, which might prevent it from rotating properly when you’re ready to ride again. Make sure to store the belt unrolled.


Cover the Snowmobile and Raise It Off the Ground

When stored on a cold garage floor, there’s a change that condensation will climb up your snowmobile and result in rust. Ideally, your snowmobile should spend the summer of a set of snowmobile dollies. This will not only keep the sled off the ground, but will make it easier to move around if needed. 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 intake, cooling system intake and outlet holes with steel wool. Mothballs over the hood also make a good deterrent for critters. Cover your snowmobile with a soft, lightweight, fitted cover that will prevent scratches or moisture build-up. By raising it up, you also allow the suspension to relax, and you prevent potential stains on the floor of your garage.

Run Your Snowmobile for a Few Minutes Every Month

Run Your Snowmobile for a Few Minutes Every Month

Every month until you take your snowmobile out of storage, make a point to start it up and let it run for a few minutes. This will help prevent sediment from settling, and seals from drying out.

If you follow these simple steps, your snowmobile will stay in peak condition during this year’s off season, and you’ll be better prepared when it becomes time to get it ready and hit the trails later this year.