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As winter approaches and temperatures continue to drop, more and more people are getting excited about having fun in the snow. After all, there’s really nothing better than taking advantage of the snowfall and heading out on cold-weather adventures. One of the best ways to have fun on a powder day is to jump on a snowmobile.
If you own a snowmobile, it’s important to get it ready for the snow of the year. That means keeping up with routine snowmobile maintenance.
Here, we’ve provided a comprehensive snowmobile maintenance checklist that will help keep your machine in top shape no matter how cold it gets outside. Keep reading to discover insight into how to take care of a snowmobile before you fire up your sled for the first time this winter.
This is one of the basics of maintaining your snowmobile. Fortunately, it will only take a few minutes. The purpose is to inject fresh grease into the zerks of the chassis. Make sure to hit them all, including in both the front and rear suspension, the steering components, the driveshaft, and the jackshaft. This will ensure less friction and smoother overall performance.
It’s important to understand that chaincase lube tends to break down rather easily during the heating and cooling cycles. In fact, it can easily become contaminated with metal slivers and water.
The key is to drain the chaincase oil, and then add fresh oil so that the chain can run as smoothly as possible. You’ll also need to make sure that the chain tension is correct. Because a loose chain could skip sprocket teeth or grind on the sprockets.
Next, you’ll need to take a look at the taillights and brake lights. These are incredibly important for safety. After all, trailing riders will need to be able to see you, especially in snowy conditions and periods of the day or night when natural light might be limited. When riding, having the extra visibility the headlights provide can potentially save you from colliding with an oncoming object. Replace any bulbs that are burned out before beginning your ride.
Now let’s inspect the brakes. After all, you need to have confidence in your stopping power during a ride. Lacking the ability to stop your vehicle is never a recipe for safety.
Pop the hood on your snowmobile and locate the brake fluid reservoir. Top the fluid off as needed.
It’s also important to inspect the engine and the ground beneath the snowmobile for any signs of leakage. That’s because brake fluid is extremely corrosive and could do serious damage to your machine.
As you top of the fluid, watch for drips. If you happen to notice any drips or signs of internal leaks, clean them up with a rag, and consider having your engine inspected by an experienced mechanic as soon as possible. Corrosion damage can result from long-term leakage, and needs to be addressed before it grows into a greater concern.
The purpose of the drive belt is to transfer energy from the snowmobile engine to the tracks. Thus your drive belt is important for proper operation out on the snow.
Take the time to closely inspect your belt for signs of cracking or fraying. Any signs of wear and tear need to be taken very seriously, and you should get the belt replaced ASAP.
It’s also a smart idea to travel with a spare drive belt so that you can swap it out in the field in case of an emergency.
Never take the condition of your drive belt for granted. Otherwise, you might find yourself stranded out in the cold with a long walk from the house or your truck.
Next, you’ll need to check your cooling system. The owner’s manual for your vehicle should list the specifics.
The key is to make sure the fan or water pump’s belt is in ride-ready condition. Look at the belt for the fan to see if it looks shiny. A shiny belt could be an indication that the tension has been slipping.
Do you see visible signs of fraying? This is a major red flag and shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, a fraying fan or water pump belt should be replaced as soon as possible in order to prevent the engine from overheating.
The simple fact is you won’t be able to ride your snowmobile if the skis are damaged.
The key to ski maintenance is to inspect them for signs of damage or misalignment. This inspection should be performed on a flat surface to ensure accuracy. If you do notice damage, the damaged ski should be replaced before your next ride.
Keep in mind that a damaged ski is a significant safety hazard and shouldn’t be ignored. You should replace the wear bars if you notice a missing cutting carbide.
When your shock absorbers have trouble moving, you’ll notice in a hurry. That means it’s time to replace them.
If your snowmobile has gas-powered shocks, have them rebuilt as soon as the nitrogen runs out. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to change or recharge your shocks every 1,000 miles or once or a year, whichever comes first. Just keep in mind that the quality of your shocks will directly impact the smoothness of the ride.
Don’t forget about the steering. After all, you’ll find it difficult to control your snowmobile when the steering doesn’t function properly.
A few other things you’ll want to add to your maintenance checklist include replacing filters, changing spark plugs, pulling debris from the air box, checking the oil, hydraulic and throttle lines, cleaning the carburetor, and tightening any loose parts that could lead to major problems.
Take the time to study the owner’s manual. The more familiar you become with your machine, the faster and easier this preventative maintenance process will be. After all, you don’t have to be a mechanical genius to keep your snowmobile in great running condition.
Winter sports are a great opportunity to make the most of snowy weather. Fortunately, this snowmobile Maintenance checklist will help you have the best wintertime experience possible.
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