For some of our readers, snowmobile season is wrapping up, but for others, it still has a few months to go. With that in mind, it’s time to take a closer look at your machine. A few moments in the garage will help ensure the rest of the season is just as great as the start.
Track tension – The track needs the right amount of tension, not too tight or too loose. Too tight will cause damage to your suspension, and too loose will cause a loss of performance. Also check for wear, and replace if needed.
Ski alignment – Just as in a car, needing an alignment will decrease performance and can be hazardous. Adjust to factory specs.
Check your clutch – Take a look for corrosion, and knock it out with a rough sponge or stiff brush, NOT sandpaper. Hit it with some 3-in-1 oil while you’re down there.
Replace belt as needed – This is a common maintenance item, and should be checked every season to see if it needs replacing. If it starts to show wear, replace it and keep it for an emergency spare.
Grease suspension components – Hit all grease fittings with proper weight grease. Pretty much every movable part is going to need some motivation to keep moving freely, so apply liberally.
Spark plugs and chaincase – Look at the plugs to ensure they are undamaged and not covered in corrosion or soot. Check the chaincase to make sure oil is at the proper level and not dirty or dark. Since you are in there, pop off the housing and take a look at the air filter. Replace as needed.
Clean the carbs – Sure, you can go all out and remove them for cleaning, but that is more pre/post season maintenance. For mid-season, just hit them with some carb cleaner and call it a day.
Fresh gas – Fill the tank with fresh 93 octane (or what your manual recommends). Try to find ethanol free, if it is available in your area.
Consult your owner’s manual – The owner’s manual will keep you on schedule and let you know what maintenance is needed next, and when it is due. Keep track of dates you did the maintenance, and keep receipts for parts in the back, if you do not have a separate filing system.
Consider a shop manual – If you want to know how the factory techs do it, look around for a factory service manual, or “shop manual.” They list every maintenance item you could possibly do to your sled, complete with exploded diagrams. The down side is they are expensive, and hard to find. A better solution is Clymer Manuals, which are pretty much factory service manuals at much lower price — and there’s even manuals for vintage snowmobiles.
That’s 95% of ongoing maintenance. The other 5% is a mix of common sense, and recommended service, so pay attention to your manuals. Stay safe and have fun.