A proper wash is crucial
As the weather warms and the snow begins to melt, there is little use for your snowmobile until the next winter season, and chances are that underneath that snow lies a lot of dirt and grime. Before you put your snowmobile to bed, it is important to give it a proper bath and clean it off thoroughly.
The grime and dirt may look harmless to you, but during the long months that the vehicle will spend in storage, these substances can corrode parts of the frame. There is a lot of salt used on the roads during the winter, which inevitably finds its way on your snowmobile, so even if your vehicle looks clean, it is still a good idea to wash it.
What’s more, a clean snowmobile will make it easier for you to look for cracks in the suspensions, chassis, and so forth. This provides you with the opportunity to make routine service a more manageable job.
The first step that you need to take before you begin cleaning the vehicle is to take the exhaust off. Plug the manifold using a paper towel and either zip-tie a bag or two over the opening or tape it over to prevent moisture from getting inside the engine. Now you can remove the belt and, once this is done, you should tape off the intake to protect the engine from water.
Once you have secured the manifold and the intake, you can either wash it at home or go to a self-service car wash. You should use a quality degreaser to spray the underside of the track, snow flap, sled, suspension, and ski. Let the degreaser soak for a few minutes, and wash it all down. This will help wash out all the brake and belt dust and the coolant and fuel overflow.
For the frame of the snowmobile, you can take soapy water and a sponge to scrub all the grime away. Try to be as thorough as you can and clean all the sports, corners, and other areas that you might be tempted to ignore.
After you’re done cleaning the snowmobile and everything looks clean and dry, you can apply some wax or silicone detailer to make it look as good as new. This will not only make the vehicle look all shiny, but it will also help repel dirt and grime in the future.
Fogging the engine
To prepare the engine for storage, you will need to perform what is called fogging, namely to add extra lubricant to prevent corrosion. This process is called fogging from the amount of white smoke that is caused by the extra lubricant, so it is advised to do this process outdoors or in an indoor area that is properly ventilated.
There are two ways that you can fog the engine, and both are fairly simple. The first one can be used only with oil-injected vehicles, and it requires you to pull the oil pump cable and hold it open while running the engine for about ten minutes. You will need to add a very rich oil mixture through the oil pump to lubricate the engine.
Newer fuel-inject models come with a fog mode built-in that you can activate easily depending on the brand of the vehicle.
The second method requires you to use fogging oil. Run the snowmobile with the airbox off, and use a bottle of standard 2-cycle oil or fogging oil and spray it down the throat of the carb or into the throttle body while the engine is running. You need to spray the oil for about ten seconds or until the engine sounds like it will choke out.
Then you should put the airbox back on and remove the plugs and spray some oil down the plug holes. If you use fogging oil, the process will be even easier since spray bottles come with directions that will tell you how to use the product to fog your engine.
Remember that when you start the sled back on in the fall, you should leave the engine running for a while and get new plugs to install so that you can prevent fouling.
Fogging the engine is recommended if you are the type of owner that will park the sledge in April and not use it again until late October or November. If you tend to start your sledge at least once a month, fogging isn’t necessary, especially since fuel-injected models are better equipped to prevent engine corrosion.
What do you do with the fuel?
A lot of snowmobile owners wonder if they should drain or top the fuel off before putting their vehicles in storage. The answer to this question depends on the type of fuel that you use. If you use non-ethanol fuel, then you should leave the tank at least half full and use a motor treatment solution that will dissolve and clean residues in the fuel system.
For ethanol-blended gas, you can use fuel stabilizers to stop the solvents from evaporating and allow the fuel to retain its octane. A full tank in this situation is better since it will help reduce the amount of oxidation to the fuel, and this will prevent condensation.
Proper battery maintenance during the offseason is mandatory if you want to keep it in good condition. The first step is to charge the battery fully before you store the vehicle. Make sure you do not overcharge since this can inflict damage to the unit. The best way to ensure that the battery is properly charged is to put it on a battery maintainer.
This device will check the voltage automatically and will charge it whenever it is needed. If you can’t use a battery maintainer, then you should check the battery voltage every thirty days during storage to see if charging is necessary.
Make sure to disconnect the snowmobile battery cable as indicated in the Operator’s Manual of your vehicle. If you don’t disconnect the battery cables during storage, it will cause the battery to discharge faster, and it will make it more prone to damage.
Lastly, store the battery in a cool and dry place since excessive heat will deplete the charge quickly. The storage place should not exceed temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and beyond. Before using the snowmobile, you should charge the battery again.
Where to store it
Now that you’ve made sure that your snowmobile is ready for storage, you should take the time to consider carefully where and how you will store it. The most important aspect is to make sure that the sledge is off the ground since if you store it directly on the floor, this will allow ground moisture to get to it, which can cause corrosion.
The springs should be unhooked, and the rear end needs to be jacked up to remove tension. You can use a snowmobile lift, wooden boxes, milk crates, or any other sturdy support to keep the snowmobile off the ground.
If there’s any hole that isn’t yet blocked off, such as cooling holes, make sure to block them since these small and warm spaces will tempt critters to make a home in them. It is recommended to seal them off using steel wool or other sturdy materials that can’t be chewed.
Another solution that people use to keep mice and other pests out of their snowmobile is to place mothballs under the hood. Similarly, make sure that the storage space that you choose doesn’t have any food that critters could be attracted by.
The ideal storage place is a cool and dry area, such as a garage or a shed. You also need to cover the snowmobile and, for this, you should use a soft cover that’s designed specifically for this purpose. You can’t just throw an old tarp over it since the fabric can trap moisture.
All of these steps are necessary and, even though they may seem time-consuming, they will save you a lot of time and frustration once winter arrives, and you can enjoy your first ride without encountering any problems.