Common Snowmobile Problems and How to Fix Them

Enjoyment of a ride on a sled can be fun and relaxing. However, this relaxation can quickly turn sour if your snowmobile breaks down on the trail. If you don’t have the necessary snowmobile parts for replacement or the technical know-how, your planned snow ride can feel like a boot camp. Whether you’re a novice snowmobile driver or a seasoned veteran, there are some common snowmobile problems you should be aware of. It’s best to be prepared to prevent such problems from ruining your snowmobile experience whenever you decide to hit the trails.

Minor Issues 

As with any mechanical gadget, sometimes the problem is just a minor one, calling for you to check a few things and tweak some buttons. It would be ridiculous to get worked up when your snowmobile starts acting up only to discover that the issue was a minor one. For example, sometimes, your snowmobile may fail to start because there isn’t enough gas in the tank. If proper maintenance procedures are followed regularly, you can solve such an issue.

Suppose you’ve left gas in the tank several months earlier; this might also cause the engine to clog up, making it difficult to start the snowmobile. It’s always best to drain out the old gas and replace it; Thus ensuring that the snowmobile doesn’t start due to a jam-up.

In addition to issues with old gas, several minor issues can also arise:

i)Ineffective Coolant: You may have failed to replace the coolant from the previous season, causing the snowmobile to fail to start. Ensure that you use a glycol-based coolant for your snowmobile; This ensures that it doesn’t cause rusting or acid buildup within the snowmobile’s cooling system.

ii) Motor Oil Issues: It’s crucial always to follow the manufacturer’s guide regarding the exact type of motor oil to be used for your snowmobile; This will help you avoid many frustrating moments later on.

iii) Loose Bolts and Wiring: Sometimes, your snowmobile may fail to start due to something as simple as a slightly loose wire. Ensure always to check that such wiring, along with their nuts and bolts, is appropriately secured to avoid engine startup failure.

Major Issues

Sometimes the issue is beyond a loose bolt or wiring. In such instances, you have to go deeper to find out what’s failing your snowmobile from starting.

Such significant issues can include: 


Overheating is a major problem. Usually, it is a sign that something is wrong with the cooling system. When there isn’t enough snow, this can also cause overheating. Such overheating usually occurs at the beginning of the snow season.

Other common causes of overheating include faulty wiring or a clogged exhaust pipe, all of which can cause problems for a sled.

The solution to this can be as simple as turning off the snowmobile; you should immediately do this after noticing the sled has begun to overheat. Insufficient coolant levels can also lead to this. Ensure that the coolant level is optimum. If not, replenish it. The engine oil can also cause overheating, especially with a 4-stroke snowmobile. Ensure to check it too.

A heat exchanger is a crucial component of a sled’s temperature control system. It utilizes fluids to control the heat within the engine. Dirt, debris, or physical damage can cause it to malfunction, resulting in overheating. Ensure that the heat exchanger is in good working condition when troubleshooting overheating.

Sleds that use fans for cooling can also overheat; This usually occurs when the environmental temperature isn’t low enough to cool the engine.

Drive the snowmobile into deep snow when overheating occurs in such fan-cooled sleds. Throw as much snow as you can on the tunnels—the side running boards on which riders place their feet. It’s always advisable to have the right kind of snow gloves to prevent hand injury due to frostbite.

2) Flooded Engine

A flooded engine is a common problem with snowmobiles with a 2-stroke engine; This might be because these engines have two stages (revolutions) to complete one power stroke, unlike the 4-stroke types. The spark plugs necessary to start the engine can become damp due to snowy conditions, common at low engine speeds. Notably, unusual engine noises and gas smells should alarm you to a flooded engine.

A simple solution is to let the excess fuel evaporate before restarting the engine. A half an hour is more than enough time for this.

If you’re in a hurry, hit the kill switch. Remove the spark plugs and clean them thoroughly to eliminate dirt and moisture. You should be good to go when you put the spark plugs in.

Of course, having spare spark plugs will save you the trouble of removing and cleaning the ones in use.

3) A Malfunctioning Clutch System

Preventing a problem can be much better than having to resolve it later. A clutch system problem is one of those things best avoided; This is because you can’t usually fix this problem with a standard toolkit available aboard a snowmobile. Several reasons could be responsible for a drive belt to fail. For example, if the drive belt disintegrates, a simple repair won’t suffice. 

You may need to replace it thoroughly to get the clutch system working again. It’s always best to check the drive belt, its edges, and lugs before you hit the snow trails; This ensures that you don’t have to deal with a clutch system malfunction in the middle of nowhere.

When faced with these common snowmobile problems and more, you’ll inevitably need reliable spare parts to ensure efficiency and longevity for your sled. Straightline Performance offers you reliable aftermarket accessories for your snowmobile. With an extensive stock and experienced technicians, we can help to pinpoint the exact issue with your snowmobile, providing the fitting spare parts in the process. Contact our experts at

Straightline Performance,

15250 Hornsby St. Forest Lake Minnesota 55025,


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