Pre-Season Snowmobile Maintenance Checklist

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The winter season is one of the best times for people who love to play in the snow. As the first few flakes of snow begin to settle, the pre-winter season maintenance of snowmobiles should begin. Snowmobiles are seasonal, and this means that the snowmobile parts may need a little bit of attention since you’ve abandoned them for a full cycle. Proper maintenance of your snowmobile improves your safety, boosts the machine’s performance, and enhances durability. Ahead of the winter season, this article has been put together to guide you through a series of maintenance checks and tasks to do before rolling out in the snow.

Grease Everything

Your snowmobile has been abandoned for a full cycle and this means that some of the moving parts may be a bit rusty. More importantly, they may have built up rust or lost their lubrication. Cranking your snowmobile up and expecting it to deliver full power after a year of dormancy can be asking too much from it. A good way to ease your machine into action is to grease and lubricate all the parts. Lubrication will help reduce friction around the moving parts.

When lubricating your snowmobile, some of the important areas to pay attention to include the steering components, front and rear suspensions, the driveshafts, etc. Lubrication and grease application can be made less stressful when you purchase or rent a grease gun. The process is fast and simple and can be completed in about ten minutes.

While applying your lubricant, check for the Zerk fittings on each of the components. If you can’t find it, consult your owner’s manual for directions. Once found, pump new grease into the Zerk until it is filled and spilling. 

Change Chaincase Lube

The chaincase is one of the most forgettable parts of your snowmobile. The chaincase is also predisposed to friction and that is why you should especially lube this area up. Failing to lube the chaincase appropriately can affect the safety and performance of your snowmobile. In fact, constant friction may lead to heavy damages that can cost you a lot of money to fix. It is recommended that you change the chaincase lube every year to ensure that the chain and sprocket are getting enough lubrication despite the low temperature.

Depending on the sled you have, some can be drained by pulling the chaincase cover while others have a drain plug in the crankcase. Drain the lube in the case, remove the cover, and clean the case using a degreaser and a clean rag. Fill up the case with grease after you’ve completely removed the metal shavings and sludge stored in the case. 

While cleaning the chaincase, you can also check the condition of your chain and sprocket. If your chain’s teeth are worn, now may be the best time to replace them.

Adjust Chain Tension

While cleaning and refilling the chaincase, take a good look at your chain to determine its health and tension. If the chain appears too tight, loosen it up to the normal tension. If it is too loose, tighten it up to improve speed and performance. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual if you aren’t sure about the appropriate chain tension.

Check Wear Rods and Carbides

Your skis are important to your fun and enjoyment this winter. Take a careful look at them to determine whether they are in good shape. While examining the skis, check how much cutting edge your carbides have left. You may need to replace them if they are flattened off.

Check Your Hyfax and Sliders

Many Hyfax sets come with wear indicators that give you a good idea about their health. Once you notice the Hyfax are used up, swap them out for new ones. Swapping them out is a great maintenance practice that’ll keep your snowmobile functioning perfectly until the next season.

Check Drive Belt and Clutch Sheaves

As you proceed to the more technical parts of your snowmobile inspection and maintenance checklist, you should learn to pay more attention to the subtle details. Your drive belt is an important part of your snowmobile and should be thoroughly scrutinized during your pre-season inspection. Check the drive belt for any loose cords or defects. A belt that has lost its shape or form can compromise your snowmobile’s performance and should be replaced. If your drive belt is glazed, take a scuff pad to remove it. While inspecting your drive belt, pay attention to your clutch sheaves too. Clean and scour the clutch sheaves with a scuff pad if necessary. 

Replace the drive belt after cleaning it and the clutch sheaves. Check the belt defection and run the sled for a few minutes while observing the belt in action. Engage your clutches to ensure that they’re perfectly functional and take a short trip to confirm everything is in good condition.

Check Cables

Actuate your cables by squeezing and releasing both the brake and throttle levers. Inspect and make sure that the cables are moving smoothly with no stickiness. Check to see if your throttle cable opens and closes properly. Also, check your brake cable to be sure it is activating and deactivating well.

Inspect Brake and Fluid

The braking system is an important part of your snowmobile. It slows down and brings the sled to a halt when you need it to. Check to see how much of the pad is worn and replace as appropriate. Check the brake fluid too and top it up if too low. Ensure that your brake fluid is changed annually to keep your snowmobile safe.

Check and Top Off Coolant and Engine Injection Oil

Check your coolant level and engine oil. Top off both or completely drain and replace thin engine oil. 

Inspect Function of Shocks

The shocks on your snowmobile help withstand pressure when moving through rough terrains. Check the shocks to ensure that they’re functioning properly. Lubricate your shocks if they appear frozen or replace them if they are worn out completely.

Check Lights and Electricals

The lights and electrical system on your snowmobile should also be checked. Make sure that all bad lights are replaced to improve safety, especially for night use.

Keep your snowmobile safe and in good condition ahead of the winter season by checking off all of these points. You can also purchase snowmobile parts from

Straightline Performance, 15250 Hornsby St. Forest Lake Minnesota 55025, 651-466-0212

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