Winter is over- at least we think it is. It looks like May is actually going to provide us with some days over fifty degrees and no major snowstorms and, if we’re lucky, there might be some lakes in southern Minnesota with enough breaks in the ice to actually go fishing for the opener. Now I am waiting for a nice day to summerize the sled and put it away for the off season.
Summer storage is an essential part of keeping your snowmobile ready to go and in good running order and how you do it makes all of the difference in the world. Follow these simple steps and you will be very happy next fall.
1. WASH AND WAX YOUR SNOWMOBILE: This is a crucial thing to do in my opinion. Undoubtedly your snowmobile has picked up some salt and grime from road crossings or ditch banging or trailering and you need to get rid of it before it starts eating away at the metal and rubber. Just like a car, your snowmobile can use a good waxing also. Waxing your sled protects the hood and the metal and helps repel dirt, dust, water and to top it all off it makes your sled look sweet on the trails. As you are washing your sled it is a great time to check for loose bolts and broken parts, it’s better to fix that stuff now than to be caught off guard at the beginning of the season when we get that first big snow (Yeah right, like that ever happens).
2. FUEL STABILIZER: It is essential to put fuel stabilizer in with the gas in your tank. For years it was common practice to run the tank dry but now the consensus is to fill your tank and add fuel stabilizer, this keeps moisture from building up in your tank and keeps all of the fuel lines fresh. Make sure you run the engine for a while to get the fuel stabilizer throughout the system to protect everything.
3. GREASE AND LUBE EVERYTHING: I always like to grease my sled up after I have cleaned it, it gets any water out of your joints and protects everything from corroding. This is also when I change out my chain case oil and basically perform all of the other maintenance that should be done on the sled so when winter hits you are 100% ready to go. I know a lot of guys that spray things down with WD-40 as well because it helps repel moisture over the summer and keeps things from rusting. I’ve found this to be a pretty effective tool.
4. PROTECTANT ON THE PLASTIC AND RUBBER: I always put Armorall on the plastic and rubber and it has helped keep everything in pristine condition. There are a variety of other sprays available at your dealer that you can use as well that are specifically designed to shine and protect your sled.
5. FOGGING/ SHUTTING DOWN: Several new sleds have a summer shut down procedure built in, it’s always a good idea to fog your engine too as it just keeps everything protected.
6. COVER IT UP: Once everything is dry it is best to cover your sled to protect it from dust and sun damage.
7. A LIFT: Ideally if you can get a sled lift and get your sled up off the ground it does wonders for prolonging the life of your suspension. If a snowmobile lift isn’t in your budget rollers are also nice and they make it easy to move the sled around the garage. At the very minimum you should get the track off the ground- yes it puts added pressure on the front suspension but the only thing in contact with the ground will be your carbides and those are a lot cheaper to replace than a rotted out track.
8. REPLACE AND REPAIR ANYTHING BROKEN: Summer is a great time to work on your sled, primarily because it is not 20 below zero
9. VISIT YOUR SLED AND START IT ONCE A MONTH: People will argue about this one but on the first of every month I go out and start up all of my sleds and run them for a few minutes (Don’t run them too long because they will overheat quickly) I find that this keeps everything moving and keeps your snowmobile an overall a happier machine, it also gives you the opportunity to check for mice as they like to build nests in a nice comfy snowmobile chassis protected by a snowmobile cover. The best part of your monthly sled visits is that it keeps your winter blood flowing and keeps your sled from getting lonely while it waits month after month for it to snow.
If you follow all of these tips you will be the first one out when winter comes while everyone else is scrambling to get their rides ready and you can spend summer nights in your garage with a beer knowing that when the temperature starts dropping that adrenaline machine in the corner will be ready to go.