Snowmobile pre-season check-up

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Get your sled ready to ride
Keep in mind

Get your sled ready to ride

Chances are your snowmobile has been stored away for several months. If you want to be ready to hit the trails when the first snow falls, you should make sure to prepare it for smooth riding.

It’s a wise idea to follow the pre-operation instructions in your owner’s manual. But here are a few things to watch for when you get your sled out of storage in the fall.

Fuel: If you left old fuel in the tank over the summer months without stabilizing it, the old fuel should be drained and replaced with new fuel. Be sure to top up your fuel each time you head out.

Oil: If you have a four-stroke engine, an oil change is recommended.

Fuel lines: Check if there appear to be crystals in the lines. This is a sign that your fuel lines should be replaced.

Air box: Clean your air box and filter. When getting your sled out for the season, look for mouse nests in the air box and be sure to clean them out before you start the engine because they could be very harmful to the engine.

Pilot jets: An indication that the pilot jets are plugged is when the engine only runs with the choke on or with the throttle held above ¼ throttle.

Cooling system: Does your sled have a fan or water-pump belt as part of its cooling system? If so, consult your owner’s manual to determine the correct tension. Your belt should also be checked for cracks and glazing and to make sure it is not shiny – which is a sign that it has been slipping.

Throttle, brake pads, fluid level: Don’t overlook these. They should all be checked.

Wiring harness: Make sure there are no bared wires caused by a rodent chewing on the wires.

Recoil rope: Make sure it is intact, with no fraying.

Drive belt: Check the condition, and make sure to have a spare. If it needs changing, remember this must always be done with the engine off. Check the drive belt before each trip. Avoid having to change it in the field, but if you must, make sure to read the owner’s manual for instructions.

Track: Ensure the sled’s track is not ripping or coming apart. Take a look at the tunnel to make sure the studs are not ripping through into the fuel tank or coolers. Check for coolant leaks by running the sled in a dry garage until the system is warm.

Track tension adjustment: A track that is either too loose or too tight can wear out more quickly.

Suspension: Sliders or hyfax should be checked for wear and deterioration, and all suspension parts need to be looked at for obvious damage. If any suspension parts are bent or broken, they need to be straightened, repaired or replaced. They can be ordered from a snowmobile retailer or replaced by your dealer. All required idlers should be present; make sure to replace any that are missing.

Ski alignment: This should be checked at the same time as the track tension. If your snowmobile pulls to one side, follow instructions for proper ski alignment.

Carbides: Inspect them carefully. All worn or bent carbides should be replaced.

Brakes: Due to normal wear, your brakes should be adjusted periodically.

Ignition: Spark plugs are an important part of snowmobiles; your sled won’t run without them. Always carry extra ones with you.

Lights: Check the headlight beams on both high and low beam settings. Make sure the brake light and taillights are working.

Chassis lubrication: This should be done using high-quality, low-temperature grease several times during the snowmobiling season in order to prevent corrosion and wear on steering and suspension components.

Keep in mind