Regular maintenance is a must if you want your snowmobile to function at its best. You should take care of several must-do services at regular intervals to get peak performance and reliability from your sled.
I’ve been an avid snowmobiler for decades, and I have years of experience riding and repairing these machines. I’ve learned a lot about maintenance services over the years, and I know which are necessary to keep your sled in good shape.
This post will provide you with a checklist for completing all the must-do services. Whether you have the mechanic skills to do them yourself or you take them to a shop, getting everything here taken care of is critical for your snowmobile’s long-term health and performance.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- 1. Pre-Ride Inspection
- 2. Chaincase Oil and Adjustment
- 3. Change Oil/Check Oil Line
- 4. Inspect Coolant System
- 5. Grease Suspension and Skidframe
- 6. Replace Filters
- 7. Inspect Carbides/Wear Guards
- 8. Inspect Exhaust System
- 9. Track Adjustment/Ski Alignment
- 10. Clutch and Belts
- Snowmobile Maintenance Checklist
1. Pre-Ride Inspection
Before you fire up your snowmobile, a pre-ride inspection is a good thing to get in the habit of doing. You want to look all over your machine for any signs of wear, damage, or things that need attention. Check for loose bolts, fluid levels, rust, worn belts, leaks, etc.
While many people don’t take the time to do this, I always view a quick inspection as insurance that you won’t get stranded or damage your machine beyond repair. It only takes a few minutes and is very worth it. You’ll also learn more about your machine when doing this.
2. Chaincase Oil and Adjustment
All of the parts within your chaincase need to be adequately lubricated to function correctly and not wear out. You need to change the oil within the chaincase about once every season to ensure it doesn’t degrade.
Changing the chaincase oil is very simple and involves a drain and fill. If the oil is really dirty, you know you’ve waited too long to replace it, so note your intervals and don’t go as long next time. You also want to adjust the chain to the proper tension.
3. Change Oil/Check Oil Line
If you have a 4-stroke engine, you’ll need to change the oil. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for the interval on this, but know that it’s an important maintenance task that shouldn’t be neglected.
If you have a 2-stroke machine, you don’t need to change the oil because it is mixed with the fuel. But you can inspect the oil line to make sure it’s not cracked or corroded. This can be a part of the pre-ride inspection as well.
4. Inspect Coolant System
The coolant system on your snowmobile is another critical maintenance item that should be inspected frequently. If you have a fan-cooled machine, you’ll want to ensure the coolant level is at the right mark and look for any leaks or damage.
If you have a fan-cooled machine, inspect the fan assembly, belts, and pulleys for any signs of wear or damage. You might need to replace a belt or fix a cracked assembly every so often. But you don’t want the fan to fail on the trail, so preventative measures are ideal here.
5. Grease Suspension and Skidframe
Grease is your friend with many of the moving parts on your snowmobile. Without it, you can expect premature wear and other damage that could have been prevented. So regular greasing of the suspension and skid frame is recommended.
Some riders will grease the skid frame as often as every other ride. If you ride on roads where they use road salt or other corrosive products, this is a good idea. I probably grease mine about every month during the season.
You just need a grease gun to do this job, and get underneath your sled and hit all the zerks until they are adequately greased.
6. Replace Filters
Your snowmobile has a couple of filters that should also be changed every so often. The fuel filter and air filter help keep debris out of your engine and fuel system, and if these get clogged up, it will affect performance.
The fuel filter should be changed according to your manufacturer’s recommendations, and once a season or longer should be fine. The air filter can be cleaned instead of replaced using compressed air, but you’ll want to replace it if it gets too dirty.
7. Inspect Carbides/Wear Guards
You also want to inspect the carbides or wear guards on the bottom of your skis. When these get worn down, it can have a negative effect on the handling and control of your machine. This is an important safety issue that also affects performance.
Wear guards are pretty affordable and easy to replace, so learning how to do that job is a must for any DIYer. If you have carbides, you can sharpen them up in the shop and get extended used before it’s time for a replacement.
8. Inspect Exhaust System
Inspecting the exhaust system is another important task, and this mainly involves a quick glance at the exhaust manifold beneath the sled. This can be part of your pre-ride inspection, but I always like to keep it in the regular checklist as well.
If you notice any rust or holes in the exhaust system, it’s better to take care of those sooner than later. They aren’t going to get any better without repairs, and a damaged exhaust not only makes your sled really loud but can also limit performance pretty considerably.
9. Track Adjustment/Ski Alignment
Track adjustment and ski alignment are also important maintenance tasks that should be done regularly. You want to make sure that you have the proper tension in your track, or else you can damage the tunnel and other internal components.
Track adjustment is necessary if you have a new snowmobile or track because this part will stretch out initially. Once you have the track properly adjusted, make sure that the skis are aligned because your sled won’t operate at its best if they aren’t.
10. Clutch and Belts
The clutch is a critical component of your sled, and it needs to be functioning correctly for everything else in the drivetrain to work. You should inspect the clutch belts every season for any signs of wear and replace them when necessary.
Getting proper tension on the belts is also important, so you need to know how to adjust this if you are going to replace them yourself. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for information on how to properly tension clutch belts.
Snowmobile Maintenance Checklist
Here’s a checklist of all the must-do service items you’ll want to take care of regularly on your snowmobile. You might want to print this page out and keep it with your sleds for a quick reference.
- Pre-ride inspection before every ride to check for anything out of place or broken.
- Make sure that the chaincase has fresh oil and the chain is adjusted correctly.
- Change your oil at regular intervals if you have a 4-stroke and inspect the oil line on 2-strokes.
- Inspect the coolant system. Check for coolant levels on a liquid-cooled machine and check the fan assembly and belt on a fan-cooled machine.
- Grease suspension and skidframe for best performance and reliability.
- Replace the fuel filter regularly and clean the air filter a few times every season.
- Inspect carbides/wear guards. Sharpen or replace when needed.
- Inspect the exhaust system for any signs of damage or wear.
- Check the track to ensure it is adjusted properly with the ideal tension. Make sure the front skis are properly aligned.
- Inspect the clutches and belts for any signs of wear. Replace belts if needed or scour clutch sheaves for better performance.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions relating to snowmobile maintenance services.
What maintenance does a snowmobile need?
All of the checklist items mentioned here are necessary to ensure proper performance and better reliability from your snowmobile. Completing these items regularly will help your sled last long and perform at its best.
How often should you grease your snowmobile?
You can check your manufacturer’s recommendations for the suggested grease intervals, but getting in the habit of greasing your skidframe and suspension around every 500 miles is good. Depending on how and where you ride, you might want to grease more or less frequently.
How often should you change chaincase oil in snowmobile?
I typically change the chaincase oil at least once every season. This will ensure that fresh oil is available to keep all of the internal components within the chaincase adequately lubricated. If you don’t change the oil often, you can expect premature wear from these parts.
Snowmobile maintenance may seem like a lot, but it’s essential if you are going to own one of these incredible machines. All of the tips and suggestions here will help you keep your snowmobile in excellent operating condition to help you have the most fun in the snow.
If you learn how to do all of these yourself, you can save a lot of money and understand how your sled operates to keep it running a full capacity as long as possible.About Chaz Wyland