We snow lovers feel a twinge of sadness when the spring thaw arrives and turns the snowmobile trails into mush. When it’s time to put your sled away for the season, follow these snowmobile summer storage tips to ensure it’s ready to hit the snow again come winter.
Snowmobile Summer Storage Checklist
Clean Your Sled Prior to Storage
Wash your snowmobile with mild soap and a non-abrasive brush to remove any dirt, mud or other contaminants. Let it dry thoroughly prior to storage.
Change Oil in Four-Strokes
If you own a four-stroke sled, change the oil and filter prior to storage. Oil collects contaminants and acidic byproducts during the season. You want to remove those contaminants so they don’t spend the summer inside your engine causing corrosive wear to bearings and other parts.
Refill with a good synthetic snowmobile oil, such as AMSOIL Formula 4-Stroke® Synthetic Powersports Oil, and install a good filter.
Fog The Engine
Some two-stroke sleds include a setting that fogs the engine for you using the engine oil. Check your owner’s manual for instructions.
For sleds not equipped with that technology, fog the engine the old-fashioned way – using a can of fogging oil, such as AMSOIL Fogging Oil.
Fogging oil coats the cylinders and pistons with oil to help protect corrosion from forming and scouring the piston skirt, bearing surfaces and other parts when you start the engine in the fall.
Check your owner’s manual for engine-fogging instructions. It’s best to run the engine and spray fogging oil into the intake to distribute it throughout the intake and engine. But accessing the intake can be a struggle, so be sure to at least remove the spark plugs and spray a little oil into each cylinder. Turn the engine over by hand a few times to distribute the oil.
Check/Change Chaincase Oil
Now’s the ideal time to check the chaincase oil. A milky appearance indicates water contamination. Look for metal particles, too. Check the owner’s manual for the service interval and change if needed.
Use a chaincase oil formulated specifically for the task, not an automotive transmission fluid or gear oil. Tranny fluid isn’t formulated with extreme-pressure additives to guard against wear, while gear oil is often too thick to circulate properly, reducing power to the ground. AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil is perfect for the job.
Changing chaincase oil is typically a simple process on most sleds, as we show you in this video.
Protect Plastics & Vinyl
Protect the hood, dash and other plastics with silicone spray to help prevent drying and cracking from UV rays. The same holds for the seat, lights and tunnel. This is an especially important snowmobile summer storage tip if you store the sled outside. AMSOIL Silicone Spray works great for this task.
Stabilize The Fuel
To store with a full tank of fuel or not? That’s a point of contention among some enthusiasts.
Storing with a full tank helps keep out moisture, but there are drawbacks. Say you store your sled in an enclosed trailer all summer. The inside can get hot as the sun beats down during the day. Things expand in the heat, including gasoline. The gas can seep out of the vents and stink up your trailer, not to mention make a mess of the sled.
Running the tank nearly empty prior to storage leaves plenty of room for water infiltration if you store the sled outside. A faulty gas cap can allow water into the tank to cause all kinds of problems, like deposits that foul up the fuel-delivery system and cause hard starting or rough running.
One rider I talked to said he once pumped a half-tank of water out of a snowmobile gas tank one fall after it had collected rain water all summer through the breather.
No matter what, stabilize the fuel as part of your snowmobile summer storage process. Stabilizer protects against oxidation that leads to varnish and gums that clog fuel passages, which reduces performance and can prevent starting. It keeps components clean for maximum life while ensuring your sled fires up in the winter and you don’t waste time removing bad gas from the tank.
AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer is a great choice. As the image shows, it guards against corrosion while fighting oxidation.
It’s also a good idea to use an additive that protects against ethanol issues, like phase separation and corrosion, if using ethanol-blended fuel. AMSOIL Quickshot® is formulated to prevent phase separation, where ethanol/water mixtures drop out of the solution and cause fuel-system problems.
Determine Storage Location
Where your sled spends the summer has a big influence on your snowmobile summer storage process. Ideally, store your snowmobile in a climate-controlled garage or shed protected from the elements.
As one who has spent much of his life without the luxury of any garage, let alone a climate-controlled garage, I get it – outside storage is often unavoidable.
If you store your snowmobile outside, guarding against corrosion brought on by rain and humidity becomes a key challenge. Aluminum, exhaust components, bolt heads and other metal can corrode over the summer.
Apply a coating of a good metal protector, such as AMSOIL MP, on metal parts to create a barrier that will lock out moisture and protect against corrosion. Hit all the metal parts, but avoid plastic, clutches and the belt. Coat the skid frame, too.
While you’re down there, grease the fittings with water-resistant grease, such as AMSOIL Synthetic Water-Resistant Grease. It resists water and snow infiltration to remain in place and protect components against wear.
Elevate The Sled
Wherever your sled spends the summer, elevate the track off the ground by putting a block under the bumper. Gets the skis off the ground, too.
Check Power Valves
Most manufacturers recommend cleaning the power valves seasonally, but check your owner’s manual for the specific recommendations for your sled.
It’s best to clean them prior to summer storage to prevent carbon deposits from solidifying over the summer and becoming more difficult to remove.
Check out this post for how to clean snowmobile power valves.
Tend The Battery
Some electric-start sleds include a plug where you can attach a trickle charger to maintain the battery over the summer. It’s much easier than trying to access the battery.
If your sled doesn’t have this technology, do it the hard way – uncover the battery and attach a trickle charger over the summer.
Follow these snowmobile summer storage tips and your sled should fire up and be ready to go once the snow returns next winter.