With the snowmobile season in North America about to begin, enthusiasts no doubt are raring to go, jump on their machines and hit the trails at the first sign of white stuff.
But be wise, dear riders, for it pays to take a few minutes to conduct some pre-season checks or preventative maintenance to ensure your machine is in tip-top shape the entire season long, not just for the first run.
Something to keep in mind is that even though your sled may be prepared for the first ride of the season, it is every rider’s responsibility to keep his or her machine in top condition right up until the last ride of the season. To do this you need to give your machine some basic in-season maintenance, not only so that we can enjoy a full winter’s worth of riding, but also to provide us with a little peace of mind when we find ourselves 150 miles—or kilometers, for our Canadian and European friends—from nowhere.
A few pre-operation checks should be considered before each and every ride. The most obvious check is for fuel and oil. Be sure that both are topped up before you head out.
Other fluid levels that are often overlooked are the engine coolant and brake fluid. It is worth the few seconds it takes to verify the brake fluid in the sight glass of the master cylinder, and anti-freeze level in the reservoir tank. Both of these levels should be between the ‘low’ and ‘full.’ It is imperative to check the engine coolant level when the engine is cold to prevent an inaccurate reading (as well as the chance of being burned by hot coolant).
Other daily checks include:
-Throttle lever operation
-Throttle override system
-Engine stop switch
-Drive best (always remember to carry a spare belt and plugs)
-Drive track alignment and tension
-Sliders, skis and carbides
Once these items have been checked, you can start the engine. Once it has warmed up, check the operation of the headlight beam switch for both ‘hi’ and ‘low’ beam settings. Verify that the brake and taillight are both operational.
Another item of interest is proper chassis lubrication. Though this is not a procedure that must be executed before every ride, it should be done at least two or three times over the course of the season. Use high quality, low temperature grease. By doing this, you will prevent premature wear and corrosion on steering and suspension components.