Tips to repair your snowmobile at home and in the shop

December 15, 2014

Whether you plan to take your snowmobile to a repair shop or repair it yourself, here’s what you need to know to get you back on the trail fast.

Tips to repair your snowmobile at home and in the shop

As soon as there is enough snow on the ground, snowmobilers all across the country hit the trails.

But a lot of Canadians don’t know how to properly maintain or repair their snowmobile throughout the year. Regular engine service and maintenance is essential if you want your snowmobile to always be ready to go.

That means you should inspect your snowmobile every time you go for a ride. Check the engine, the oil, and make sure you have enough gas to reach your destination.

Next, you should regularly look over your snowmobile to make sure everything is in good working order. Set the chain tension, and grease it if necessary. Inspect your Hyfax (the slippery surface on the bottom of the suspension rails) and make sure they’re not worn past the “limit line”. Make sure the skis have good wear bars underneath your snowmobile and ensure there is carbide on each bar. Check your lights to make sure all your tail lights and brake lights are still visible.

At least once a season, or every few hundred miles, you could check your clutches, brake pads, wheels and bearings, suspension rails, torque arms and hardware. You should also adjust the track and align your snowmobile skis.

Tips if you’re going to do your own snowmobile repairs:

  • If you are going to take your snowmobile into a repair shop, tell the mechanic an accurate account of what happened when your snowmobile broke down. This could help reduce the amount of time a mechanic needs to spend under the hood to diagnose the problem, which will save you a costly bill.
  • Talk to the repair shop and get an accurate quote. Also ask if the repair shop can call you if the repair is going to be pricey. That way they will need to call and get your approval to fix it any unforeseen costly repairs.
  • If it’s the middle of the season and there’s a lot of snow on the trails, chances are good that the shop will be backlogged. So, have realistic expectations about your snowmobile repair’s timeline and be patient with the repair shop staff.
  • Own a copy of your snowmobile manufacturer’s repair manual. This will tell you exactly what you need to do, and the parts you need to do it.
  • If you need to pick up a few parts, make sure you know the exact model of your snowmobile and the year it was manufactured. This will ensure you get the right part the first time you go into the repair shop.
  • Keep a repair kit in your garage. A basic repair kit consists of work gloves, nuts and bolts sized for your snowmobile, extra wrenches, a pry bar, a spare belt, wire, duct tape, tow rope, extra ignition keys, spare spark plugs, and your manufacturer’s tool kit.
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