What you need to know before buying a snowmobile

March 7, 2015

A snowmobile is a major investment, and includes its share of responsibility. Research everything you need to know before deciding on a purchase.

What you need to know before buying a snowmobile

Snowmobiling: a national pastime

Hockey is widely considered to be our national pastime, but with snowmobiling booming in popularity, technically that’s not quite the case. Our climate is a premise for several winter sports, and snowmobiling is very popular with fun-loving Canadians.

Price tags vary considerably from one model to another, and because of this, buying a used snowmobile is a huge money saver. In a country so conducive to snowmobiling, options are numerous and the cost of a new machine can range anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000.


Most Canadian provinces require that snowmobilers be licensed and insured. Snowmobiling permits are fairly easy to obtain and are available through a federation or a snowmobile club. Permits and trail passes usually cost a few hundred dollars and must be renewed annually. A traditional license (Class 5) is also required for snowmobilers who ride (even briefly) near a road or highway.

Safety rules and regulations

Although snowmobiling is a seasonal motor sport, laws and safety codes still apply.The minimum driving age for a snowmobile is 16.It’s strictly prohibited to operate a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol, and helmets are mandatory.

Models and test drives

Are you ready for a snowmobile? There are several models to choose from, including new and pre-owned machines. Horsepower and torque are the main influencers when it comes to price point. Due to the significant variance in pricing, if you’re looking for a leisure ride then there’s no need to invest in a high-performance engine.

Like all vehicle purchases, insist on taking it out for a test spin. This shouldn’t be a problem, and most dealers and sellers will accept your request without hesitation. If not, consult with an expert including mechanics, friends and acquaintances — anyone with an astute knowledge of snowmobiles.

Before shopping around, get a clear idea of the features and benefits you’re looking for (i.e., fuel economy, comfort and traction). Next, visit specialty shops and local dealerships to browse deals and promotions.

It’s recommended to do business with a recognized vendor that has a reputation for after-sales service. It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind when making an investment that's guaranteed to return countless hours of winter fun.

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