|Off-season storage requires preventative measures to prolong the service life of your engine and other components. Proper storage preparation greatly improves/prolongs the life of any sled.
1.) Clean Machine
Clean all areas of the machine with a mild soap and warm water to completely remove all salt and dirt. Don’t use harsh detergents or high-pressure washers. Pressure washers force water into bearings and seals, and some detergents deteriorate rubber parts. Dish soap is a safe and inexpensive cleaner. Temporarily place duct tape over areas such as the ignition switch and air box intake to keep water out while washing.
2.) Stabilize Fuel
Check your manufacturers recommended fuel products with reference to fuel stabilization. Follow the instructions on the container for recommended amount. Allow 15-20 minutes for the stabilizer to disperse through the fuel in the tank. Start and run the engine long enough to be sure the stabilizer is distributed throughout the entire fuel system.
3.) Protect Metal Parts / Exterior Metal Surfaces
Spray all exposed metal parts including shock absorber shafts with a rust preventative such as WD-40.
4.) Grease / Lubricate
Remove the weight from front and rear suspensions and grease all fittings with an all season grease. Removing weight from the component being greased will help purge water and dirt from shafts and bushings and allow the grease to penetrate the entire joint. Grease the jackshaft bearing, tie rod ends and steering post.
5.) Fog The Engine (NOT recommended for 4 strokes, see below)
Moisture is the number one enemy of an engine in storage. Water vapor is a by-product of combustion, and this, combined with condensation and combustion acids can result in rust and corrosion during storage. Check manufacturers recommended products with reference to engine Fogging Oil and follow instructions. Make sure the spark plugs are put back to prevent moisture/dirt/critters from getting into the cylinders.
6.) Drain Carburetor Bowls
Shut fuel off and drain carburetors into a suitable container or shop towel by removing the water trap plug or bowl drain plug. Be sure to follow all fuel handling precautions outlined in your owner’s manual.
7.) Drive Belt / Clutches
Remove drive belt from machine and store in a cool, dry location away from sunlight. Wipe the clutch sheaves with a light rust preventative to prevent oxidation. Attach a note to the drive belt reminding you to clean the clutch sheaves with a non-oil based solvent (lacquer thinner or alcohol) before installing the belt later. Don't spray lubricant inside the clutch sheaves. It is important that the internal rollers roll, not slide.
Elevate and safely support machine with track and skis off the ground to minimize spring fatigue. It is recommended that the track be loosened slightly as well. It is not necessary to loosen the track to the point of it dangling from the skid frame, simply take the tension off.
9.) Battery Maintenance
See battery maintenance article in your owners manual. Remove the GROUND cable (black one), and tape it up for safety. Remove the battery and store it in a cool dry location. You may also want to apply a trickle charger to the battery periodically throughout the summer.
10. Storage Area / Covers
Be sure the storage area is well ventilated. Cover the machine with a fabric tarp. Note: Do not use plastic or coated materials. They do not allow enough ventilation to prevent condensation and may promote corrosion and oxidation.
For those of you who ride 4 stroke machines, the process is basically the same, except for step 5.
4 STROKE Step 5): Do not fog the engine, drain the crankcase oil and replace the filter.
Before you go riding REPLENISH ALL FLUIDS AND TIGHTEN ALL THINGS 'LOOSE'.
Tape a "To Do" list to the handlebars so you won't forget when the snow flies.
top of page