How to Clean a Snowmobile
A snowmobile is a lot of fun for your winter riding needs. It lets you zip around snowy terrains with ease and efficiency and a bit of adrenaline. When it comes to caring for this innovative and fun machine, the matter of keeping it clean is crucial. Let's take a closer look at the basics of how to clean a snowmobile with these 10 tips.
1. Degrease under the hood
One of the biggest things in how to clean a snowmobile is knowing how to deal with the grease issue. Snowmobiles require a good deal of lubricant to protect important parts from the damages of riding in such wet conditions. While all the lubricant is essential to protection, it can build up over time and create a thick layer of gunk under the hood. It is important to clean this area with a trusted heavy-duty degreaser and remove those layers from the exhaust ports and oil reservoir. For these tricky areas, you will want to leave the solution to set for a few minutes to give the degreaser a chance to work and then rinse it away. If there is still considerable gunk, repeat the process until it is clean again. After the exhaust port and oil reservoir are clean, you can use a grease-cutting cleaner to spray other important areas prone to grease buildup such as the exhaust pipe heat shield, air box, and nose pan. You will want to let this solution sit for a few minutes as well before rinsing off the solution.
It is important to note that while most electrical components on modern snowmobiles are made to handle moisture, you should still take care not to spray water directly into electrical areas.
2. Use the right soap
Too many people use a harsh cleaner on their snowmobile because they think stronger is better. This leads to damages to the paint job of your sled and can even corrode important components to the point of destroying crucial elements. There are snowmobile soaps on the market to make sure you get the right soap for the job. Some people even use a mild dish detergent mixed with warm water. This can strip any wax on the hood so make sure you reapply wax to the hood after if you take this approach. When washing your snowmobile, you should use warm water and a soft cloth to scrub any areas where dirt or buildup is present. Make sure you thoroughly rinse the soap off when finished.
3. Pay special attention to the nose pan
The nose pan can take on a lot of build up which is why you need to pay extra attention to it while cleaning. After you spray it down with the first round of cleaner and warm water, inspect it for signs of buildup still being present. If your ride isn't that dirty, one go of the cleaner might be enough, but in more extreme cases, there will be additional work. If the nose pan still has dirt on it, apply an additional layer of cleaner and start gently scrubbing with a stiff bristle scrub brush to start working away the grime. If you have really tough stains, such as exhaust residue, you may need to use a contact cleaner or even carburetor cleaner to remove this buildup. Prior to using any cleaner that is on the stronger side when dealing with a stain, test it out in a small spot to make sure it won't wear away at the paint job.
4. Clean steering elements
Another important element in how to clean a snowmobile is dealing with the steering components. The spindles and ski saddles are particularly vulnerable to build up and grime since they are greased up as part of routine maintenance. If you never clean off that grease to start fresh, there will inevitably be a good deal of gunk and buildup. The excess grease can accumulate additional build up during the natural course of riding such as dirt, sand, and road salt which only complicates matters later on by eroding components.
To clean these elements, you want to use a damp towel and soapy water. Start by removing the caked on gunk with your finger and then spray it with the cleaner. From there, use the towel to start wiping away the excess layers of gunk. Once the spindles and skis are free from gunk, you can add a new layer of lubricant for a fresh start.
5. Tend to metals
The metal parts such as suspension rails and tunnel should be thoroughly cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft bristled scrub or towel. Many people skip over cleaning the suspension rails, but your snowmobile will look its best when all aspects of it are cleaned every once in a while. It will also help to prevent buildup on this important part of the vehicle.
6. Thoroughly dry
When you are done washing and scrubbing your snowmobile, make sure you dry it thoroughly. If you leave it wet, you could leave it vulnerable to rust or other damages. If you leave it in the sun to dry, make sure you at least wipe down the metal components with a dry towel first.
7. Pay special attention to nuts/bolts
Whenever you clean your snowmobile, you should take the opportunity to check the nuts and bolts to make sure they are tightened and not stripped. You can also use this time to add any lubricant needed for areas with O-rings.
8. Restore luster to vinyl/plastic areas
With a little WD 40 and a towel, you can add a nice shine to vinyl or plastic areas to bring back some of the original luster of the vehicle. This is an extra step that is purely cosmetic but can go a long way in upping the overall appearance of your ride.
9. Wax/polish it up
You will want to polish the hood of the snowmobile to work out any surface scratches or dull areas. Once that is done, you can add a thin layer of wax which will act as a barrier and give the hood a nice shine.
10. Cover when not in use
Finally, when you are not using your snowmobile, it should be properly covered and stored somewhere safe. If you leave it exposed to the elements, you run the risk of damages, rust, and corrosion. A good cover made specifically for snowmobiles is always an easy fix to this concern.