When cold weather moves in across the snowbelt and flakes start to fly, winter-loving snowmobile enthusiasts focus full attention on hitting the trails. The excitement of riding can cause some riders to overlook basic steps in snowmobile maintenance and care, like deep-cleaning your machine.
The varying conditions your snowmobile sees throughout a single riding season are probably some of the harshest any vehicle endures, and can quickly tarnish the appearance of your pride and joy. Thoroughly cleaning your snowmobile and protecting it against the elements isn’t difficult, but to do it right takes some time, attention to detail and knowledge about what products to use for the best results. The following tips can be helpful before, during and after the season.
The very best place to start your detailing process is to remove the drive belt from its clutches. Removal will isolate your belt from any cleaning product over-spray, which could impact performance while riding. While the belt is off, this is the best time to clean and inspect it. Using hot, soapy water, scrub the belt with a heavy-duty scouring pad to remove any belt dust and glaze. Inspect the surfaces for any deformities, including loose cords and flat spotted areas. Once cleaned and inspected, hang the belt to dry as this will be the last thing you re-install.
Before the suds and water start flying, it’s a good practice to also remove the seat. Some seat removals are easier than others, so you might opt not to remove it. Either way, you should try to keep your seat dry so there’s no chance of the seat foam freezing later. To bring back vivid vinyl colors, clean any scuffs and dirt from the seat cover with a soft terry cloth and some vinyl, leather and rubber cleaner. Refrain from using oil-based protectants such as tire shines that can create a slippery, dangerous surface on the seat.
The last things to detach from the snowmobile are any bodywork panels that can help you reach the engine bay more easily.
By this point, all your accessible areas should be exposed for a thorough degreasing with a concentrated industrial-strength cleaner/degreaser. It’s always a safe practice to follow the instructions on the degreaser before spraying your engine, insides of belly pan and skid-frame components. Avoid spraying delicate areas such as plastic bodywork and windshields. Rinse your degreased areas with hot water from a hose nozzle or pressure washer. If using a pressure washer, take care when spraying around electrical components, connections and other sensitive areas.
It’s finally time to give your snowmobile a show-shine bath. Hot water and a dedicated car wash soap produce the best results. Use a soft terry cloth wash mitt and lightly rinse your entire snowmobile afterward. Dry with a microfiber towel to avoid scratching any delicate surfaces.
Your local auto parts store is busting at the seams with wax options, which can be overwhelming. But believe it or not, one of the best, most readily available waxes is lemon oil furniture polish. Spray your snowmobile bodywork and external chassis liberally (except for your seat), and then wipe everything down with a soft terry cloth.
Apply Quicksilver Corrosion Guard Heavy Duty to your painted and non-painted surfaces on suspension components to help prevent rust from forming on the metal and hardware. For best results, spray it on in even, thin coats. Corrosion Guard Heavy Duty dries to the touch in 20 minutes and is ready to go in 24 hours, creating a barrier to moisture and salt. Reapply if your snowmobile components are subjected to harsh chemicals from trailering, slushy snow conditions or other trail grime.
Now that your snowmobile is protected and shining again, don’t forget to reinstall your drive belt and reattach all bodywork and the seat, if you’ve removed it. And before you throw on the storage cover, make sure you take some time to admire your shining handiwork.