The season for snowmobiling has already edged into starting, with a few storms having already occurred in some places across the country, making it the best time to make sure that all of the right safety precautions have been taken to ensure a fun and safe ride both on and off trails.
According to the Maine Snowmobile Association’s executive director, Bob Meyers, as soon as a few storms have occurred, people already start to get their snowmobiles out to ride around in fields and other open spaces. As things truly get moving, though, it’s important to be prepared so that the first trip on the sled – and every one following it – will be legal, safe, and fun.
Remember that the machine hasn’t been used for three seasons, and while you may be inclined to just leap on and hit the trails the first time there’s a good snow, the sled may not yet be safe. Snowmobiles need a careful check after having been placed in storage since last winter. There are many small mistakes that can be made that can greatly affect the performance of the vehicle.
For example, if fuel was left in the snowmobile’s engine all spring, summer, and fall, it may have left a buildup on the carburetor, minimizing the amount of gas that can flow through it.
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To properly check the vehicle for safety, start by giving it a good visual examination. Check for evidence of nesting by squirrels and mice, who love to make homes out of the sleds in the warmer months. Next, check the throttle and battery, and examine all of the various suspension components to make sure that they’re still in good condition. Look over the ski runners for the same reason.
Make certain that the carbides on the ski runners get a good bite into the ice and snow so that you’ll be able to make the turns you want. Verify that there’s lots of material left on the sliders or your track will dig into the suspension rail, leading to expensive (and possibly dangerous) damage to your machine.
If you don’t feel confident with your own knowledge for this check, take your snowmobile over to a local shop, which will be able to give it a good pre-season checkup, as well as adjust the drive train and change the chain case oil to make sure that you’re all set. Then make sure you’ve got the proper equipment like a helmet and the right snowmobile gear to rough the cold temperatures. If renting, ask the rental place about the proper attire a few days before your adventure so you can prepare yourself properly.
Lastly, check with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate snowmobile insurance coveage. Liability insurance might be the last thing you want to think about when having fun but if something goes wrong, you’ll be happy you addressed it before, because there is no after when it comes to insurance.