If your snowmobile breaks down, repairing it could turn into a long, expensive process that keeps you off the trails for weeks and smacks your wallet especially hard. Fortunately, there are a few things that might ease the pain.
You might be wondering: Who does this magazine editor guy think he is? He’s trying to come off as some sort of an expert about snowmobile dealerships?
Hear me out.
Before walking through the doors of the Snow Goer magazine office 10 years ago, all wide-eyed and curious about a new segment of the snowmobile industry for me, I worked at a busy snowmobile/ATV/motorcycle dealership in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Most of my hours were logged in the service department, but I looked up parts and placed orders at the parts counter for a little more than a year, too. I learned a lot about snowmobilers and people in general. I assembled trailers, wrote work orders, plowed snow with a four-wheeler, filed warranty claims, repaired sleds, drove a forklift and wrote crash repair estimates during seven years of employment there. Based on that experience, here are some tips that will help speed up the repair, reduce costs and improve your own experience.
1. Have A Good Attitude — Many dealerships and shop personnel will go the extra mile for someone who has a good attitude and is easy to work with. Smile, be friendly and be patient.
2. Provide Full Disclosure, Be Specific — Tell the person who will write up the work order an accurate account of what happened when your sled broke down. This could help reduce the amount of time a mechanic needs to spend under the hood to diagnose the problem, saving you money and helping to get your sled on the trail sooner.
3. Agree On A Bill Limit — A pre-set repair bill limit can speed up the process. Determine with the service writer how high the bill can climb before the shop has to call you and get the ‘OK‘ to fix it. This way if the shop figures out the problem and solution, the mechanic won’t have to wait for approval before making the repair.
4. Know (Exactly) The Year And Model — If you’re going to do the work but you need to pick up a few parts, the surest way to make sure you get the WRONG part is to be vague about which snowmobile it is that you need said part for. You might not notice specification changes to clutch weights or heim joints, for example, until you try to install the wrong part, which means you’ll have to return it, re-order and wait for the right part to come in a few days later.
5. Be Realistic — If it’s the middle of the season and there’s a lot of snow on the trails, chances are good that the shop will be backlogged. So, have realistic expectations about your snowmobile repair’s timeline. Crash jobs, for example, take a lot of time because they involve insurance companies, authorizations and parts that aren’t usually in stock.
Have you discovered ways to improve the snowmobile repair experience? Share them in the ‘comments’ section below.