You’ve probably been eyeing up your sled recently now that the nights are crisp and leaves are falling. So now’s the time to roll it out under the autumn sun and wash it — thoroughly! Get down on your-hands-and-knees clean the suspension rails, degrease the engine and spindles and polish the hood. Here’s how.
Snowmobile Cleaning Supplies
This job can be done with simple cleaners that you already have under the kitchen sink or in a garage cupboard. Car wash soap, a spray cleaner like Simple Green, engine degreaser and a can of WD-40 is all you’ll need. If plastic or metal parts need to be restored, add polish and wax to that list. For supplies, you’ll need a bucket, sponge, scrub brush and a hose with good water pressure. Have a clean towel to dry the sled and shop rags on hand, too.
Spray engine degreaser on the exhaust ports and near the oil reservoir and allow it to break down the mess for a few minutes before rinsing. Spray a grease-cutting cleaner like Simple Green on everything else under the hood, including the exhaust pipe heat shield, air box and bellypan, then use a hose to rinse the surfaces with water. If necessary, re-apply the degreaser and rinse again until the water runs clean. Avoid spraying water directly on electrical components. Fire up the engine and run the track around a few times to spin-dry the pulleys.
Wash the hood, tunnel, seat and nose pan with a rich, soapy lather — preferably with warm water Dish soap works well, but it will cut any wax or polish that might be on the hood. If you wash the sled under direct sunlight, do a small section at a time to prevent spots and streaks. Rinse the sled until water runs clean.
Spray a mist of Simple Green on the nosepan to break down the dirt, then use a stiff-bristle scrub brush and more soap and water remove the grime. Really stubborn stains — like exhaust residue — will need to be rubbed down with contact cleaner and a rag or scuff pad. Test an inconspicuous area to make sure the cleaner or pad doesn’t damage the surface.
Cleaning Other Snowmobile Parts
Remove the grease near the spindles with a finger, then wipe them clean with a shop towel. Regularly use a clean portion of the towel to prevent smearing the grease you just removed. With the grease gone, spray the spindles and skis with Simple Green, scrub them with soap and water and a stiff brush, then rinse.
Spray aluminum parts like the suspension rails and the tunnel with Simple Green and allow them to soak for a few minutes. Then scrub the parts with warm, soapy water. You’ll be surprised at how well the rails shine up with a little elbow grease.
Snowmobile seat covers can be restored with a little extra effort. Spray WD-40 on a shop towel and rub the vinyl to clean it and bring back its clean appearance. This works on handle bar pads, too. You can also use WD-40 to restore the shine of under hood heat-deflection tape and to detail plastic nose pans or side panels. When you’re done cleaning/shining the plastic, rub the A-arms and steering rods with the towel. This will clean the parts and protect the metal from corrosion while restoring their shine.
To shine the hood, first polish the hood to remove the dull finish and fine scratches, then rub in a good coat of wax to make it shine. Revive bare aluminum with a metal polish. A quick light coat will restore its factory appearance, or rub until your arm falls off to make it look like chrome.