Spring Layaway

Prep your sled the right way for summer storage.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

I have a friend who prepares his old yellow Ski-Doo for the off-season by simply removing the key. I prefer to take a more proactive approach to summer sled storage, following a routine that will protect my investment while saving me trouble and money next season.

1. Avoid Gas Pains
Left untreated, today's volatile gasoline will oxidize in just a few weeks, leaving behind a goo that can clog up carburetor jets. To avoid this problem, drain the old gas from your tank, add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer and fill the tank completely with fresh fuel. Run the engine for a few minutes to get stabilized gas into the fuel system.

2. Fog It Up
Before shutting down your sled, treat the engine with fogging oil to prevent bearings from corroding during storage. Spray fogger into each carb throat or EFI throttle body while revving the motor. (When thick white smoke billows from the exhaust, you're doing it right.) Shut down the motor as you are spraying so the fogging oil doesn't burn off. Complete the engine layup by draining fuel from the carb bowls.

3. Clean and Dry
Wash the sled to remove grit and road salt, especially from the suspension. A spray-off motorcycle degreaser like Dirt Squirt will remove oil film and belt dust from the belly pan and engine. Rinse thoroughly, as some degreasers can corrode unfinished aluminum surfaces. Apply a liberal coating of WD-40 to the rear suspension to prevent corrosion on shock rods and springs, and hit all the zirks (grease fittings) with a grease gun.

4. Take The Belt Off
Remove the drive belt. If moisture collects under the rubber belt, it will leave a ring of abrasive corrosion on the clutch sheaves. It's fine to store the sled on its track unless the machine has a deep-lug powder track (paddles may bow over if the track is not raised during storage).

5. Air It Out
I park my sleds on wooden pallets so air can circulate between the track and the concrete garage floor. I then cover them with old fitted bedsheets, which breathe so condensation won't collect on the sled. Never store a snowmobile under a waterproof cover or a plastic sheet, even if it's outdoors.

When the snow falls again, start your sled on the old spark plugs to burn off the fogging oil. Then install fresh plugs and you'll be ready to ride.