Spring is my favorite time of the year to ride for a few reasons:
- I can sleep in and start at noon and still get a full day in
- Cool face tans that reflect the amount of time I spent sitting around and not riding
- Going dirt biking after sledding
- Sled camping
All the sun and warm temps can wreak havoc on your machine, so maintenance is the key to finishing off the season problem free; here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned to help ease the wear and tear on a snowmobile in the spring. In the morning, the snow on the trail in can be similar to the material tanker ships are made of; making it difficult for scratchers to do their thing and kick up snow to cool off the engine and lubricate the sliders and track. The snow on the side of the trail can also be rock hard and not conducive to dipping off to the side to pick up a bit of fresh powder but if you stop and tip your sled over and spin the track on its side it will cut through the ice crust and kick some of the softer snow underneath into your skid to cool things off.
Incorrect track tension can lead to premature wear as well; too loose and it will ratchet on the drivers and too tight it will wear the sliders faster and generate more heat. Track adjustment is done at the back using the tensioners on the bogey wheels; check your owner’s manual for manufacturer’s specifications.
The clutches generate a lot of heat in the warmer temperatures that can lead to premature wear of the moving parts as well as the extra stress on the belt. Make sure belt deflection is set correctly and used compressed air to blow out the clutches frequently; clutch alignment will also lead to premature wear and belt damage and this is an adjustment that can be done if you have the tools and knowledge or just drop it off at the shop for a professional opinion. It is also a good idea to give the belt and clutches a break to cool off every so often, throughout the day.
The roads going into sledding spots get muddy so if you only use your cover once in a while because it’s a hassle, spring is the best time. Dirt and grime from the road gets on your shocks and if you don’t clean them off, the dirt gets ground into the seals and can blow them out causing leaks. Dirt and road salt isn’t good for the electrical stuff on your bars and elsewhere on the sled as well so covering your machine can help prevent electrical problems as well.
As the sledding season closes, dirtbiking and atv season starts; a few weeks of overlap combined with great spring camping makes the next little while some of the best opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Sledding during the day and dirt biking in the evening is a reality with the longer days, and the receding snow line in Golden is opening up more dirt trails every day. Multisport days are the best part of being in Golden. Hope everyone has a great summer and see you next winter.