Can You Ride A Snowmobile In The Summer?

by Outdoor Diversions | Last Updated:   8 months ago
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It’s always such a bummer to have to put your beloved snowmobile away during the summer. Those few months can feel like forever, especially for avid riders. It can be so frustrating that some people have come up with a few ways to have some fun with their snowmobiles in the summer.

Can you ride a snowmobile in the summer? It is possible to ride your snowmobile in the summer in activities such as water skipping and grass drags, however, it is strongly recommended that you store it during this season instead.

Summer activities with your snowmobile can be fun for a short while – people have even created new competitions surrounding grass drags, specifically! Still, you must make responsible decisions when considering these activities and be aware of the risks involved. Below you’ll find a more detailed look at summer uses of your snowmobile, and instructions for storage should you change your mind.

Can You Ride A Snowmobile In The Summer?

Obviously, the norm among snowmobile owners is to store your snowmobile during the summer, as it is recognized as the “off-season,” a time when it is not ideal to operate your snowmobile. Of course, you are not required to do so, as it is entirely possible to ride a snowmobile in the summer. However, there are risks to forgoing this standard.

Can You Run a Snowmobile Engine in the Summer?

The body and the engine of the snowmobile were made specifically to be operated in cold, wet environments, therefore, you risk exposing your snowmobile to damage when operating during the summer season. Consequences that could occur include:

  • Sinking, if you are participating in “water skipping,” for example.
  • Damage to the external surface of your snowmobile if riding on grass or roads.
  • Damage to the internal components, especially the chassis, whether by lodged debris or water.

Snowmobilers are becoming increasingly creative with the use of their machines, though it is not always in their best interests. Sure, it may be fun for a moment, but when searching for summertime activities for your snowmobile, you must be cognizant of the risks and whether you can afford to take these on for a bit of fun.

Can You Ride A Snowmobile On Water? Water Skipping Explained

One of the most important rules of operating a snowmobile is to avoid crossing lakes or rivers. According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, one of the leading causes of snowmobile fatalities is drowning – and that does not change based on the season. Still, many snowmobilers have become enthusiasts for the new sport of “water skipping.”

This is when you ride your snowmobile across a body of water – yes, just as might assume, if you run out of momentum, your snowmobile will indeed sink. Although the recommended safety precautions for water skipping include the following, this is still a highly dangerous activity to take part in:

  • Closing off any potential points of entry for water into the chassis.
  • Only water skip in shallow bodies of water for easy recovery in case you sink

If you’re wrestling with the desire to use your snowmobile during the summer, you must simply weigh the risks against the benefits to determine whether such activities are reasonable for you to take part in.

Snowmobile Water Skip

Can You Ride A Snowmobile On Grass? Why Riding Across the Grass Is Bad

Many people have begun to expand the use of their snowmobiles by riding them across lush green lawns and fields in the summertime when there is no snow to be found. In fact, there have been entire sports events dedicated to what is now called “grass drags.” 

With grass drags, you need to set explicit limits to the use of your snowmobile, otherwise, you risk severe damage to the components. Even when you’re riding in designated zones, the risk of overheating your engine is always present, so you need to take care to pay close attention to speed limits and other cautionary policies of the area you’re riding in. 

You must always remember that a snowmobile is intended to be used on snow and ice only, so operating it outside of these environments will always come with inherent hazards, including:

  • Overheating of the engine
  • Dirt, rocks, sticks, and other debris becoming lodged between internal components
  • Damage to the exterior of your snowmobile from abrasive surfaces (i.e. pavement, rocks between patches of grass)

What to Do with Your Snowmobile During the Summer

Despite how intriguing these activities may seem, for inexperienced snowmobilers, they can introduce risks of serious damage to your vehicle. (Not to mention the expenses of customizing your snowmobile for use outside of snow!)

Because of this, the best possible thing you can do with your snowmobile during the summer is to safely place it into storage. Follow these seven steps to make sure your snowmobile is stored properly and ready for use in the winter:

  1. Clean and wax the outside. As you use your snowmobile throughout the season, it accumulates lots of mud, road salt, and debris on the external surface of the body. As long as the moisture, salt, and debris remain, there is a high chance of this leading to corrosion – something that can lead to further damages while your snowmobile is in storage. Use a warm, soapy solution to thoroughly clean the body, then apply a coat of wax to protect the body and components.
  2. Do not store it with an empty tank. This may seem a bit counterintuitive but storing your snowmobile with an empty tank is a sure way to damage the seals and gas gauge, as they will dry out and warp or otherwise become compromised in their functionality. Filling your tank with an added fuel stabilizer prevents solvents from corroding engine components and prevent damage from condensation.
  3. If needed, fog the engine. This is only necessary if you plan to leave your snowmobile untouched throughout the entire summer (if you’ll be starting it up at least once monthly, this is not necessary). Fogging the engine will prevent the possibility of engine failure in the future by coating the inside of the engine with oil. The oil coating protects the internal components from the following:
    • Air
    • Water
    • Corrosion
  4. Drain the carburetor. This protects against the evaporation of excess fuel – something that leaves a chalky residue in passageway surfaces and can potentially cause blockages and damages to the metal. Drain the excess fuel by removing the carburetor float bowls.
  5. Lubricate the chassis and lube points. Protect critical components of your snowmobile by creating a barrier that keeps unwanted moisture out (this is best done with a light oil such as WD-40). Important elements to grease include:
    • Suspension rails
    • Exhaust
    • Nuts
    • Any point with a grease fitting
  6. Remove the belt and battery. 
    • Battery care: You’ll need to place your battery in a dark, climate-controlled environment. Choose between whether you want your battery trickle charged or to maintain a consistent charge while you are not using it.
    • Belt care: You’re removing the belt to eliminate the possibility of condensation buildup (if this were left unchecked, it could later cause issues in the rotation of the belt later on, as it will also affect the clutch). Store the belt in an unrolled position.
  7. Do not store it on the ground. Storing your snowmobile on the ground leaves it exposed to the risk of condensation creeping from the ground, especially if it happens to be stored in cold conditions. The best way to store your snowmobile is on a snowmobile dolly.

Although it may be tempting to pull your snowmobile out of the garage and enjoy some fun while the snow is MIA, it is best to leave it safely stored and protected from elements it was not designed to endure. Following the above guidelines will ensure that your snowmobile remains in proper shape for use in the wintertime. 

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