How to Fully Clean a Snowmobile – Step by Step

How to clean a snowmobile

In this article, I am going to give you information on how you can protect your snowmobile by cleaning it properly. The snowmobile will look very good, but the cleaning also prevents the appearance of different problems.

Owning a snowmobile is a dream come true for winter warriors like us. It gives you the chance to ride the snow and enjoy winter at its best. The freedom of riding the snowmobile in the most amazing places is unique. Trust me, I know the feeling and I would not trade it for any other winter activity.

But owning a snowmobile also comes with responsibility. A good snowmobile is definitely a significant investment, not cheap at all. That is why it is important that you take good care of your winter vehicle.

As a general rule, the snowmobile should be kept in a covered space. It is not recommended for the vehicle to be left outside, where it can be exposed to different weather conditions. Imagine that it is left outside from spring to winter, that it a very long time to be exposed to wind, rain, and sun. If you do not have a garage, you must use a good cover for the snowmobile.

Why it is important to clean the snowmobile

The snowmobile must be cleaned and washed after each ride and before you park it for springtime. And you don’t do it just because you want it to look good. It is an important part of the maintenance, to prolong the life of the sled. After you return from a ride, the snowmobile will be full of dirt. This dirt means not only soil but also road salt and minerals from the snow. All these elements can affect both the metal and the plastic elements.

Also, it is easier to remove the dirt if you clean it while it is still fresh. If left for too long, the residues will get thick and it will be very difficult to clean them. Also, many parts will become greasy due to the oil, imagine how difficult it is to clean the grease after a few months.

Cleaning your vehicle after rides is important in order to prevent the rusting of the metal parts and the damage of the plastic material.

Steps for cleaning the snowmobile parts

There are many ways to clean the sleds, and I will tell you how I do it. My method is a thorough one, with all knees and hands at work, not just surface cleaning. I care for my snowmobile and I intend to ride if for many years.

Dirt removal

Generally, before washing, I start with an air compressor to blow the dust and dirt off the snowmobile. Use the air compressor from front to back and blow every part of the vehicle. Do not hesitate to use the compressed air to blow everything under the hood, clutches, rear suspensions, anything you can reach with it.

This is an easy method to remove the dirt, because of the pressure. As long as you make sure you blow everything in the right direction: outside, not further inside. Also, use it with care around sealed areas, not to break anything. For me, the air compressor has made life much easier and the cleaning quicker.


Continue with the clutches. They play an important role in the ride and they must perform well. If they are not maintained well, they will create more problems along the way.

There are two clutches: primary (drive) and secondary (driven). Remove the retaining belt and use again the air compressor to blow them thoroughly.

Then I use a nylon brush, a scotch bright pad, and a pulley Flange cleaner. This spray is perfect for the removal of belt residue, grease, and other debris. You can also use acetone or soap and water, as long as you get a good clean. You must insist more on the inside part, to make sure you remove all the belt residue.

Of course, turn the ignition off before starting the process. Use the brush and towels with confidence, you will be happy with the result.

How to clean the carburetors

Keeping your snowmobile’s carburetors cleaned up is essential. Why is that? Because if they aren’t, your engine could have some problems or might not even start. So without any further ado, let’s get to cleaning. There are 2 ways of doing this. Those would be: by removing the carburetors and by not fully removing the carbs. Despite what others would say, the best and fastest way to clean them perfectly is by removing them.

Removing carbs from the snowmobile is very easy. You can do it without any help needed. The hard part comes in when you need to disassemble them in order to do a deep cleaning. I created a step by step guide, so you can do it without any problems:

  1. The first thing you need to do in order to remove carbs is to remove the airbox first. After that, most of the snowmobile models have the carbs clamped. You need to unclamp them and just take them out of their intake boots.
  2. After you do that, there is a very important thing you need to do. Look between the 2 carburetors. You should find the fuel line there and you have to pull it off the tee intake.
  3. Coming up, you will see the throttle and the choke. They are 2 cables that have to be separated from the carb. Be careful, as you will need a special tool in order to do that. That is the needle-nose pliers. It is a really common tool, everyone has one of those in their house. Although you might be tempted, you don’t have to cut anything with this. Use it just to pull the e-clip. This will make unwinding the cable out of its locked-in area very easy.
  4. The next step is to unbolt the carb float bowls. You may do that only if you’ve completed the previous instructions successfully.
  5. Once you’ve removed the bowl, you will gain access to the internal parts of the carbs. A lot of people will tell you that you’re almost done. The only thing left to do is to get a carb cleaner and just spray it on the bottom. Although it may look brand new, this will not fix any technical problem. That is why the next step is to go further and remove all the jets.
  6. Start with the pilot jet, which is usually found down the small tube that you will see as soon as you take the bowl off. You can remove it very easy, and all you need is a screwdriver.
  7. The main jet will be your next focus. It is located in the middle of the carburetor. However, this does require either a nut driver or a 6mm socket.
  8. The next thing you need to do is to take care of the needle and the seat assembly from inside the bowl. These were the last internal bowl components. If you’ve removed those, it is time to pay attention to the external parts.
  9. Next up, look for a big white handle. That is how you find the fuel screw in a matter of seconds. Before you take it off, you need to check the fuel’s screw settings. This is an important part that a lot of people forget.
  10. The jet needle is the one that needs to be taken off after that. Simply unbolt the top cover plate using an Allen wrench.
  11. After all this work, you can finally clean the main body of the carbs. The best and harmless way to do this is to clean it by applying high-pressure air. You will also need a carburetor cleaner, which you can get from any snowmobile shop. Even some hypermarkets like Walmart have it. I recommend the Berryman Chem-Dip Carburetor for this, as it is cheap and effective. You can find it on Amazon for about 35 dollars. Soak the carbs ports in it and you will instantly see a difference. After that, apply the previous advice: use high-pressure air.
  12. The last thing you should do is to reassembly every part of the carbs. If you followed every step from this list, every cleaning problems that you had with the carbs should have disappeared.

How to clean the snowmobile carburetors without removing them

Unfortunately, you can’t clean them just by spraying some cleaner under the hood. There isn’t such a simple method that will still be effective. No matter what you do, you still have to take some parts of them off.

Although, you don’t have to completely take them apart. If you aren’t too familiar with snowmobile’s parts, you may not want to do this. You could screw up a lot of things, so you know how they say, better safe than sorry.

If your carbs really do need some cleaning, just get a friend to clean them for you. I would even call a professional mechanic to do this, as I wouldn’t want to pay for broken parts.

How to clean the snowmobile’s engine

Obviously, the engine is a very fragile and important part from your snowmobile. This means you should treat it accordingly. You can’t just take some water and throw it in there. You will ruin a lot of components, meaning that it will cost you a lot of money. In my opinion, if there is a little bit of dust, but everything works perfectly, you shouldn’t bother with cleaning.

If you decide to go for it, you should take some safety measures first. Firstly, you will need garbage bags. Go ahead and wrap all electronics from under the hood with them. I would suggest you wrap the oil tank as well, just to make sure. This is just to make sure you won’t fry anything because of the liquids.

After that, the cleaner solutions will be your best friends. My recommendation is the Castrol Superclean solution. Apply it on the engine and wait 5 minutes. Take some water and rinse after. It shouldn’t have a lot of pressure, because it will damage the bearings. You can even take a good brush and scrub. When you’re done, grease everything. Take off the bags and that’s it. You can use your engine as a plate now. Just kidding, don’t do that.

How to clean the seat

If we already covered some hard to clean parts, we now came across seat cleaning. This one is very easy to do and also very safe. Destroying your seat while trying to clean it is highly unlikely, so let’s get to it.

Just like earlier, you will only need a solution to properly clean it. In my opinion, you should get a car seat cleaner. It will have the exact same effect on the snowmobile seat. The spray that I use is from Car Guys, and you can find it on Amazon for 17 bucks. It has wonderful results. Here is a link to it.

How to clean the snowmobiles plastics

Again, a really easy procedure. The cleaners will be effective here as well. Be careful, as plastic can have a bad reaction to some of them. Inform yourself before spraying it with a random solution from your house. After a lot of testing, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Armour All Orange Cleaning Wipes are the only things that will make your snowmobiles plastics look factory new.

How to clean the tunnel

The tunnel of the snowmobile can be cleaned just by applying some special solution to it. However, I like to get some better results. You will need to get the snowmobile tunnel cleaner from Sledbrite. It can deoxidize, clean and brighten sled tunnels. All of that, for only 9 dollars. So, after you’ve sprayed cleaner, leave it there for about 3 minutes. After that, start moving the product around with a brush, then wipe. The key of making the tunnel look brand new is to apply some metal polish to it. You can do that using a polishing ball and a common drill. This will make it clean and shiny, in a matter of minutes.

How to clean the chain case

I hear a lot of complaints about this cleaning. People say it is too hard for them to do and don’t want to risk to screw up anything. However, if you do it the right way, you can get this done in seconds. Depending on your strength, you may need a friend to help you with this. Why? Because you will have to lay the sled on its left side. Take off the cover and use a turkey injector to remove all the oil. After that, just use a normal, like carbs or brake cleaner. Put the cover back and you are good to go.

How to clean the windshield

You will need a single thing to clean your windshield: Meguiars Plastx. It is the best product on the market for such cleanings, and the results will be amazing. You can get a bottle from any special store, with about 6 bucks. Definitely worth.

Clean tracks and skis

Once you get to the tracks and skis, you must pay attention to every part of this area. After you’ve used the air compressor to eliminate the dirt, spray a good degreaser all over the place. After a few minutes, you can start cleaning it with a dry towel.

If your snowmobile is parked for a longer period of time, the rubber in the track might deteriorate due to moisture in the ground. Store the snowmobile on a stand, keeping the tracks of the ground is important and helpful.

Under the hood

Next move under the hood. Use an engine degreaser and a couple of towels. You will get dirty, so don’t forget to use some gloves to protect your hands. You want to reach all the places where you can get grease. Use the spray on the exhaust and around the oil reservoir and wait for a few minutes before you start rinsing.

Spray everything there is under the hood because grease is everywhere. You can insist on the belly pan and the exhaust pipe heat shield. Wait a few minutes for the spray to do its effects and then rinse the surfaces. You may need to repeat the process a few more time (spray and rinse) until there is no touch of grease left. Make sure you have more towels, and always wipe clean with a clean tower.

Suspension and rails

The rear suspension and rails are also parts to be careful with. Clean underneath, to make sure there is no gravel. Again, use the air compressor to remove any debris. Anything that gets stuck in between will wear the parts out eventually.

Heat exchangers

Underneath the tunnel, you find the heat exchangers. I clean them out with a nylon brush. It is important to remove minerals from the snow, road salt or mud, all things that get thrown under and cover the heat exchangers.

Wash the snowmobile

After you have worked hard to rinse the parts, you can give the snowmobile a good wash too. I start from front to back, I like to keep things organized.

You can do it the old way with a bucket of water and soap, or you can use a power washer. Use a mild pressure though. The method really depends on the time you have and on the available tools. The important thing is to do a good cleaning.

Start from the front and wash out every part, but make sure you avoid the electrical components. You can cover the engine with plastic bags to protect it.

Now you can say that you have successfully removed all the residue, debris, and grease from the snowmobile.

Polish the snowmobile

Let the snowmobile dry or use clean towels, and you can continue with the polishing.

Use a spray with a non-petroleum based formula. This spray does not harm the plastic parts. Spray and polish the vehicle. After the job is done, use a product for UV protection for the hood, in general wax is recommended.

With simple WD-40 you can rub the seat and the handlebar pads, this will make them all shiny and resistant to sunlight. Besides looking good, wax is also a good dust and dirt repellent.

At the end of the cleaning, never forget to grease and lubricate the suspension and steering elements of the snowmobile, it is a very important step.

Products to use for cleaning the snowmobile 

There are many products available on the market. You can either choose basic cleaning products that you have in your home or buy some specialized products.

This is the list of products I use for cleaning:

  • the nylon brushes and the scotch bright pad, because they are very efficient in removing debris;
  • several clean towels;
  • air compressor;
  • car wash soap or a pulley flange cleaner;
  • available warm water;
  • a good engine degreaser;
  • WD-40 works;
  • spray cleaner & polish, non-petroleum based formula;
  • wax for plastic and metal polish for aluminum parts. The wax has a protective role against the elements, and it also helps the vehicle look shiny;
  • protection gloves for your hands.

This is my general process of cleaning the snowmobile. It may seem a difficult and time-consuming process. Actually, it is not and I enjoy it a lot. Especially while I am having a beer and admire the shiny snowmobile.

Because I like to clean my snowmobile regularly, it is well maintained and things go smoothly every time. I would suggest that you take this job very seriously because it will help you enjoy your vehicle for many winters. Of course, when I prepare my sled for hibernation in springtime, I make sure to pay attention to all details. Otherwise, the dirty sled can deteriorate easily while kept unused. The cleaning process must be repeated again in winter time, to get your snowmobile ready to fly.

This list of basic cleaning and maintenance tips and tricks will help you keep the snowmobile working properly for a long time. If you care for it well enough, you will not need to visit the service for different repairs.


You must settle a regular maintenance schedule and follow it. You do not need to be a mechanic to take good care of your snowmobile, you just need to want and use the right products. Another advantage of the cleaning process is that you can notice if anything is wrong, like loose screws or other elements.

You will be able to give as much information as possible to the service operator.

I wish you great rides and I am looking forward to the thrilling winter months. I would love to hear from you any other suggestions for properly cleaning the snowmobile, so leave me a comment.

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