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Snowmobile Basics—Before You Ride

Operating a Clean, Quiet Machine

Beyond a pre-season check-up and regular maintenance, there are additional things you can do to make sure your snowmobile runs cleaner and quieter.

  • Use high-grade oil and gasoline because they burn cleaner.
  • Tune the engine for your altitude, including the proper carburetor jet setting which improves fuel efficiency and reduces emissions.
  • Change the spark plugs at least once during the season to ensure efficient fuel burning. Cold weather can foul plugs.
  • Avoid opening and closing the throttle continuously, which causes inefficient fuel burning and increases emissions and noise.
  • Don’t tamper with your exhaust pipes to increase the noise of your machine.

Environmental Impact of Snowmobiling

  • Snowmobiles have a minimal environmental impact when operated properly and when at least four inches of snow cover the underlying vegetation.
  • A snowmobile’s weight is spread over a wide area. Its ground pressure (weight per square inch) is less than that of a person walking.
  • Scientific studies indicate that compaction of snow by snowmobile traffic has no negative effect on crops, such as winter wheat or alfalfa.
  • Compaction often eliminates snow mold and increases yields. CoSnowmobilermpaction may also retard soil erosion.
  • Plants and young trees are vulnerable to severe damage from snowmobiles, so it’s best to stay on established trails and keep away from tree farms, nurseries, and orchards.
  • Respect wildlife along the trail. Do not approach the animal, maintain a slow speed, and do not make sudden movements. You may want to stop until the animal leaves.
  • Snowmobiles are built to federally mandated noise control standards and engine noise has little or no effect on humans when trails are properly located away from residential or business areas.
  • The engine noise from a snowmobile traveling at normal trail speeds 50 feet away must not exceed 86 decibels on the “A” scale of a decibel meter. This is about as loud as heavy city traffic.


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Snowmobile Basics
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