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Transcript for Inspecting Your Snowmobile

Haley: Oh, hey! Now that you’re outfitted, you can join us on a little combo exploration-fishing trip, and check out some remote lakes.

Rob: And of course, while we’re out there, we’re going to sample the ice fishing because I know how much you like fresh fish.

Haley: And you have to realize, these are really remote places, so to get there and back on these things, we should start with the pre-ride inspection before we go. Any guesses on where we should start inspecting?

Rob: She’s giving us a hint. You see, START-GO is the catchphrase to remind us to check everything. We started by reading the owner’s manual so that we know these machines. And once we’ve set the parking brake, we can start with the S, which stands for steering, skis, and drive system.

Steering, Skis, and Drive System

Rob: Now, the skis. They’re not frozen to the ground. There’s no ice on anything. Properly aligned and, in the carbides here, should not be worn so they can steer properly. Skis—check.

Haley: It’s turning freely, and the skis are tracking great when I turn the handlebars. Steering—check.

And here’s the drive system, and you’ve got your drive belt right here. And you want to make sure that it meets manufacturer’s recommended specs. And as you’re checking it, you want to check for cracks, frays, other kinds of wear. This one looks good.

Rob: Now the T is for throttle and brakes.

Throttle and Brake

Rob: Pretty simple mechanics, really. This throttle makes it go. This brake makes it stop.

Check the condition of your cables and that the connections are tight. Check for cable freezing by depressing the lever and releasing it. It should snap back quickly like this when it’s released. It’s the same for the brake lever. After releasing the parking brake, it should depress with some resistance and then snap back all the way when it’s released.

We’ll actually test the brakes right before we leave.

Haley: And now for A: activate lights.

Activate Lights

Haley: Have your partner check your headlights, taillights, and brake lights, and make sure they’re clean. Same goes for your mirrors, gauges, and windshield.

And now let’s go for R: registration and reflectors.

Registration and Reflectors


  • The sticker is your registration. Make sure it’s current.
  • If you need a trail permit, well, make sure you have one.
  • Make sure your reflectors are secure and clean.

All right, what’s next?

Haley: T: Track and suspension.

Track and Suspension

Haley: Make sure your track is in adjustment with the recommendation from your owner’s manual. And make sure it is clear of ice and snow.

We’ve completed the S-T-A-R-T.

Rob: Steering, skis and drive system; throttle and brake; activate lights; registration and reflectors; track and suspension.

Haley: Now we’re just about ready to G-O. G is for gas. O is for oil.

Gas and Oil

Haley: We’re fresh and full on both and no fluid leaks.

Rob: All right. You’re ready. Let’s get you pointed in the right direction.

The person behind the camera begins to get seated in the snowmobile.

Haley: Whoa there, partner. What we mean is we need to get you and your vehicle pointed in the right direction. And the right direction is away from vehicles, houses, people, any obstacles. I mean, imagine if this throttle got stuck frozen open—you get the idea.

Rob: Remember, if you have a snowmobile that’s covered, completely remove that cover before ever starting it. Because if you were to try to remove the cover from a snowmobile that was running, it could catch on the throttle and cause some serious injuries.

Haley: Now you can get on your machine, and I’ll help you get going. Now, once you’re on and you’re in control, just make sure that your parking brake is still set. And though we just checked it, we want to check the throttle one more time to make sure it’s not frozen. Perfect! Snaps back when released.

Rob: OK, you’re almost ready. Kill switch needs to be in the run position. Choke if you have one. Forward, not reverse gear. OK! Turn that key. Now that’s the sound I like to hear. Now, let it warm up a bit before we make sure that parking brake is off, and let’s hit the trail.

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