Are Your Snowmobile Shocks Bad? 5 Ways To Tell
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Snowmobiles are a convenient form of transportation, recreation, and sport. One common issue you can experience with these vehicles is bad shocks. If you don’t perform regular maintenance, your snowmobile shocks will likely deteriorate over time.
Your snowmobile shocks are bad if you feel resistance while riding, when the piston of your shock moves more freely and easily than expected, when there’s fluid leakage or a low level of fluid in the shocks, and when there’s uneven tire wear.
This article will detail what snowmobile shocks do, the signs of a bad snowmobile shock and how to fix them. It’ll also cover how to test snowmobile shocks, and how to make them last.
Snowmobile Shocks and What They Do
Snowmobile shocks are the mechanical components responsible for maintaining your snowmobile’s ride height during movement. Every automobile has a suspension system, and snowmobiles are no different. The snowmobile suspension system works with a minimum number of four shocks, one for each ski spindle and two others. These other two are fixed to the track of snowmobiles, and all four can be replaced at any time if damaged.
How To Tell if Your Snowmobile Shocks Are Bad
Now that you know what snowmobile shocks do, let’s dive into how you can tell if they’re going bad. After all, you don’t want to be caught off-guard on the slopes or trails. Besides, failing to solve the problem early can cause more damage to your snowmobile.
Here are 5 ways to tell if your snowmobiles are bad:
1. There’s Resistance While Riding Your Snowmobile
When you’re out on your snowmobile, the last thing you want to feel is resistance. Unfortunately, bad shocks can cause just that. The shocks help absorb bumps and other irregularities in the terrain, but if they’re not working correctly, they can make the ride more difficult.
Resistance manifests in several ways, such as a rougher ride, more vibration, and less control over the snowmobile. Several things can cause resistance in the shocks, including worn-out seals and frozen fluid.
In most cases, you can quickly solve the problem by taking your snowmobile in for service or replacing the shocks entirely.
2. There’s Easy Piston Movement
The pistons are a crucial part of your snowmobile. They work with the shocks to ensure a smooth ride, and they shouldn’t be moving around too easily. If you notice that the pistons are moving more freely than they should be, it’s a sign that the shocks are faulty.
If the shocks stop absorbing the bumps and vibrations from the trail, the pistons start moving around freely. Often, this is due to worn-out bushings or seals.
The best way to solve this problem is to take your snowmobile to a mechanic and have them check the shocks. They’ll tell you whether you need to replace the bushings, seals, or pistons altogether or if there’s another problem you must address.
3. There’s Leakage of Fluid From Your Shocks
Fluids play an essential role in your snowmobile shocks. They help lubricate the parts and keep the shocks cool. Over time, however, the seals in your shocks can break down and cause fluid to leak out. If you notice any leakage from your snowmobile shocks, it’s a sign that they need to be repaired or replaced.
In some cases, you might be able to fix the problem by simply replacing the seals. However, if there’s extensive damage, you might need to replace the shocks entirely.
4. There’s Low Fluid Level in Shocks
In addition to leakage, low fluid levels can also signify that your snowmobile shocks need to be repaired or replaced. As mentioned, fluids are essential for keeping the parts of your shocks lubricated and cool. If the fluids are low, it can cause the parts to wear out more quickly and eventually break down. This can lead to several problems, including resistance while riding.
The typical causes of low fluid levels are excessive leakage due to worn-out seals or simply not adding enough fluid during maintenance. As with leakage, you might be able to fix the problem by replacing the seals or adding more fluid. However, if there’s extensive damage, you might need to replace the shocks entirely.
If you need quality fluid for your suspension shocks, try this Maxima Plush 7 WT Suspension Fluid from Amazon.com. It’s an excellent option for snowmobiles, motorcycles, and ATVs, thanks to its high-viscosity formula that provides smooth, consistent damping.
5. There’s Uneven Tire Wear
Your snowmobile shocks play a crucial role in keeping your tires evenly worn. By absorbing the bumps and vibrations from the trail, they help prevent premature wear on your tires. If you notice that your tires are wearing unevenly, it’s a sign the shocks aren’t working correctly. In most cases, this happens due to the shocks on one side of the snowmobile being more worn out than the others.
If you notice uneven tire wear, take your snowmobile in for service as soon as possible. A mechanic will be able to inspect the shocks and determine if they need to be repaired or replaced.
How Do You Test Snowmobile Shocks?
You can test your snowmobile shocks by dismantling the vehicle first. Then, compress the shock with your hands to see if it’ll give in. The harder it is to compress, the better condition your shock is in, meaning you have no problems.
Another way to test snowmobile shocks is to use a compressed air source (such as an air compressor) to pressurize the shock and then observe how it responds. Lastly, you can also attach the shock to a sled and then take it for a test ride on some frozen trails or in deep snow to feel how well the shocks are working.
Note: It would be best to call a professional if you don’t have experience with snowmobiles and cannot test your vehicle for one reason or another. These professionals have the skills and expertise to give you a full rundown of your snowmobile’s current condition.
How Long Do Snowmobile Shocks Last?
Snowmobile shocks last 1200-1500 miles (1931.21-2414.02 km). If you use your snowmobile more frequently, it may not last that long. Conversely, maintaining the shocks by regularly checking and cleaning them can help prolong their lifespan.
Therefore, it’s essential to keep an eye on your shocks and take them in for service as soon as you notice any problems. In addition, consider upgrading to higher-quality shocks if you ride frequently or in rugged terrain.
How To Make Snowmobile Shocks Last
Anyone who has ever ridden a snowmobile knows that a smooth ride is essential for a good time. That’s why it’s vital to make sure your snowmobile shocks are in good condition. As we’ve seen, having your shocks in bad shape can lead to several problems, from premature tire wear to decreased performance.
Fortunately, here are five practical ways to prolong the life of your shocks and keep them working correctly:
Check the Shocks Regularly
Before and after each ride, you should take a quick look at the shocks to see if they need to be inflated or rebuilt. Some of the areas you should check are the air pressure in the shocks, leaks in the shocks, and any cracks or other damage.
Clean the Shocks Regularly
In addition to checking the shocks, you should also make it a point to clean them regularly. According to Suspension Spot, cleaning shocks helps remove any dirt or grime that could potentially damage them. To clean your shocks, follow these steps:
- Remove the shocks from the snowmobile.
- Clean the exterior of the shocks with mild soap and water.
- Use a brush to remove any tough dirt or grime.
- Rinse the shocks with clean water.
Here’s a tutorial that will come in handy when cleaning your shocks:
Don’t Overload the Snowmobile
When a snowmobile is carrying too much weight, it puts extra strain on the shocks, leading to damage. To avoid overloads, make sure you know the snowmobile’s weight limit and stick to it. Also, distribute the weight evenly across the snowmobile to help reduce the stress on the shocks.
Avoid Big Bumps
When you hit big bumps, it can cause the shocks to bottom out, which puts stress on the components and can lead to leaks. To avoid big bumps, slow down when going over them and make sure you don’t hit them too hard. Also, avoid going off-trail where you’re more likely to hit large bumps.
Take Care of Your Tires
Well-maintained tires will help reduce the amount of shock absorbed by the snowmobile. It’s also important to make sure your tires are properly inflated. This will help reduce the amount of shock absorbed by the snowmobile and help prolong the life of your shocks.
Shocks are a crucial part of a snowmobile, and it’s essential to take care of them. If you don’t do that, you may encounter problems like premature tire wear, decreased performance, and even damage to the shocks.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prolong the life of your shocks, including checking them regularly, cleaning them regularly, avoiding overloads, and taking care of your tires. By following these tips, you can help keep your snowmobile shocks in good condition and prevent potential problems.
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- Suspension Spot: Shock Absorber Maintenance Checklist
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- DriverSide: Struts and Shocks: When and Why They Need Maintenance
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