As I look around the interwebs, I see reoccurring, common questions. One of them, “What should I use to clean XXXXXX?” I love to detail vehicles! I’ve been cleaning quite a few lately on the ArcticInsider Dealer Demo Tour. Ill share a few of the products I use on those snowmobiles. Share your tips in the comments.
We’re gonna pick on our buddy Rodney. Mud means nothing to him, and to us either if you know how to clean it off. I’ve always subscribed to the theory that clean machines, are happy machines. A little polish goes a long way to help increase your resale and wow factor.
My primary go-to cleaning products are sitting here. (L-R) Mothers VLR Spray, Mothers Back-to-Black plastic restorer, Lemon Pledge, a quality car wash soap, quality drying towels, and not pictured, terry cloth rags.
I also like using Mothers aluminum polish with a fine steel wool for cleaning up aluminum pieces.
FYI – Im not an aluminum tunnel polisher. There’s not enough quarantine time in the world for me to start that craziness. (Talk amongst yourselves)
Before I start washing, I typically clean out all the storage bags. You never know what you’ll find at seasons end, and you surely don’t want creepy surprises in the fall. (Fish sammiches etc. Is that a horseshoe?)
I start with giving the sled a good bath. In this case, one of the 2021 Riot X models I’ve been hauling around on the ArcticInsider Dealer Demo Tour. Don’t be bashful with the car soap. Get a good bucket and nice terry cloth wash mit.
Before you wash, give the sled a good rinse to get dirt out of running boards, skis, skidframe, track, and inside tunnel.
If you use scratchers, like my 2020 Riot X, they kick up alot of “shtuff” into your skidframe. Spray all that garbage out before you start washing. This also keeps your wash mit clean of gritty dirt that scratches delicate surfaces like side panels and graphics.
Once you give your sled a bath, you might have stains like this (above) on light colored panels from grease, exhaust or brake and clutches. Don’t panic! This is an easy clean job! This is where I turn to Magic Erasers and Mother’s VLR cleaner. If the stains are really stubborn, I also like to use Bleche-White tire cleaner with a Magic Eraser.
These stains will pretty much wipe right off after a liberal dousing of cleaner. FYI – Buy multiple Magic Erasers. They get fragile when using on jagged surfaces like running boards.
Above is an AFTER photo using Mothers VLR cleaner, then scrubbing with Magic Eraser, then wiping clean with Terry Cloth rag. After you clean off all grime to your satisfaction, spray the entire snowmobile with Lemon Pledge and use clean terry cloth rags to polish and wipe it dry.
Lemon Pledge sounds weird, but its the best wax and brings out the sheen in your plastics. (If you go to a snowmobile show, all the OEMs use Pledge.)
Terry cloth rags are also key…they don’t scratch plastic surfaces with swirl marks, and you can literally buy a dozen of them for a handful of dollars at stores like Menards.
Regular riding produces alot of garbage from all snowmobile orifices. Most metal surfaces clean up nice after a bath and some Lemon Pledge.
Above the 2021 Riot X is all cleaned up and final polished with Lemon Pledge for the next Show or Summer Storage.
This season, I broke two exhaust springs that hold the pipe to the manifold on my 2020 Riot X. This can be somewhat common for any snowmobile. One old cross-country race trick is to apply a high-temp gasket maker to the expanded spring coils to reduce chance of breaking.
If you are going to take off your hood when cleaning up for summer storage, this is a good time to check those springs.
Everyone does things differently when it comes to treating gas in their snowmobile for summer storage. I think we can all agree though, that gas these days has a shelf life about as long as a roll of toilet paper at the grocery store currently. How you treat it is up to you.
I don’t like fuel stabilizers like Stabil, so I drain as much gas out of my sleds at the end of the season as possible. (A kerosene syphon works pretty good and only costs a couple dollars at the hardware store.) I then replace with a gallon of AvGas (100LL) and then run it for a minute or two to cycle into the system.
You can get 100LL at any small town airport. It never goes bad, and if you have carburetors, they’ll stay clean reducing carb cleans. I use it in vintage sleds, lawnmowers, string trimmers, backpack blowers…you name it. Never a problem, and always quick starting after storage. (Again, talk amongst yourselves)