The Right Time To Service Ski-Doo Shocks
Like your engine, brakes, and skis, your shocks always need to be routinely maintained. They play a crucial role in your snowmobile's handling, yet often go untouched by many. Debris and condensation can build up in shocks, which can seriously affect the shock oil. Shocks can also become damaged on the exterior, which could open the door for internal issues. Regular maintenance will prevent the need to have your shocks rebuilt, which if you aren't looking to make upgrades, could be expensive. Here are our recommendations on when to service your sled's shocks for optimal performance.
Check Your Springs
The springs support the weight of both the rider and the sled, so they're directly related to the shocks. Many shocks have air springs, which is a pressurized air chamber that holds the weight up. How much weight are your shocks set up to handle? If you're over the weight they can effectively manage, the springs need to be changed out to better stabilize the snowmobile. Alongside this, your sled may have preload collars that you can tighten or loosen. Check these to make adjustments if necessary. They should be turned to your height and weight to evenly distribute the total weight.
How Regular Maintenance Extends Shock Life
In your annual pre-season maintenance routine, shocks should be on the checklist. As you're changing fluids and replacing pieces of your sled, make sure your shocks get the attention they need. Over time, your shocks' oil will break down and need to be changed. Contaminated shock oil looks akin to mud, which won't be doing you any favors for your suspension. Since shocks are rather complex parts, it's best to take these to a professional. They'll be able to change the shock oil in no time, saving you the frustration of putting them back together. Doing this will keep your suspension working properly, so it's best to have shocks serviced before the season begins.
When to Have Shocks Rebuilt
Over time, your shocks will wear out and need to be rebuilt. Even with proper maintenance, the wear and tear from riding will take its toll. One way to test your shocks is to take them off your snowmobile, remove the springs, and compress the shocks. When you push down on them, what's the resistance like? Do they push down easily? If they do, then that's how you know it's time. When you stand on your snowmobile and feel the shocks quickly compress, they definitely need to be rebuilt. Was your sled previously owned? That owner may have never had the shocks serviced, meaning they're way overdue. If your shocks relatively challenging to compress, then they only need to be serviced.
In each case, don't try to do this yourself. The best way to go about a rebuild is by sending them to a professional shop. Shocks are incredibly complex and have a delicate science about them. By attempting to dismantle shocks yourself, you could really mess them up, and have to take them to a professional regardless. Save yourself unnecessary hassle by uninstalling them and having an expert take a look. Plus, it'll allow you to upgrade your shocks if you want to. If you're unsure of whether your shocks are at the end of their life or not, a shop will know that as well. Your rebuilder will also be able to tell you how many miles you've got until your shocks need to be serviced again. Many riders abide by a 1,000-mile rule of thumb.
Why Shocks Matter
Shocks make up a large portion of your snowmobile's suspension, the system that controls the handling of the entire machine. As you well know, how a sled drives means everything. Whether you're a recreational or competitive rider, a fine-tuned suspension gives you the utmost control. As the shocks wear down, the efficiency of the suspension does too. The control you have over the sled will decrease over time, which will begin to make it more difficult to make sharp turns and feel unstable at high speeds. When things aren't at 100%, neither are you. With a faulty suspension, a split decision while riding could overturn the sled or cause it to spin. You don't want an accident to occur simply because your shocks weren't examined. They're so crucial to your sled that, if installed incorrectly, could result in steering problems, the sled raising off the ground too quickly, and generally poor ride quality. Even if your sled is relatively brand new, your shocks still need to be checked if you've put some mileage on it. If you care about the longevity and quality of your snowmobile, add "check shocks" to your annual to-do list. Having your shocks serviced each season by a professional rebuilder will ensure you're able to ride safely and comfortably.