Is It Safe To Pressure Wash a Snowmobile Engine?

Even though spring is around the corner, you probably still have some time for your favorite winter activities like snowmobiling. This means you should take good care of your snowmobile and keep it clean (among other things). One part of your snowmobile that can be tricky to clean is the engine, and you may be tempted to pressure wash it. 

It’s not safe to pressure wash a snowmobile engine, however. You can get water in places where it shouldn’t be, wasting a lot of water. Also, pressure washing can potentially damage your engine and your entire sled, especially the electronic parts. 

In this article, I’ll explain why pressure washing may not be the best idea and what you can do instead. I’ll also talk about the importance of keeping your snowmobile engine clean. Finally I’ll lay out tips and tricks on cleaning a snowmobile engine. 

Can You Pressure Wash a Snowmobile Engine?

You can pressure wash a snowmobile engine in theory. If you’re in a hurry or if there’s a difficult stain on your engine that requires pressure to remove, you can use the pressure wash method. However, you should avoid this as much as possible to prevent any potential damage to your sled. 

Is It Okay To Power or Pressure Wash a Snowmobile Engine?

It’s okay to power or pressure wash a snowmobile engine under certain conditions. As long as you take the necessary precautions and pay close attention to what you’re doing, you can use this method to clean your engine and avoid (or at least minimize) damage. 

Before you pressure wash a snowmobile engine, take the following steps first. 

  1. Cover the intakes.
  2. Cover the CDI box.
  3. Remove or cover any other parts that pressure or power washing can damage. 

Is It Bad To Power or Pressure Wash a Snowmobile Engine?

Power or pressure washing a snowmobile engine can be bad. Doing so can get water into places it shouldn’t and cause damage. Also, there’s no guarantee that pressure or power washing can give your snowmobile engine a thorough clean..

Reasons To Clean Your Snowmobile Engine

Suppose you want to give your snowmobile engine a thorough cleaning. You don’t want to pressure wash it due to the risk of damage, but you also want to keep it squeaky clean. Why bother cleaning your snowmobile engine then, when doing so can do more harm than good?

The main reason to clean your snowmobile engine is to improve its performance. When gunk gets into the engine’s moving parts, it can interfere with smooth functioning. Left unchecked, the excess gunk can cause your engine to work harder and possibly explode.  

Also, cleaning your snowmobile engine allows you to check if there are any signs of damage that can get worse over time. It’s better that you catch these early on — unless you want to rack up hundreds of dollars worth of repair bills.

How To Clean Your Snowmobile Engine

Luckily, you don’t need any special equipment or solutions to clean your engine. You can do it with things you already have at home, such as an engine degreaser or an all-purpose degreaser and cleaner. You also need to keep in mind the tips I’m about to give you below.

  1. Make sure it’s possible to power or pressure wash your engine. Check if your snowmobile comes with a manual, like this one. Read through the manual carefully, and see if there’s anything about power or pressure washing. If not, ask a professional to help.
  2. Give your snowmobile a quick run. Find a safe place to test how well your snowmobile drives. Check the steering, lights, throttle, tracks, battery charge, and drive belt. Make sure none of these things feel “off.” 
  3. Turn your engine off. Otherwise, it won’t be safe to clean your engine. Again, find a safe place to do this (e.g., somewhere the snowmobile won’t accidentally slide into a ravine).
  4. Apply your cleaning solution. Many snowmobilers recommend applying a degreaser. It’s better to use the ones specially made for engines, but all-purpose degreasers can work too. As long as the all-purpose degreaser is potent enough, you don’t need a special degreaser. I recommend the SONAX Engine Degreaser and Cleaner from Amazon, which works even for the toughest stains.
  5. Wait for the cleaning solution to dry. You may need to wait for around three to five minutes. Check the label on the product to know how long you have to wait. Don’t leave it on for too long; otherwise, it’ll damage your engine. 
  6. Decide whether power or pressure washing is better. The difference between the two lies in the temperature of the water used. Power washing heats up the water in addition to applying pressure. Using hot water instead of cold water usually produces better results, though cold water can do the job just as well if you don’t have access to a heater. Of course, you should thaw frozen water first before using it. 
  7. Gently hose off the engine. Be careful not to get water into places it shouldn’t be.
  8. Wipe off any leftover moisture, grease, and degreaser. Keep wiping until it is as shiny as you want it to be. Use a lint-free cloth if you have one to prevent tiny fibers from getting into the engine and damaging it. 
  9. For difficult stains, use a brush. As long as the brush isn’t too tough, you don’t have to worry about it damaging your engine. For maximum precision, use a toothbrush which can help you clean the hard-to-reach parts of your engine. Try S&T Inc.’s Microfiber Cleaning Cloths from Amazon.com, which work well with delicate surfaces like your snowmobile engine. 
  10. Rinse and repeat, if necessary. If you’ve done all the steps above and there are still stains left, repeat from the top until all the stains are gone. 

Here’s a YouTube video explaining how to clean and maintain your snowmobile:

Additional Tips on Pressure Washing a Snowmobile Engine

Some snowmobilers combine power and pressure washing. The first couple of steps are the same as outlined above: Apply a degreaser and scrub everything. Afterward, you can power or pressure wash your engine instead of simply hosing everything off. This can result in the best grease removal, but you still have to remember the precautions I previously outlined. 

That said, if you have a brand new snowmobile or if you’ve just started snowmobiling, you’re probably better off not power or pressure washing until you’re experienced enough. If it’s a new snowmobile, you probably don’t want to take any chances and damage any part of it. If you’re a beginner, you should get to know your engine better and wash (or don’t wash) as instructed in the manual. 

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what cleaning methods you’re going to use. You can always experiment and see what happens. Also, every engine is different, and what works for one may not work for a different machine. As long as you are careful, you should be fine.

Conclusion

There are pros and cons of power or pressure washing your snowmobile engine. While it’s possible to pressure-wash a snowmobile engine, it’s not necessarily the best idea. You can get water into places where it shouldn’t be, which can damage your engine. 

The safest way to clean your snowmobile engine is to apply a degreaser, and gently scrub, wipe, and hose until everything’s clean. If you opt to use a pressure washer, make sure any parts that can be damaged are removed.

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