A two-stroke snowmobile engine is easy to maintain and control because of its lightweight design. And although this type of motor does not have as much power as the four-engine ones, they will generate more power when running.

Snowmobiles could range from a two-stroke up to 4. They can usually speed from five up to twenty thousand miles per hour, depending on how well the engine is maintained. To determine if you have a two-stroke snowmobile, you can start by looking at the original fuel and oil and the symbols on it. 

A lot of people preferred to run faster than others which makes them like the two-stroke engines better. But sometimes, it is difficult to know or differentiate the 2-strokes from the 4-stroke types of engines. In this article, we will go over a few steps on how to tell which one is which. 

What is a snowmobile?

This type of machine is also known as a motorized snow machine or snow scooter and is used in the snow during very cold times. Tourists use this machine to entertain and recreate on the snow while on vacation or to transport in places where the snow is prevalent during certain times of the year or for a long period. 

This motor is strictly designed to work only on snow. They do not need any trail or road to move since the lower part of the machine that makes it up and running is not created to operate in a very rough street or ground. So people tend to use it and handle it in environments where the surface is softer and without stones.

There are other designs that will allow you to use it on open terrain or trails. Like any other type of machine, some motors work better in one environment than in another. Suppose it needs to be adjusted to the conditions of the place. In that case, it should be evaluated by specialists or mechanics who make this possible. But even so, snowmobiles, as the name suggests, are specifically designed to work in the snow.

The first group of snowmobiles to appear in the United States was in the 1990s. Depending on the design, you could easily fit two people, but the first ones that were created could only have one person on them. This is because, initially, only one person could move around the snow on the machine without hurting itself. But later generations began to design them bigger to accommodate more people and have more compartments for items.

The first snowmobile design to ever appear was powered as a two-stroke, but then in the later 2000s, people started making them with a four-stroke and started calling them “snowmobilers,” which were only for recreation and pleasure other than transportation. Initially, they only worked with gasoline since it was the preferred method used in machines for racing and long-distance competitions off the road. 

Since the design of two-stroke and four-stroke snowmobiles is very similar, it is hard to tell the difference. So we will go over how to tell which one is which and help you identify the benefits of a two-stroke engine.

What is a two-stroke?

To identify when a type of engine is two strokes, we will first look at the compression and combustion because these are the main functions. When starting the engine, it will light up each revolution on the crankshaft, making this machine very lightweight and easy to work. However, because the design of this machine is kind of old, it could make the maintenance process challenging to fix, but the good thing is that the parts of a two-stroke engine are cheaper. 

Because this design is lighter than others, the motor will work faster and have an intense kick when running or speeding. The power band and the speed of this type of engine tend to have a very high power-to-weight ratio that makes them work smoothly on the road, but they can, however, get a little bit complicated to control since they require frequent shifting. 

The crankcase compression on these engines is usually controlled by gasoline and oil mixed with petrol to perform the emissions. Which are then consumed in the exhaust; this will allow the unburned vapor to exit in the stream. NOx emissions will be produced after the high combustions are too small.

Are two-stroke snowmobiles long-lasting?

Like all types of machines, for an engine to work, we must take two things into account: maintenance and care. If, for example, we do not change the oil in the engine constantly or in a regulated way, this can cause any motor to burn out. Another extremely important part of the engine is the clutch since poor maintenance can affect the performance and longevity of a 2-stroke mill.

Since they are very affordable, the machine itself and the parts, when repairing if they broke down, have various ways to get it back working correctly. So as long as you give good maintenance to it and make sure every piece is up and running, the snowmobile will last you an extended period. On the other hand, if you just leave the engine parts to get old without looking out for them like oil change, revision of the clutch, and a proper break-in.

How to tell if your snowmobile is a 2-stroke?

Earlier, the engines of this machine were a single-cylinder with two strokes that could be able to go up to 14 hp and with mainly three parts that allow the snowmobile to work properly: the crankshaft, connecting rod, and piston. But as the modern world takes over, we need more security and an engine that can power as much as it can to last longer; therefore, current engines are more complex, making them burn less fuel and putting out fewer emissions.

This type of two-stroke machine will be easy to identify because the engine will be more straightforward. They will be able to take power in each 360-degree rotation, allowing the engine to breathe easier and function with that power renewed in each course. Although it does not produce as much energy as other types of stroke machines, the two-stroke engine will allow you to run faster by taking this energy from the displacement unit.

A lot of the ports on the two-stroke snowmobile will be controlled by a reed valve that makes the pressure of the crankcase work fresher and transfers the ports to allow the passage into the cylinder. The lowest port on this snowmobile is the intake, making the piston rise directly into the top center that will go straight in the crankcase, allowing the compression of the fresh charge. 

Pros and Cons of having a 2-stroke snowmobile: A Summary

If you are new to buying this type of machine and are interested especially in purchasing the 2-stroke type, here are some helpful tips to determine the pros and cons of having it:


Their light design allows them to move at a faster speed

The powerband is bigger and wider than other types of engines

Because they’re very popular, the parts and pieces to repair it (if it gets damaged) are cheaper and easy to get


Some modern machines could have more power than the two-stroke

Mechanically speaking, it could be complex to repair since it is one of the first designs

In comparison to the 4-stroke engines, these need more maintenance constantly

The famous brand with two-stroke snowmobiles in the market:

  • Yamaha RX-1
  • Ski-Doo V-1000
  • Polaris Frontier
  • Arctic Cat four-stroke Touring