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Are Snowmobiles 2 Stroke or 4 Stroke? (Explained)

Snowmobiles are becoming a household name for anyone spending a significant time in the snow since they are versatile in style, speed, and function. Engines are undoubtedly the most important part of any machine, and snowmobiles are no different.

As we grow more environmentally conscious each day, the importance of fuel efficiency and the footprint we leave behind grows, which is why it is equally important to know if the vehicles we use are efficient and eco-friendly.

This is why today we are going to be discussing whether snowmobiles are 2 strokes or 4 strokes, and what difference they make overall.

Are snowmobiles 2 strokes?

Original snowmobiles had engines with 2 strokes, but modern manufacturers are coming up with 4 stroke versions as well. However, this does not mean 2 stroke snowmobiles are a rarity since most brands carry both variations because 4 strokes are more efficient, but 2 strokes are more affordable.

Historically snowmobiles were powered by 2 stroke engines since they were rather simple, weighed, and cost less than the current four-stroke internal combustion engine.

Four-stroke engines came into the market in the 2000s and have been gaining popularity, which is why most brands come with both types.

Are snowmobiles 2 strokes or 4 strokes?

Snowmobiles come in both forms of 2 stroke engines and 4 stroke engines. The older models tend to be 2 strokes as they are lighter and cheaper. They also require more maintenance.

However, snowmobiles with four-stroke engines are currently becoming the dominant choice since they are longer-lasting, more sophisticated, and reliable. They are also more expensive than their 2 stroke counterparts.

Are all snowmobiles 2 strokes?

Old snowmobile models had 2stroke engines unanimously since they were relatively cheap, with simple mechanics, and made the machine lighter.

However, current models can also be in 4 stroke variations since they offer more power and acceleration. But as a trade-off, they are heavier and more expensive. In the end, it is personal preference what one would pick as their snow vehicle. 

Are Polaris snowmobiles 2-stroke?

While Polaris has been rumoured to come up with a 4-stroke line, currently Polaris has snowmobiles that have 2-stroke engines.

The lime green and black Polaris 800 Rush is a popular model that has a 2-stroke engine with a whopping 155 horsepower. They are also going for a 2-stroke turbocharged engine called Patriot Boost.

Are Ski-Doo snowmobiles 2-stroke?

Speaking of a turbocharged engine, ski doo introduced the industry first in the Summit 820 E-TEC Turbo. Ski-Doo is the kind of company that has both models available so you can find one that fits your needs and budget.

Why are snowmobiles 2 strokes?

As mentioned earlier, snowmobiles used to be available only in 2 stroke engines, but now there are also 4 stroke variations available, it now becomes a matter of choice. Snowmobiles used to be 2-stroke for the following reasons:


Since 2 stroke engines have a simple mechanic, they do not need much from the manufacturer which in turn results in it being cheaper than its 4-stroke alternative. This is one of the main reasons why snowmobiles have a 2-stroke option.


For the same reason 2-stroke snowmobiles are affordable, it makes them lighter in weight as well, which makes them easier to manoeuvre and work with. This is why people and producers prefer their mobiles to be 2-stroke instead of 4. 

Simpler mechanics

2-stroke snowmobiles complete a whole cycle for their engine in 2 strokes, hence the name. as it works with simple procedures. It feels snappier for their faster acceleration and so is easier to work with since the power that’s displaced is twice in amount.

So even though 2-stroke snowmobiles tend to need more maintenance, it being affordable, weighing lighter, and having simpler mechanics to work with makes it an attractive choice.

Snowmobiles 2-stroke vs 4-stroke- which one is better?

As snowmobiles come in both forms, if you are looking forward to getting one, it would be a good idea to know the differences between the two models and understand which one would be the right fit for you.


When it comes to efficiency, since the fuel is consumed each set of strokes, 4 strokes are a better choice than 2 strokes. This means what would be needed for a 4 stroke cycle, the double amount is needed for 2 strokes.


Weight matters if you need to constantly move the vehicle while it is turned off where there is a clear winner. Four-stroke engines weigh 50% more than their 2-stroke counterparts. So unless you want to feel the weight of your movements, 2 stroke snowmobiles are lighter and easier to navigate.

Engine sounds

2 stroke engines are louder since they create more torque with a higher RPM, thus creating a significantly louder and high-pitched “buzz”.


As 2-stroke engines are older in concept and model, they require more maintenance to keep up with the modern engines. As 2-strokes run at a higher RPM they wear out faster. So, while they might be more powerful, 4-stroke is more durable and will statistically last longer.


As eco-friendly concerns are rising for a greener world, what and how much fuel a machine consumes is an important matter to most, if not all. Two-stroke engines need a premixing of oil and fuel and so the burnt oil is released into the air from the exhaust. 

4-strokes on the other hand are a more environmentally friendly option since they need only one type of fuel.


It is inevitable, yet unfortunate that your beloved snowmobile may need repairs at one point in time or the other. Hopefully, it will be something minor, but the costs still matter. It also might matter how easy it is to do it yourself.

Two-stroke engines have a rather simpler design since they don’t have valves, but ports instead. So, they are technically easier to deal with.

Four-stroke engines, contrastingly, have more complicated parts and so are expensive to deal with. They require money, knowledge, and experience to repair.

Basically, 4stroke snowmobiles are fuel-efficient but they are both expensive to buy and repair. On the other hand, 2 stroke snowmobiles are lighter and cheaper, but they leave a heavier footprint with louder noise.

It should be noted that the simplicity of the 2-stroke mobiles makes them easier for beginners to handle since they are easier to start and maintain. But, 4-stroke snow vehicles will last longer.

Are 2 stroke snowmobiles allowed in Yellowstone?

The only way to visit Yellowstone during winter is by snowmobile and since 2015 all snowmobiles entering need to meet the NPS requirements for Best Available Technology (BAT).

This effectively means 2-stroke snowmobiles are not allowed in due to their contribution to noise and pollution.

Since snowmobiling in the park is a controversial topic, conservatives have tried to mitigate the damage as much as possible.

This is why the requirements specifically state that BAT snowmobiles have to be quieter and produce fewer air emissions than the rest. Yellowstone also allows the riders to be only on the plowed roads. 

Do they still make 2 stroke snowmobiles?

While modern companies prefer to go 4-strokes, there are still plenty of 2 stroke models and variations available.

Most manufacturers produce their models accessible in both engines. Even Yamaha is looking into tapping the 2-stroke market so this form of engine is not obsolete yet.

To remain competitive, most manufacturers are investing a considerable amount into their two-stroke models so they can have increased efficiency and longevity. They have also looked into improving their fuel injection and projection so they run smoother.

Who still makes 2 stroke snowmobiles?

There are a considerable number of brands still making 2 stroke snowmobiles. Even Yamaha, a brand known to have exclusive four-stroke engines, is introducing a 2-stroke line into the market.

Polaris, SkiDoo, BRP, and Arctic Cat are brands that have both 2 stroke and 4 stroke variants. Even some lesser-known manufacturers like AD Boivin, Snow Hawk, and Alpina carry 2 stroke snowmobiles with their 4 stroke lines.

How long does a 2-stroke snowmobile engine last?

Since 2-stroke snowmobiles are not as efficient and long-lasting as their 4 stroke counterparts, it will do you good to know how long the engine can last so you know when to go in for maintenance or regular checkups.

A snowmobile with 2-stroke motors can last around 10000 to 20000 miles depending on the model and how well it is looked after. People take 10000 miles to get a high mileage since they can also last around for 5000 miles.

How long the engine can last depends on the type, the way it is used, and the way it is maintained. 2-stroke snowmobiles need a “top and refresh” every 5000 miles to work efficiently.

Do 2 stroke engines need oil changes?

2 stroke engines run on a mix of oil and fuel, so it makes that they need oil changes regularly. Usually, the oil change needs to happen every five hours of active riding minimum to keep it up and running smoothly, since 2-stroke engines need more maintenance.

If you ride heavy and hard, then an oil change is needed every 3 hours. You can go longer without changes, but it will wear on the engine and transmission.

Snowmobiles are a fuel heavy machine which needs proper maintenance to run properly. To do so, you need to know if your model is 2 strokes or 4 strokes, and what kind of fuel they run on.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can Snowmobiles on Grass, Pavement, Ice, Sand & Dirt?

Can You Ride a Snowmobile in The Summer?

Can Snowmobiles Go on The Water?

Do Snowmobiles Float?

Do Snowmobiles Have Brakes?

Do Snowmobiles Have Power Steering?