Skip to Content

Are Snowmobiles Reliable? (All You Need to Know)

If you’re living in a snowy country with temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, such as Switzerland, Austria, Canada, or New Zealand, you will be quite familiar with snowmobiles. These are motor sleds that can easily be driven on snow and are popular for winter traveling.

Are snowmobiles reliable?

Snowmobiles are not considered to be reliable due to their poor engines which can stop working at any time after covering a particular distance. Besides, there are other factors like low capacity and the stroke system. Usually, the snowmobiles are good to go for up to 20000 miles without any hassle.

There are variations of snowmobiles available. This is why it’s important to choose which type suits your needs the most. For instance, touring snowmobiles are for those who aim to make a penny attracting tourists. However, it’s usually not preferred for long journeys.

The reliability also depends upon the user; the more it’s being used, the more often it’ll need more maintenance and repairing.

The engines might’ve to be changed frequently if you want smooth rides all year round. The speed of each snowmobile threatens its reliability as it proves to be slower than other snow vehicles such as the snow crawler and the Hyanide.

Why are snowmobiles so unreliable?

It is really unfortunate to mention that most of the people habituated to traveling in snowy areas don’t suggest hopping onto such a vehicle.

You’ll instantly know why!

The engines don’t last for long

While they’re sometimes known for their high speed, they sometimes fail to provide such excellent service for only a long period.

To get a smooth running engine for a long time, you cannot use it for rough use. You’ll probably need to change it every 3 months.

However, this isn’t so unfortunate if you can afford other reliable vehicles with powerful engines.

Low capacity

One of the many reasons why people refuse to hop onto a snowmobile and think they are unreliable because of their capacity problems.

If you have a large or even a medium-sized family, it’ll be quite difficult as it might require several trips to reach your destination.

On average, a snowmobile can accommodate 1–3 people in a single trip. This may also depend on the snowmobile you’re purchasing. If you end up purchasing an old one, the chances are high that it will contain two-rider seats.

However, if you are lucky enough to afford a heavy-duty snowmobile, it might accommodate 3 passengers. It still has a weight limit which must be strictly maintained if you want to avoid any kind of accident.

Most of the latest snowmobiles consist of one seat for the driver, and it can prove to be unreliable for people with family, friends, or customers.

Special parts and their proper maintenance

The snowmobile has many special parts in it, like the driveshaft, CVT transmission, the clutch, which needs continuous maintenance.

So, if you forget to give those servicing after one ride, then there might be a chance to have failed parts while you ride on for your next ride.

This is why it is considered to be less reliable than other power sport vehicles.

What are the most reliable snowmobiles?

It mostly depends on the engine you wish to buy.

Snowmobiles with a four-stroke engine are generally considered to be the most reliable. But what exactly is that?

To understand that, you will need to know the available stroke cycles available and their differences. You’ll probably find two-stroke and four-stroke engines.

A two-stroke engine requires more maintenance than a four-stroke, increasing the costs of oil and fuel as it needs to be pre-mixed; if you purchase a four-stroke engine, you barely have to worry about that.

However, four-strokes are expensive, creating a higher torque at a lower RPM. The best-selling four-stroke snowmobile is Yamaha.

Other than the engines alone, it also depends on the user. If you are learning to snowmobile for the first time, a trail or a touring snowmobile might be perfectly tailored to fit your needs.

It has a horsepower of around 60-70, and this is what makes it easier for a new user to avoid any kind of accidents while learning.

A touring snowmobile would also be the most reliable, as mentioned earlier if you are to make some money. These have comfortable seats with wide windscreen, helping attract tourists.

Advantages of a trail/touring snowmobile

  • Beginner-friendly transport
  • Efficient for performance and touring
  • Lightweight frame – easy to glide rough snow without any hassle of pulling a heavy vehicle
  • Easier to learn

It will add a boost to your performance if your snowmobile has an electrical start and a reverse. There are many available. Suggestions include Indy Polaris 600 xlt, which consists of an electric start, reverse, studded track, and trailer pin.

It might prove to be unreliable if you are already familiar with it and are looking for sporty features. This raises the importance of sport trail, mountain, and crossover snowmobiles.

Such vehicles are usually equipped with four-stroke engines, making them powerful with increased stability while driving. It enables you to climb steep mountains, and might be definitely worth an investment if you live in the mountains!

If you are wondering which would the most reliable for a local businessman, Utilitarian snowmobiles would be preferable. You can easily load goods in the back as it is a long structured snowmobile.

How many miles does a snowmobile engine last?

The engine’s life expectancy also depends on the time spent on maintenance.

Your usage has a direct impact on its lifetime. The more roughly you use it, the more it depreciates.

Approximately, a snowmobile engine lasts ranging from 5000 miles to 20000 miles a lifetime. However, it varies from engine to engine. A two-stroke engine depreciates faster after traveling 5000 miles, it needs proper repairing and maintenance, once again increasing costs. While a four-stroke may travel 30,000 miles!

Is it worth buying a new snowmobile?

Yes. Buying a new snowmobile is worth it. As the snowmobiles provide excellent service in between almost a fixed riding distance, that is why it is considered worthy of buying a new one for a better experience.

A new snowmobile will probably come with a warranty, which will enable you to have access to free repairing, saving you from maintenance costs and the expertise required to fix it on your own.

It is suggested not to buy an old snowmobile as people usually sell their used vehicle due to technical problems.

Chances are high you’ll end up buying a 70% depreciated snowmobile and it will not be worth buying. Even a high horsepower snowmobile might result in poor performances as it was used roughly by the previous owner.

Although an old one will cost you $1000 – $1500, you can get a new one ranging from $700 to $1900. The differences in their performances are worth buying for.

A new sled will also have the latest technology, equipped with upgraded engines lasting longer than ever! New versions are known to travel on water and outrun the old versions.

If you want to use it for a long time, buying a new snowmobile will make it worth the money you spend!

Why you shouldn’t buy a snowmobile?

After all the things that prove the worth of buying a snowmobile, there are still some factors that indicate not to buy one for yourself as snowmobiles are considered least to be reliable among all power sport vehicles.

So make sure you consider the given factors before making the buying decision.

It can be dangerous if you have low stamina

For driving a snowmobile, you need to be skilled, having enough stamina as it will glide through bumpy trails with high speed. The same applies to the passengers; they’ll have the same experience.

It is rather disheartening to mention that every year an average of 20 people in a country alone met accidents while riding on a snowmobile with a helmet. Head injuries are quite common, and they may lead to brain hemorrhage and, even worse, loss of life.

The accidents occur mainly due to a conclusion with an object, road motor vehicle traffic, loss of control, falling through ice, etc., making it very important to steer clear.

Expensive maintenance

Affording a snowmobile may be easy but there are other costs in the future that you might need to consider before investing your hard-earned money.

Here are few costs that you might have to pay:

  • License fee
  • Oil and gas ($300 – $400)
  • Depreciation costs ($1300 – $200)
  • Repairing costs ($200 – $500)
  • Garage maintenance costs ($300 – $400)
  • Trailer depreciation ($300 – $1300)
  • Insurance fee ($300 – $400)
  • Registration fee ($100 – $150)
  • Taxes (varies from country to country)

Annually, these costs might add up to an amount near to the price of the snowmobile.

Fuel cost and coverage

On average, a snowmobile uses 10-20 gallons of gas every 60 minutes. If a tank of gas is filled, it might be able to travel 70-280 miles. This means you can end in the empty tank in the middle of tracking if you do not calculate the distance beforehand.

Putting these aside, maintenance and the care taken for the engines still proves to be a major factor for its life expectancy.

As deduced from the information above, reliability depends on the usage, affordability, and   intentions of the rider. However, since it has to be driven on snow, there are many alternative vehicles available with more horsepower and stability.

Considering the accidents occurring due to that, it is suggested to invest such an amount on a powerful vehicle with low maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Snowmobile Skis Universal?

Are Snowmobiles 2 Stroke or 4 Stroke?

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?