Snowmobile tracks last from 3 to 10 years. Their lifespan depends on many factors like your sled’s performance, your riding style, where you ride, and maintenance. If you want to learn more about snowmobile tracks, keep reading!
You can learn how you can make your track last longer and how to fix or adjust it if necessary.
But if you are looking for a track replacement, you can find the best snowmobile track manufacturers here!
How Long Does a Snowmobile Track Last?
How long snowmobile tracks last depends on the following six factors:
- Your riding style
- Where you ride your sled
- The sled’s performance
- Whether it’s studded or not
- The material of the track
- How your sled is stored
- The maintenance
Let’s take a closer look at these, one-by-one!
Your Riding Style
Your riding style is probably the main factor affecting the lifespan of your snowmobile track. As you can assume, the harder you ride the faster the track will wear out.
This is because aggressive accelerations put a lot of stress on the track, which can result in stretching, cracks, broken lugs, and a lot of other damage.
For example, if you like drag racing, your track will stretch out sooner than it wears out. But if you ride on groomed trails at reasonable speeds, your track will last much longer.
It’s also recommended that you avoid spinning your tracks, as it wears out the lugs and the clips much faster.
Where to Ride
It also matters a lot where you regularly operate your sled. If you ride on hard-packed snow at high speeds, tracks are prone to overheating.
You also risk damaging the track by riding over stumps or rocks if there isn’t enough snow for the sled. To avoid this type of damage, never spin the track on hard surfaces or in minimal snow conditions.
The lack of snow shortens the season year-after-year, which is not a good sign for the future of snowmobiling.
Contrary to popular belief, engine performance also affects the lifespan of the track. It is easy to see that the more powerful the engine, the harder the sled is ridden.
Therefore, the track will wear out much faster on a 200+HP turbocharged sled than on an entry-level model.
Studs are traction products that can be installed into the track for better traction. But you should know that a studded track can be damaged easily if it digs deep on icy corners.
Moreover, improper studding can also lead to several types of track damage, which is why you should think twice before studding your track.
In the beginning, the first snowmobile tracks were made only of rubber, but this caused many problems, so later tracks were made of composite materials (fiberglass and / or Kevlar). Thus, they remained flexible but became much more durable.
Storage and Maintenance
Finally, the way you store your sled and maintain the track is no less important. Improper storage, lack of cooling or lubrication, suspension misalignment, or damaged wheel bearings all lead to more wear and tear on the track.
That’s why you have to pay attention to the proper maintenance, just like any other part on your sled!
How Many Miles Does a Snowmobile Track Last?
As an average snowmobile only runs around 1200-1500 miles a year, many say that a track’s lifespan should be measured in miles instead of years.
Snowmobile tracks last anywhere from 3,000-15,000 miles, depending on the above-mentioned factors. If you ride a sled hard, spin the track regularly, and neglect it, you may need a track replacement at around 3,000 miles, or even sooner! On the other hand, with proper maintenance and care you can expect to get 15,000+ miles on a snowmobile track.
That’s why you can even find 20-year-old sleds on the market with their original tracks, and nearly new sleds with junk tracks.
When Should I Replace My Snowmobile Track?
You should replace your snowmobile track if you notice one or more of these signs:
- Lugs are missing
- Cracks on the track
- Dry-rotted rubber
- Missing or damaged clips
- Damage around the studs
- Frayed track cords
It’s hard to say when the best time is to replace a snowmobile track, as in many cases they can be repaired. Many owners say that prevention is better than the cure, and they replace their track if they notice some significant signs of wear and tear.
This is because if you operate the sled with a damaged or worn-out track, you risk having it blow out during your next ride. If this happens, it may end in more serious damage, or in the worst case a loss of control.
Because of these risks, you should fix or replace your snowmobile track to stay safe. Let’s see how you can get it done!
How do You Fix a Snowmobile Track?
How do I know if I have a bad snowmobile track?
The best way to make sure your track is in good condition is to check it carefully during your pre-ride inspection. If you can see one of the above-mentioned problems, it could be a sign that your snowmobile track is bad and needs to be fixed, or even replaced.
Can you repair a snowmobile track?
Whether you can repair a snowmobile track or not is always dependent on its wear and any damage. Unfortunately, most damaged tracks can’t be repaired at home, as this isn’t something that can be fixed with duct tape and a knife. If you notice significant wear on your track, best practice is to invest in a new one.
How do you fix a tear in a snowmobile track?
Some owners fix a tear in their snowmobile track with Shoe Goo, as you can see in this video below. But as we’ve mentioned, track damage is not a joke. A blown-out track is one of the last things you want to experience on your next ride! If you want to properly fix the tears on your track, it is recommended that you take your sled (or the track) to a professional repair shop.
How do I Change the Track on My Snowmobile?
If you don’t want the risk, you may want to invest a new track. For this, you have to first figure it out which track fits to your sled.
You may be also wondering: “How do I change the track on my snowmobile?” The good news is that you can easily change it at home if you follow these 10 simple steps:
- Remove the rear suspension
- Remove all the parts blocking the chaincase cover
- Remove the chaincase cover, tensioner, and gears
- Remove the clutch/brake/driveshaft
- Remove the old track
- Inspect the parts on the brake/drive/suspension
- Install the new track
- Install all of the removed parts
- Don’t skip the test!
- Adjust the track if needed
For further guidance, don’t forget to check your sled’s manual and this useful tutorial video:
How long does it take to change a snowmobile track?
It usually takes around 2-3 hours to change a snowmobile track if you already have experience doing it. If you are doing it for the first time it may take 5-8 hours, or even longer if you run into difficulties. No need to hurry, just take your time and assemble your sled carefully.
It helps a lot if you read the manual upfront to learn how the parts come apart. It’s also a time saver if a friend can help you with it.
Adjusting a Snowmobile Track
If you want to get the most out of your track, you have to sometimes tighten it. Adjusting a track is often difficult for beginners, but let’s face it, this is not rocket science!
Unlike repairs, adjusting a snowmobile track can even be quickly done in your garage with some basic tools. Let’s see how you could do it!
How often should you adjust a snowmobile track?
As a rule of thumb, you have to adjust a track after every 300-500 miles. If you own a sled with turbo or mods, you should check the track more often and adjust if needed. This is because the more power you have the more stress is put on the track!
How do you check the tension on a snowmobile track?
To check the tension on a snowmobile track you have to first raise the back of the sled. Once the track is in the air, push the middle of the track down with your hands or you can use a special gauge for more precise results. If the tension is correct the track should sag around 1-1½ inches.
You can see the whole process on this video:
How tight should be a snowmobile track be?
The ideal slack of snowmobile tracks is about 1-1½ inches, but it may vary from one model to the next. The required slack measurements and the force you have to use to pull the track down are clearly stated in the owner’s manual. With most sleds, you have to apply around 10-16 pounds of force in the middle of the track to check its tightness.
If your track is studded, manufacturers recommend that you maintain tighter tension settings.
How do you loosen a snowmobile track?
You can loosen a snowmobile track by loosening up the idler wheels on the rear end of the track. Don’t forget to loosen the nuts on both sides. If you move the wheels forward you can loosen the track, while moving them backward will tighten it. You can see the process step-by-step on this tutorial video:
How do you adjust a snowmobile track alignment?
To adjust a snowmobile’s track alignment, you have to loosen one of the idle wheels. First, raise the back of the snowmobile off the ground. As a rule of thumb, if you want to move the track to the left, you have to tighten the right-hand idler wheel. Adjust the wheel just a little, then fire up the engine and run the sled for a couple of seconds. Finally, stop the engine and check to see if your track is already properly aligned.
If you don’t want to run the engine, another trick is to turn the track around a couple of times with your hands.
How do you cut down a snowmobile track lug?
You can cut down the lugs of a snowmobile track with a sharp buck knife, a carpenter knife, or even an electric tool. Best practice is to use a piece of flat steel as a guide. Place this steel directly next to the lugs and run the knife along the top of it. Whatever you do, the most important thing is to be careful not to cut your hands!
The lifespan of snowmobile tracks varies widely and depends on many factors like your riding style, your sled’s performance, and how you store and maintain your sled.
Therefore, the tracks can last you around 3,000 or even 15,000 miles, which usually means 3-10 years.
If you notice some tearing on your track, it’s highly recommended that you replace or fix it immediately. In this way, you can avoid more serious damage.
Since in many cases it’s not easy to fix a track in your garage, it would be best to let professionals do the repairs.
Beyond fixing, adjusting the track is just one of several maintenance steps you have to regularly do on your sled.
This usually means tightening and aligning the track if needed. Best practice is to inspect and adjust the track after every 300-500 miles, or even more often if your sled is turbocharged.
As the last word, don’t forget to check the track before every ride, as part of the pre-ride inspection!
Disclaimer: Always refer to your sled’s owner’s manual before performing any maintenance work!