How Long Does a Full Tank of Oil Last in a Snowmobile? [Chart]


A tank of oil in a snowmobile can last as little as 250 miles or as far as 900+ miles. The majority of sleds can hold 2.5-4 quarts of oil, which usually last as long as 2-3 tanks of gas. However, as you will see, a snowmobile’s oil consumption depends on various factors like the type of engine, fuel consumption, and environmental conditions.

Let’s drill into the details and see how long a full tank of oil will likely last in your sled!

How Much Oil Does a Snowmobile Hold?

It’s safe to say that most snowmobiles hold about 2.5 – 4 quarts of oil. Vintage snowmobiles typically featured a smaller oil tank with a capacity of only 2.5-3 quarts. In contrast, modern sleds usually come with larger oil tanks that can hold 3.25-4 quarts.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the oil capacity of some of the most popular snowmobile models into these charts:

Vintage Snowmobile Oil Capacity Chart

Models Oil Capacity (qrt.)
Yamaha VK 540 III ’99-’05 2.6
Yamaha Venture 700 ’98 2.5
Yamaha SXR 600 ’00-’03 3.2
Yamaha Mountain Max 600 ’97-’02 3.2
Yamaha Venture 700 ’99- 3.2
Yamaha SRX 700 ’98-’02 3.5
Yamaha Phazer 500 ’99-’01 3.5

Snowmobile Oil Capacity Chart (Current Models)

Model Oil Capacity (qrt.)
Arctic Cat M Mountain Cat Alpha One 3.25
Arctic Cat M Hardcore Alpha One 3.25
Arctic Cat M 8000 Mountain Cat 3.6
Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 850 3.6
Ski-Doo Summit X 850 3.6
Polaris 600 PRO-RMK 155 3.9
Polaris 850 PRO-RMK 3.9
Polaris 850 RMK KHAOS 3.9
Polaris 850 SKS 155 3.9

These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, refer to the factory manual!

How Long does Oil Last in a Snowmobile?

How long a full tank of oil lasts in a snowmobile depends on many factors, such as:

  • The features of the engine and the sled
  • Fuel consumption (depends on many factors)
  • Oil consumption – oil/fuel ratio (depends on many factors)
  • Oil tank capacity

When it comes to a snowmobile’s oil consumption, one of the major factors affecting this is the type of engine it has. Modern oil-injected engines use much less oil compared to their outdated predecessors.

What’s more, thanks to the advanced oil-injection system, riders no longer have to premix the fuel in jerry cans.

Instead, today’s sleds feature a separate oil tank with a capacity of 3.25-4 quarts. The bigger this tank, the longer the oil lasts in the sled!

Besides engine type, fuel economy is no less important, as the more fuel the sled uses, the more oil it will burn.

Keep in mind that the oil (and fuel) usage of a sled is never consistent. Riding at WOT can dramatically increase a snowmobile’s oil consumption.

This is because an oil-injected sled continuously mixes the oil with gasoline in preset ratios. Although snowmobile oil injectors are typically set at a ratio of about 40:1 or 50:1, this may vary depending on speed.

For example, at idle this ratio can be around 90-100:1, but at WOT, it can jump up to 40:1. Between the two extremes, the fuel/oil ratio varies depending on the throttle.

The general rule is that most snowmobiles have a fuel/oil ratio of 1:40-1:60. This means the average 2-stroke snowmobile use about one gallon of oil while burning 40-60 gallons of gas. Since most sleds have a 3-4-quart oil tank, riders typically get around three full tanks of gas to one tank of oil.

Again, these are pretty average numbers. Fuel and oil consumption figures depend on countless factors including environmental conditions and the rider’s style.

Therefore, the oil consumption of a snowmobile differs every day.

If a sled runs on premix, it means its oil/fuel ratio is permanent, as the rider must mix the oil with the fuel in advance based on the manufacturer’s recommendation.

On these sleds, the oil consumption is much more predictable and traceable.

If you are you wondering how many miles a tank of oil lasts in a snowmobile, keep reading!

How Many Miles Does a Full Tank of Oil Last in a Snowmobile?

As we’ve discussed, the MPG of gas that a sled gets significantly affects its oil consumption. The fewer MPG your sled gets, the faster it burns oil along with gas.

Let’s see some examples!

Vintage sleds typically had much smaller oil tanks, many of them only held 2.5 quarts. If the usage was 10 MPG, these sleds only went 250-310 miles on one tank of oil.

If a sled gets about 10 MPG of gas and has a 3.5-quart oil tank, a tank of oil will last about 350-525 miles in this sled.

But if a sled uses less gas and gets 15 MPG, with a 3.5-quart oil tank, it can reach about 525-790 miles, and 4 quarts of oil will last it about 600-900 miles.

Consequently, one tank of oil in a snowmobile can last as little as 250 miles or take you as far as 900+ miles, depending on several factors like the size of its oil tank, engine features, average MPG of gas it gets, and fuel/oil ratio. But as a rule of thumb, the average snowmobile burns 1 quart of oil for every 10-15 gallons of gas, so you can expect to get around 100-150 miles on one quart of oil.

For better comparison, we’ve listed the available miles on a snowmobile based on the size of its oil tank, MPG of gas it gets, and the oil/fuel ratio.

Snowmobile Oil Consumption Chart I

Oil tank capacity: 2.5 quarts

Gas MPG Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:40 Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:50 Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:60
8 200 250 300
10 250 312.5 375
12 300 375 450
14 350 437.5 525
16 400 500 600
18 450 562.5 675
20 500 625 750

Snowmobile Oil Consumption Chart II

Oil tank capacity: 3 quarts

Gas MPG Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:40 Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:50 Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:60
8 240 300 360
10 300 375 450
12 360 450 540
14 420 525 630
16 480 600 720
18 540 675 810
20 600 750 900

Snowmobile Oil Consumption Chart III

Oil tank capacity: 3.5 quarts

Gas MPG Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:40 Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:50 Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:60
8 280 350 420
10 350 437.5 525
12 420 525 630
14 490 612.5 735
16 560 700 840
18 630 787.5 945
20 700 875 1050

Snowmobile Oil Consumption Chart IV

Oil tank capacity: 4 quarts

Gas MPG Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:40 Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:50 Oil Last (miles) / Mixture Ratio 1:60
8 320 400 480
10 400 500 600
12 480 600 720
14 560 700 840
16 640 800 960
18 720 900 1080
20 800 1000 1200

These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.

When Should You Refill the Oil Tank on Your Snowmobile?

An empty oil tank can cause many headaches, especially if you run out of oil in the middle of nowhere.

Therefore, it’s highly recommended to top off the oil tank on your snowmobile before you start your ride! Some riders prefer to refill the oil after the ride as part of after-ride care, while others like to do it before heading out in the morning. Whichever you prefer, the key is to never hit the snow without filling up your oil tank.

On more extended tours, it makes sense to fill up the oil tank whenever you refuel your sled.

This is extremely important, as many snowmobiles don’t have an “automatic shut off” system at low oil levels.

Although the dashboard informs you of the oil level, the computer won’t stop the engine if you run out of oil. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you not ride your sled if the oil light is on.

Running out of oil leaves the engine without lubrication,  which may end in an engine seizure. Because of this risk, always make sure there is a sufficient amount of oil in the reservoir.

Where do You Carry Extra Oil on Your Snowmobile?

If you are planning a long ride, it makes sense to carry some oil with you for safety reasons.

You can carry extra oil in many places on your sled, but the best ones are as follows:

  • Saddlebag
  • Tunnel bag
  • Windshield bag
  • Backpack (it might be uncomfortable)
  • Under the seat
  • Powder Keg Combo Pack
  • LinQ Oil Caddy
  • Under the hood, securely fastened
  • Strapped onto the sled (on the clutch cover, etc.)
  • On a sleigh being pulled behind

Alternatives:

  • Buy extra oil at the trail gas stations on your way
  • Ship the extra oil in advance to the location where you will be staying
  • Ask your riding buddies for extra oil

It’s safe to say that most snowmobile riders carry the extra oil in a bag or in a container strapped somewhere on the sled.

The bottle you carry the extra oil in on your snowmobile is no less important.

It’s highly recommended that you never use a flimsy water bottle for this purpose.

Instead, the best practice is to pack a new unopened bottle of oil to avoid leaks. For an extra layer of security, it makes sense to seal the bottle’s cap with duct tape or to put it in a zip-lock freezer bag.

However, some riders prefer to pour the oil into a more durable aluminum bottle that isn’t prone to cracking in the bag.

Takeaways – FAQs about Snowmobile Oil Consumption

Do snowmobiles use engine oil?

Yes, just like other vehicles with internal combustion engines, snowmobile engines use oil for lubrication.

Do snowmobiles burn oil?

2-stroke snowmobiles continuously burn oil, while 4-stroke models only require periodic oil changes.

How much oil does a snowmobile hold?

2-stroke vintage snowmobiles typically hold about 2.5-3 quarts of oil, while modern sleds come with a 3.25-4-quart oil tank.

How long does oil last in a snowmobile?

In most cases, one tank of oil lasts about as long as 2-3 tanks of gas in a snowmobile.

Approximately, how many miles should a snowmobile get out of 1 tank of oil?

A snowmobile can go somewhere between 250-1000 miles on one tank of oil. The range strongly depends on the sled’s engine features, fuel consumption, and the size of the oil tank.

Where do you carry extra oil on your snowmobile?

The best practice for carrying extra oil on your snowmobile is to securely strap it onto the machine, or place the oil jug in a bag (saddle bag, tunnel bag, windshield bag, etc.).

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