Care And Feeding Of Your New SnowDog
If you’ve purchased (or you’re thinking of purchasing) a SnowDog, you might have some questions about the care and maintenance of these machines. While they’re not complicated like a car (or snowmobile or ATV) they do require some basic maintenance, most of which can be done without any specialized tools or training.
Your new Snowdog likely has less than 60 minutes of run time on the engine when you receive it. All engines have a break-in period where you just need to let them run, or in some cases, cough and sputter for a few minutes until they figure themselves out. This is normal. In fact, there are some other things you might notice during the break-in period:
- The engine may be hard to start initially, or not stay running for more than a minute
- You may notice oil leaking through gaskets on the engine until the gaskets swell and settle into their places.
- You may see LOTS of exhaust coming from the engine until oil gaskets set properly.
- Increasing the throttle may cause the engine to bog down and stall until the engine and all of its components are properly broken in.
Generally, the answer to all these concerns is to let the engine run frequently. We recommend activating the parking brake, starting up the engine with full choke, and slowly adjusting the choke and throttle (there's a throttle lever right above the choke lever) until you can have the machine running smoothly with the choke turned off. If you can go for a ride, even better!
Pre/Post Ride Inspection
The factory recommends a quick check of some key elements before each ride. It takes seconds to do but could save you hours out in the field.
Check the drive belt for obvious wear, and if you think it’s about to go, keep a spare one handy. Make sure the chain is not broken or seized. A quick spray of bike chain lubricant is always a good idea.
Check the oil level when the engine is warm for proper levels, and as obvious as it sounds, make sure you have enough fuel in the tank to get you there... and back.
After each ride, give the mechanics another check to make sure nothing has changed drastically.
Belts and Chains
The belt and chain on your Snowdog are important for obvious reasons, and while they’re built to last, nothing lasts forever. Lubricating the chain frequently (with bike or motorcycle chain oil) will extend its life. Checking the belt for wear (and replacing it when it’s time) will help to avoid any unpleasant breakdowns.
Snowdogs, like any other machine, need to be kept clean and dry when not in use. When you’re not using them, keep them covered or inside a shed or garage that has good air circulation so that the track, the motor, belts, carburetor and all of the components can dry off as much as possible.
Snowdogs don’t require any special fuel to run at peak efficiency. Regular unleaded fuel works just fine. If you’re planning to store your Snowdog without running it for long periods of time (months), we recommend a good quality fuel stabilizer or using special fuel such as TruFuel just before storage. Another option we've learned is that if you plan to leave your Snowdog sitting for more than a week at a time between rides, use premium (high octane) fuel with no Ethanol in it.
Oil changes are a snap on the Snowdog! Here you might need to make a small investment in a vacuum pump ($16 at Princess Auto) and a funnel with a long tube if you don’t have those things. We'll be posting some videos about his to change your own oil very shortly. Stay tuned!
The factory recommends changing the oil after the first 5 hours of run time, then every 20 hours after that.
At the beginning (and/or the end) of each season, we recommend a more thorough once-over of the machine. Check all the bolts for tightness, lubricate the throttle and brake cables, check the brake pads on the parking brake and check the track and bogey wheels for signs of serious wear.
Every Snowdog comes with a limited 12-month warranty but it’s important to note that not all the components of the Snowdog are covered for 12 months. Take a few minutes to read through the warranty card you signed when we delivered your machine. Much like the airline safety cards on airplanes, it's not a fun read, but it's important.
We do our best to make sure that everything is perfect when your Snowdog is delivered, but we encourage you to get out and use your machine as soon as possible to make sure that everything is working perfectly.
Now, get outside and enjoy the great outdoors!