What’s High Mileage On a Snowmobile?


A new snowmobile can cost over $10,000, so many people opt to buy a used one for significantly less. Of course, you don’t want to buy a used snowmobile that has too many miles on it. So, what’s considered high mileage on a snowmobile?

man-standing-on-snowmobile-over-snowy-landscape

A snowmobile that is over 8,000 miles, and especially over 10,000 miles, is considered to be high mileage. Generally, the life expectancy of a snowmobile is around 15,000 miles.

This answer itself is a little murky because the number of miles you get out of your snowmobile also depends on how well you maintain your snowmobile and whether you’re willing to replace some parts as they break down. To find the best answers to this question, I went through numerous snowmobile forums and asked some family members who have experience maintaining snowmobiles.

Read on to find out the best tips and tricks to getting the most out of your snowmobile!

What’s Considered High Mileage On a Snowmobile?

While it will really depend on how well you maintain your snowmobile, you can expect to get between 10,000 and 15,000 miles out of a snowmobile. That being said, if you’re considering buying a used snowmobile, anything that has over 8,000 miles will be considered high mileage.

Some people claim that 5,000 is considered to be high mileage, and the internet does seem to have 5,000 miles as cut-offs for filters. Although snowmobile enthusiasts say that a snowmobile with 5,000 miles on it can make a fine vehicle, it just depends on the maintenance it needs. Generally, engines (especially 2-stroke engines) need to be replaced around 5,000 miles. So, this may be why 5,000 is so often categorized as high snowmobile mileage.

While I was searching for average miles and prices, I noticed that eBay only had filters for “5,000 miles and more,” “Less than 5,000 miles,” “Less than 3,000 miles,” and “Less than 1,000 miles.” So, I used this information to help generate the table below. Additionally, I went to snowmobile forums and SnowmobileTrader.com to see what others are saying about mileage.

For all snowmobiles (apart from brand and year) you might find this general guideline helpful for classifying mileage:

MileageClassificationPrice Range (results from 2021)
under 4,000Low mileage$2,500 to $13,500
5,000-8,000Medium mileage$1,000 to $8,000
over 8,000High mileage$1,600 to $6,000
All information was synthesized from eBay, SnowmobileTrader.com and snowmobile forums.

As you can see above, the prices that I found overlapped and on some occasions, varied wildly. I even found that it was hard to find snowmobiles for sale that were over 8,000 miles (most snowmobiles for sale fell in the “medium range” between 5,000 and 7,000 miles).

I also noticed that the newer models (2016 and newer) were more expensive than the older snowmobiles even if they had similar mileage. So, when you’re thinking of buying a used snowmobile, definitely factor in the year and model.

How Many Miles Does A Snowmobile Last?

Most snowmobile fanatics claim you can get about 10 to 15 years out of your snowmobile, assuming that you snowmobile around 1,000 miles every year. So that means that most snowmobiles last between 10,000 and 15,000 miles.

However, others claim that they’ve easily gotten 20,000 miles out of a single snowmobile and that mileage is not the most important factor to consider; what’s most important is how well the snowmobile is maintained and how often the snowmobiler inspects and cares for the machine.

Needless to say, if you put more or fewer miles on your snowmobile each year, the lifespan of your sled may be more or less than the average. To make your snowmobile last longer, you can also replace parts as they break, such as the engine, tracks, and belts.

When Should You Replace the Track?

If you start to notice some stress marks or tiny cracks on your rubber tracks, it may be a sign that it’s time to replace your tracks. At 3,000 to 15,000 miles, snowmobile tracks have quite a varied lifespan. Like all other aspects of the snowmobile lifespan, how long your tracks last depends on proper maintenance and storage. With good caretaking, your tracks could last the entire life of your snowmobile!

When Should You Replace The Belt?

The belt of your snowmobile should typically be replaced every 1,000 to 3,000 miles. But, how long your belt lasts may also depend on where you ride your snowmobile. If you use paved sled trails, your belt will probably last 2,000 to 3,000 miles; if you snowmobile off trails, you may need to replace the belt after 1,500 miles.

When Should You Replace The Battery?

Snowmobile batteries come in two varieties: Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) and Conventional (lithium battery). With good maintenance and consistent monitoring, an SLA battery should last about 3 to 5 years and a conventional battery has a lifespan of about 2 to 3 years.

How Long Does A Snowmobile Engine Last?

One of the most important factors to consider when buying a used snowmobile is the state of its engine. A general rule for snowmobile engines is that the higher the performance (aka, turbocharged) of your engine, the shorter the lifespan. On average, snowmobile engines can last between 5,000 and 20,000+ miles.

However, the lifespan of your engine will depend on whether it has a 2-stroke or 4-stroke engine, and will likely last longer if you take better care of your snowmobile (see tips on how to make your snowmobile last longer below!).

2-Stroke Snowmobile Engines

While they may be less expensive to fix, 2-stroke engines need to be replaced every 4,000 to 5,000 miles. Luckily, most of the fixing can be done in your own garage if you’re an amateur mechanic (or just interested in doing your own rebuild/upgrades). Most of the time, you won’t need to replace the entire engine, just the rings or pistons.

4-Stroke Snowmobile Engines

With careful maintenance, 4-stroke engines can last up to 20,000 miles, which is around 20 years if you ride your snowmobile the average of 1,000 miles per year. However, 4-stroke engines are much trickier fixes and more expensive at that. So, you’ll probably end up taking your 4-stroke engine to the shop for maintenance. Albeit, it may only be once in your snowmobile’s life compared to the 2 to 3 times you’ll need to fix a 2-stroke engine.

Tips On How To Make Your Snowmobile Last Longer

I may not be an expert on snowmobiles, but I did some digging around on snowmobile forums and communities and found some great tips on how to make your snowmobile last longer.

Set A Maintenance Schedule

Like your car, you want to get your snowmobile on a regular maintenance schedule. Besides monitoring the individual parts and overall health of your snowmobile after each ride, the times you should ALWAYS perform maintenance on your snowmobile and check its components are:

  • Before you buy it
  • Before you take it out for the season
  • Once during the season (about halfway through)
  • Before you put it in storage at the end of the season

Additionally, if your snowmobile has 3,000+ miles on it at the end of a season, you’ll want to do a more in-depth inspection to make sure everything is still in good shape because 3,000 miles is when some parts start needing to be replaced.

Off-Season Battery Maintenance

If you want to extend the life of your snowmobile battery, make sure your battery is charged during the off-season. A neglected battery will only cause trouble and will likely need to be replaced.

Use the Manufacturers Instructions

Whether you have a Yamaha, Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, or Polaris, the manufacturer will provide a manual with specific care and maintenance instructions. While it may be tempting to go with whatever maintenance worked on previous snowmobiles, follow the manufacturer’s manual anyway. Manufacturers know their machines best, and following their instructions will help prolong the life of your snowmobile.

Clean Your Snowmobile And Its Cover

This may seem obvious, but make sure to clean your snowmobile before it goes into storage and throughout the season. This is especially important if you snowmobile close to roads because the salt and dirt can build up inside and out. By giving your snowmobile and its cover a good scrub with soap and water, your snowmobile will look and feel better.

You’ll also want to use an engine degreaser near the exhaust ports and oil reservoir to keep your engine clean.

Critter-Proofing

You don’t want mice and other vermin making their homes inside the hood of your snowmobile. According to Snow Goer, adding a few mothballs underneath the hood and near the engine will prevent any little critters from nesting in your snowmobile during the off-season.

If you can get your snowmobile off the ground, you’ll be even more likely to prevent any unwanted critter tenants.

Fog The Engine

Without proper protection from the elements, your engine and its components could start to corrode and cause your snowmobile engine to fail. One of the best ways to prevent engine failure is to make sure the inside is coated with storage fogging oil.

Even just a thin layer of oil will protect several parts of your snowmobile from damaging air and moisture, including the engine’s cylinder walls, rods, pins, and crankshaft bearings.

Use Fuel Stabilizer

When snowmobile fuel evaporates, it can leave behind some damaging solvents that could do major damage to your engine. By adding a fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank, you’ll protect your snowmobile from rust and corrosion. It’s pretty simple to do, just add the fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank and run the engine so that the stabilizer can flow throughout the engine and protect each component.

Peter

Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

Recent Posts