How Does A Snowmobile Track Work

Snowmobiling is a popular winter activity that provides thrill and excitement for riders of all ages. One of the key components of a snowmobile is its track, the part of the machine that makes contact with the snow and propels it forward. In this article, we will explore how a snowmobile track works, as well as provide some interesting facts about this essential component of a snowmobile.

How Does a Snowmobile Track Work?

A snowmobile track is made up of a series of rubber tracks that are connected to each other by metal or plastic clips. These tracks form a continuous loop that wraps around the drive sprockets at the rear of the snowmobile. The drive sprockets are connected to the track drive shaft, which is powered by the snowmobile’s engine.

When the engine is running, power is transferred from the engine to the drive shaft, which then rotates the drive sprockets. As the drive sprockets turn, they pull the track along with them, causing the snowmobile to move forward. The rubber tracks on the snowmobile track provide traction on the snow, allowing the snowmobile to grip the surface and move efficiently.

Interesting Facts About Snowmobile Tracks:

1. The first snowmobile track was invented in the early 1900s by Joseph-Armand Bombardier, a Canadian inventor. Bombardier’s track design revolutionized snowmobiling and paved the way for the modern snowmobile tracks we see today.

2. Snowmobile tracks are typically made of rubber or a synthetic material that is designed to withstand the cold temperatures and harsh conditions of winter. These materials are durable and flexible, allowing the tracks to bend and conform to the contours of the snow.

3. The length and width of a snowmobile track can vary depending on the make and model of the snowmobile. Longer tracks provide better traction and flotation in deep snow, while shorter tracks are more maneuverable and agile on groomed trails.

4. The tread pattern on a snowmobile track plays a crucial role in determining how the snowmobile performs on different types of snow. Deep lugs provide better traction in deep snow, while shallow lugs are better suited for hard-packed trails.

5. Snowmobile tracks are equipped with studs or carbide runners that help improve traction on icy surfaces. These studs and runners dig into the ice, providing additional grip and stability for the snowmobile.

6. Snowmobile tracks are designed to be reversible, meaning they can be flipped over to evenly distribute wear and extend the life of the track. Reversing the track helps prevent uneven wear and ensures that the snowmobile performs at its best.

7. Maintaining a snowmobile track is essential for optimal performance and safety. Regularly inspecting the track for wear and tear, as well as keeping it properly lubricated and tensioned, will help prolong the life of the track and ensure a smooth ride.

8. Snowmobile tracks come in a variety of colors and designs, allowing riders to customize their snowmobile to suit their personal style and preferences. Some tracks even feature unique patterns and graphics that add a touch of flair to the snowmobile.

Common Questions About Snowmobile Tracks:

1. How often should I check my snowmobile track for wear and tear?
It is recommended to inspect your snowmobile track before every ride to ensure that it is in good condition. Look for signs of wear, such as missing lugs or cracks in the rubber, and replace the track if necessary.

2. Can I replace my snowmobile track myself, or do I need to take it to a professional?
While it is possible to replace a snowmobile track yourself, it is recommended to have a professional mechanic or dealer perform the replacement. They have the tools and expertise to properly install the new track and ensure that it is aligned and tensioned correctly.

3. What is the best way to clean and maintain my snowmobile track?
Regularly cleaning your snowmobile track with a mild detergent and water will help remove dirt and debris that can cause premature wear. Additionally, lubricating the track with a silicone-based spray will help reduce friction and prolong the life of the track.

4. How do I know if my snowmobile track is properly tensioned?
A properly tensioned snowmobile track should have a slight amount of sag in the middle when the snowmobile is at rest. You can check the tension by pressing down on the track with your thumb and measuring the deflection. Consult your snowmobile’s owner’s manual for specific guidelines on track tension.

5. Can I ride my snowmobile with a damaged track?
It is not recommended to ride your snowmobile with a damaged track, as this can cause further damage to the snowmobile and compromise your safety. Replace the track as soon as possible to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

6. Are there different types of snowmobile tracks for different riding conditions?
Yes, there are different types of snowmobile tracks designed for specific riding conditions. For example, deep snow tracks have longer lugs for better traction in powder snow, while trail tracks have shorter lugs for improved performance on groomed trails.

7. How long does a snowmobile track typically last?
The lifespan of a snowmobile track can vary depending on the riding conditions and maintenance practices. On average, a snowmobile track can last anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 miles before needing to be replaced.

8. Can I ride my snowmobile without a track?
It is not safe to ride a snowmobile without a track, as the track provides traction and stability on the snow. Riding without a track can damage the snowmobile’s suspension and cause accidents.

9. How do I know when it’s time to replace my snowmobile track?
Signs that indicate it’s time to replace your snowmobile track include missing lugs, cracks in the rubber, and excessive wear on the track. If you notice any of these issues, it is best to replace the track to prevent further damage to the snowmobile.

10. Can I upgrade my snowmobile track to improve performance?
Yes, you can upgrade your snowmobile track to improve performance and tailor it to your riding style. Consider upgrading to a track with deeper lugs for better traction in deep snow, or adding studs for improved grip on icy surfaces.

11. How do I store my snowmobile track during the off-season?
To prolong the life of your snowmobile track during the off-season, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. It is also a good idea to elevate the track off the ground to prevent flat spots from forming.

12. Are there any safety precautions I should take when replacing my snowmobile track?
When replacing your snowmobile track, be sure to disconnect the battery and engage the track tensioning system to prevent accidental movement. Wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

13. Can I repair a damaged snowmobile track, or do I need to replace it?
Minor damage to a snowmobile track, such as a small tear or puncture, can sometimes be repaired with a patch kit. However, if the damage is extensive or affects the structural integrity of the track, it is best to replace the track.

14. How does track length affect the performance of a snowmobile?
Longer tracks provide better traction and flotation in deep snow, making them ideal for off-trail riding. Shorter tracks are more maneuverable and agile on groomed trails, making them well-suited for trail riding and racing.

15. What is the purpose of studs and carbide runners on a snowmobile track?
Studs and carbide runners on a snowmobile track improve traction on icy surfaces by digging into the ice and providing grip. They help the snowmobile maintain control and stability on slick terrain.

16. Can I customize the color and design of my snowmobile track?
Yes, many manufacturers offer a variety of colors and designs for snowmobile tracks, allowing riders to personalize their snowmobile to suit their style and preferences. Some tracks even feature custom graphics and patterns for a unique look.


Snowmobile tracks are a critical component of a snowmobile that plays a key role in its performance and handling on the snow. Understanding how a snowmobile track works, as well as the various factors that influence its performance, is essential for maintaining and optimizing the performance of your snowmobile. By following proper maintenance practices and investing in the right track for your riding style, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable snowmobiling experience all winter long.

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