April 9th, 2015

How to Buy a Used Snowmobile

“Hi welcome to Slippery Slicks Used Snowmobile Sales and Service, what can I do ya for?”

Shortly after the earth cooled I bought a ’99 Powder Special 700; I just wanted to get to the backcountry to snowboard and I had no idea what I needed for a snowmobile. It was black on black with a huge riser and looked badass. Sweet. Oh it runs? Bonus round. Since that beauty left my possession it’s changed hands more times than the collection plate on Sunday.

We’ve all been there and heard all the lines. Buying a used snowmobile used to be a daunting task best left to the leathered and weathered. Until now. Here’s a little guide for you.



It may look good on paper or in the ad but here’s a few things to watch out for:


“Only 1 owner”

– Right on, what if that 1 owner used it to practice quadruple backflips into a snake pit full of lava and lasers?

– Perhaps that 1 owner drove it once to go ice fishing, broke through the ice and left it there for 2 years till it was decided that it was time to haul it up and sell it.

– Full throttle Phil was the only owner and he bounced that machine off of every tree in the entire Columbia Valley.

– Geology Georgia was the only owner and she slammed that sled into every type of rock from granite to quartz.





“Stored indoors”

– Stored indoors after I rolled it off a 600 foot cliff, smashed it into a tree, ran it out of oil, set it on fire and backed over it with my truck.

– Stored indoors at the battery acid factory.


“Mechanic owned”

I’m gonna tell you a little secret: the last thing a mechanic wants to do after fixing your broken shit all day is go home a fix his broken shit. Ya, maybe they know how to fix it but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna get fixed.


“Lady ridden”

What does that mean? Ladies can’t huck huge cliffs, send 100-foot booters, pull a 10-minute long 8100rpm hillclimb, or smash into rocks and trees? You bet your boots they can.


“Meticulously maintained”

“Dude this sled burns more oil than my truck but I always made sure it was topped up.”


“The speedo stopped working 3 years ago but I think it only has like 750km on it”

Ya, more like 750km a day for 3 years hauling a 3500 gallon water tank across the Arctic tundra for your seismic job.


“Rebuilt motor”

“Uhhh, do I get that box marked ‘leftover bolts from when I rebuilt the sled motor?’”

– Rebuilt 1784km ago.

– Rebuilt using previously enjoyed parts.



What does that even mean? If I become conscious of some foul breath am I supposed to lick the hood? Maybe the seat? I’m sorry, after enjoying a nice seafood dinner I am more inclined to reach for a piece of gum. Or a Tic Tac.



Everbody’s gotta hustle so let’s say you’re try to sell a used sled, here’s a few questions to be ready for:


“Has it ever been rolled?”

“Are there curling rinks in Saskatchewan?”

– “Does the Riverhouse sell Pilsner?”

– “Does Metallica wail?”




It’s advertised for $6500. “Will you take $1500?”

“Get off my property.”

– “Sorry I’m not selling shares, this snowmobile is not publicly traded on the TSX yet.”


“I’ll trade you my Xbox and 6 games.”

– “Get off my property.”


“There’s a tear in the seat and a scratch in the left-side panel, will you knock off $2500?”

“Sure why not. Tell you what, you can just have it for free. I forgot to tell you I farted on the seat once so it smells funny.”

– “Get off my property.”


“Did you use synthetic oil?”

– “Ya, and I only ever ran synthetic air through her.”



Real talk

It’s buyer beware with snowmobiles. It’s a crapshoot that carries the same thrill as a casino. It all boils down to how well the machine was taken care of after the constant terrible beatings it has sustained. Let’s be honest, the harder the terrible beating the funner the ride and we all ride because it’s fun. If you ride because you hate it then there is something wrong with your medulla oblongata.

I am guilty of letting a few maintenance items slide on my machine once in a blue moon. Ok that’s a lie. I usually end up riding the thing until it barely runs, the shocks don’t absorb, the sensors don’t sense, has no brakes, and the steering is so worn out I basically have to herd it in the direction I want it to go. Because of my unorthodox maintenance schedule I end up tearing my sled down to the tunnel a couple times a year and replacing just about every moving part. Having said that I am pleased to announce I am selling my 2010 Turbo Nytro with 12,000 km. Any interest? It’s mechanic owned, meticulously maintained (every 1000km), not mint, frequently rolled and I’ve always used synthetic oil. It looks just like every other thoroughly enjoyed used snowmobile out there.


– Cdub