How to Tow a Dead Snowmobile in the Snow

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If you enjoy snowmobiling, you are responsible for knowing the best ways to keep yourself safe and your gear in good condition. This sport comes with many chances of your snowmobile getting stuck or becoming disabled and it is up to you to learn as much as you can to get out of such situations.

This knowledge could very well save you in many ways should any unforeseen circumstances arise during your activity. Knowing how to tow a dead snowmobile is an essential hack to keep in mind as a rider.

My wife, Emma, had her snowmobile stuck in the snow and unable to restart some years back but thankfully, we were not too far away from the starting point so I was able to tow her snowmobile all the way back.

To understand how to safely tow a sled without causing harm to either the one towing or the one being towed, let us dive in.

How to Tow a Snowmobile

Prepare Snowmobiles Before Towing

Before you start, attach a safety flag and reflectors to the sides and rear of the disabled snowmobile.

You want to make sure the engines on the dead sled are turned off and remove the drive belt allowing their tracks to move freely. This allows the snowmobile pulling the disabled sled to move more easily and offers less resistance.

You will need a tow strap or a tow rope to help you pull the sled. These straps are strong and can carry heavy weights, allowing you to tow a dead snowmobile.

How to tow a dead snowmobile

Attach Your Straps

You need to attach one end of the strap to the dead sled and another to the running one. This step requires you to pay close attention to the points where you’re hooking on your strap because different snowmobiles come with different strong points.

If your snowmobile has a special hook or a loop, that would be the best place to strap it. Most snowmobiles come with strong aluminum or iron bumpers in the front and back, you can strap your rope on these after checking if the screws and bolts holding them are strong and secure.

We also find many snowmobiles with carbon-fiber bumpers that are there only for looks and not strong enough to be used for towing. In this case, you will need to attach your straps to the foot of the sled as this is the stronger part of the machine.

Do not try to tow a dead snowmobile by hooking the straps at the tail end of the skis. This portion is made of weaker, flexible material and will bend inward, making it impossible for the driver up front to steer.

Drive Slow and Steady

Make sure the snowmobile being used to tow the disabled snowmobile is in good condition and is strong enough.

Drive the snowmobile slow and steady and allow the dead sled to follow behind. If you go too fast, the sled on the back will suffer damage and just make the person behind miserable.

When you tow a dead snowmobile, make sure the strap distance between you and the dead sled is not too close. This increases the chances of it coming and hitting you from behind in case of sudden breaks.

Avoid Sharp Turns

When you tow a dead snowmobile, avoid taking sharp turns as these are difficult to maneuver around. You should also try to avoid steep inclines, the risks with these are high and it is easy for you to lose control of both your sled and the dead sled following.

When making turns or going through rougher terrains, avoid sudden stops. Signal the driver behind to avoid crashing into one another.

During unavoidable turns or hills, it is paramount to communicate. Try to employ the use of radios or hand signals to keep each other up to date.

Additional steps you can take when you tow a dead snowmobile

Precautions when towing a snowmobile

Tow straps with additional give, like a rubberband could make it easier and much smoother when towing a dead snowmobile.

You can opt for a strap that is ‘Y’ shaped to provide an extra secure point for your snowmobile. This distributes the pressure equally between two areas instead of just one. If you need help in finding the best straps for towing a snowmobile, you can read my article about the best snowmobile tow straps.

Having a spotter behind you, acting as a third party, if possible, will make the jobs much safer and easier for you.

If you find that it is available near you, you can tow your dead sled using a vehicle and a sled deck.

Final Words

Snowmobiling can be an exhilarating experience and also a fun pastime for the winter season and accidents and unforeseen circumstances are a given.

There are many things a snowmobiler needs to learn before he can get on his snowmobile and ride carefree, and knowing how to tow a dead snowmobile is an important one.

It is wise to always have your accessories and essential tool kit with you for different cases. Especially when out in the snow, one must pay extra care.

Here are some important safety tips for snowmobiling before you go out riding with your family and friends. Stay safe, and have an adventure!

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Thomas Miller
My name is Thomas Miller. I have been riding snowmobiles for the past 10 years and I'm completely in love with snowmobiling because it's fun, relaxing, and a great workout.