Before you even turn a key on your snowmobile you should already be familiar with your machine. Much like a car, specific terms are used to describe the various parts of the snowmobile. Knowing the names of these parts and their functions will be useful in any number of ways.

Everything from talking about the sport to fellow snowmobilers to isolating mechanical problems will be a whole lot easier once you know the proper terminology. It only takes a little work to gain a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time.

We’ve compiled a list of 20 basic terms every snowmobiler would be wise know.

20 Snowmobile Terms You Should Know
ThrottleSqueezing the throttle lever feeds more fuel to the engine which in turn powers the driveshaft and rubber track moving you forward (or backwards on snowmobiles equipped with reverse).
Engine Stop SwitchA way to stop the engine quickly. To activate it you must push the switch down.
ThrottleSqueezing the throttle lever feeds more fuel to the engine which in turn powers the driveshaft and rubber track moving you forward (or backwards on snowmobiles equipped with reverse).
HandlebarsMain steering mechanism.
WindshieldProtects you from the wind and wind chill. Also deflects any debris, ice or snow that may fly up during operation.
Headlight(s)Illuminate the path in front of your snowmobile and alert other riders to your presence. They are to be used during both daylight hours and evenings. Most snowmobile headlights have high and low beam settings.
Hood or CowlProtects and covers the engine and other mechanical components. Always check the engine before any trip.
EngineSnowmobile engines are generally two stroke except for newer models that use four stroke engines. Repair and troubleshooting is similar to any other vehicle. Always remember to maintain your vehicle properly and, when possible, have it serviced by a qualified technician.
Hull or TubAlso known as a belly pan, it is meant to aid in floatation in deep snow and also to protect the undercarriage from rocks, ice and other hard debris.
Front and Rear BumpersHelp to protect against minor collisions with trees, rocks, and other snowmobiles. Always drive with care and at a safe speed.
Ski Tip HandleHandy for pulling, moving, and lifting the vehicle.
SkisIncluding wear bars and carbides, the skis glide along the surface of the snow and steer the vehicle through the snow. Most ski blades have stabilizers that run along the bottom of the blade to decrease side-to-side motion.
Ski SpindleConnects the ski to both the suspension and the steering sytems.
Shock AbsorberUsing either springs, hydraulics, or both, “shocks” will help give you a comfortable and smooth ride over bumpy terrain.
TrackMade from reinforced rubber, the “track” is wrapped around the rear suspension system of the snowmobile and is driven by the engine.
Rear SuspensionSuspends the track as it digs into the snow which helps maintain contact between the snowmobile and the snow. Also supports the rear of the snowmobile by absorbing bumps allowing for a smooth ride.
Running BoardAlso referred to as the tunnel it is located on both sides of the snowmobile and used to rest the feet on while the snowmobile is in motion.
Tail LightsAlways make sure that your rear lights and brake lights are in proper working order. Always carry spare bulbs in the toolkit under your seat.
Passenger StrapMake sure your passenger has a solid, safe strap on which to hold. Only carry a passenger if the snowmobile is designed for it.
Vehicle Identification NumberThis number is a unique identifier assigned to the snowmobile. Federal law prohibits the removal of this number from the vehicle.
Instrument PanelGives you information about your snowmobile such as speed. Also includes warning lights and the tachometer. The tachometer indicates the rotation speed of the driveshaft in RPMs (revolutions per minute). Review your owner’s manual so you are aware of all warning lights and their meaning.

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