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Servicing Your Shocks Pays Off

Why it's important to maintain your snowmobile shocks annually
Arctic Cat FOX shocks service snowmobile
They take a beating, and what do you do about it? Servicing your shocks annually is key to keeping your buggy riding high.
If you had it your way, you’d ride everyday. We’d all much rather be out pounding the trails or powder than in the shop. But sled components need some love once in a while, and servicing your shocks regularly will keep you riding more … and save you some dough! Who wouldn’t like that?

We recently spent a day at the main FOX Shocks facility in Baxter, Minn. It’s the powersports headquarters for a top-tier shock company that’s been in the suspension business for more than 40 years. While there, we took an in-depth look at the shock servicing process and discussed exactly why it’s important to service your shocks annually.
old used shock oil service snowmobile
new clean shock oil service snowmobile
The difference between old shock oil (top) and clean oil (bottom) is clear.
Why service shocks?
There are many integral parts of your sled that are working hard during every inch of every mile you ride. Your shocks are one of the hardest working of those parts. You routinely do maintenance on your sled’s engine, and you religiously inspect the track, hyfax, carbides, skis, grease zerks and more. So why would you treat your shocks any differently?

Unfortunately, many riders out there often neglect them. I won’t name names, but I can think of many buddies in my various riding crews who I know have never had their shocks serviced. They often get a lecture from yours truly before the season starts, because there’s nothing worse than having to wait for a repair once snow starts to fly.

According to the fine folks at FOX, servicing your shocks should be at least an annual maintenance item. Even with the great “Ice Scraper” technology and other advanced items on their shocks, they will tell you that there is no 100% effective solution to keeping water and other debris out of your shock, regardless of the number of miles you ride. Especially in the demanding cold, moist, and rigorous winter conditions we ride in.

“Your average trail rider will typically go 20, 30, 40 miles and then take a pit stop at their favorite watering hole while their sled sits in freezing temps for 30 minutes or so,” said Carey Daku, customer service representative at FOX. “Then they jump back on with all the ice and slush frozen to the suspension and hammer down.”

Obviously, that’s not an ideal situation for anything mechanical to operate. Combine that with the wide range of temps your shocks are expected to perform in – plus any rock, stump or other object it may come in contact with – and you can argue that there isn’t another part on your machine that faces the same extreme demands as your shocks.

If you notice a nick or ding in the outer sleeve of your shock, it may only look like a cosmetic issue, but there’s a good chance it’s causing an issue on the inside of your shock too. Those evident issues on the exterior often result in rings and seals wearing irregularly, and over time they’ll allow water and other foreign substances to enter your shock, which inevitably affects the shock’s performance.

But don’t wait to have your shocks serviced until you see a blemish on the exterior. Simple items like changing shock oil on an annual basis are essential to properly functioning suspensions. 4-stroke riders out there know that their engine oil has a useful life and needs to be changed regularly. Similarly, 2-stroke riders understand the importance of keeping moving engine parts sufficiently lubricated. Your shocks and the oil inside them are no different. Over time, that oil breaks down and needs to be changed, just like any other lubricated part of your sled.
new old used shock bands rings service snowmobile
This image shows the difference between new (left) and used (right) bands and rings.
Take it from me, one of the world’s leading procrastinators: don’t wait to service your shocks until the flakes are falling. Get it done and ensure that you’re ready to ride when the time comes!

What you need to do
As little as possible. Seriously, the recommendation from the shock experts at FOX is not to touch your shocks yourself. The number of people who truly understand the complexities and science behind the inner workings of a snowmobile shock is small, at best. Your best option is to leave this to the pros.

By boxing up your shocks and sending them in for service, you’re sending them to same people who build shocks for the likes of Tucker Hibbert, Keith Curtis, Chris Burandt, Travis Pastrana, etc. All of FOX’s racer support, regardless of discipline, is serviced out of the Baxter facility by the same folks who serve their individual consumers.

All you need to do is go to www.ridefox.com and follow the instructions under the “Service” link. Once the paperwork is filled out, remove your shocks from your sled, box them up and send them to FOX.

The FOX service team will disassemble the shocks, inspect for damage and wear, and contact you with a quote and recommended solution for your shock before performing any maintenance or repairs. Once repairs have been made, FOX ships the shocks back for you to reinstall on your sled. The entire process takes about a week, from the time the shocks leave your hands to the time they’re back in them.
FOX shocks service snowmobile
TWO EASY SHOCK UPGRADES
By far, two of the best deals in the sled industry are the upgrade offerings available through FOX.

One of the upgrades involves adding Kashima coating to your FOX Float or Float EVOL shocks for $150 (Float X or Float 3 RC2 shocks cost $250). FOX is the only company offering the Kashima coating, which adds durability and reduces friction on the shocks, improving traction and handling through the stutter bumps. For this upgrade, your shocks must be sent into FOX’s service center for the upgrade. While there, your shocks will also get a complete rebuild, which is included in the price.

The second upgrade option is the EVOL upgrade kit, which includes everything you need to bump your Float 2 or Float 3 shocks up to FOX’s most adjustable EVOL shock. For those riders who have graduated beyond the Float 2/Float 3 in riding ability and suspension adjustment, the EVOL shock gives you more of everything! The kit costs $350 and is available for the consumer to purchase and do the upgrade themselves. You can also send your shocks into FOX for their experts to upgrade them for that same $350 price.

THE COST?

Service prices start as noted below. Each shock is different and includes a thorough inspection and fresh oil. FOX service experts will also make a recommendation of any additional attention your shocks might need. Additional parts will be quoted as an additional cost.
  • Float/Float 2: $120 per pair
  • Float 3/Float X EVOL: $145 per pair
  • Float R EVOL: $120 per pair
  • Zero-Pro: $80 per shock
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