How to Deal With Snowmobile Backfire Easily & Effectively

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A snowmobile is also known as a motor sled, sled, or snow machine. It has been created for driving on snow and there is no need to follow a road or trail. It can be driven over any type of terrain, with the snow, of course.

This is far more convenient than going skiing at resorts or having to carry your snowboard or skis uphill. For seasonal hobbies, snowmobiling is not just an attraction but also a physical activity that can help you burn calories.

But sometimes, snowmobiles misbehave, like backfire. So, in this article, we’re going to dig deeper into this snowmobile backfire issue and will try to find a solution.

What does a Snowmobile Backfiring Mean?

Snowmobile backfire

Winter activities like snowmobiling and skiing are not cheap. There is a whole hustle that goes with the thrill of sporting for the enthusiast of such winter activities. Problems are bound to happen when you own a snowmobile, and there is this big issue of backfire in a snowmobile.

Basically, a snowmobile backfire is a small explosion that happens when an engine is running. Though this happens internally, it is not uncommon to also witness a small flame.

In internal combustion engines, backfires occur, yet the explosion takes place outside the combustion chamber, and the reason for this might be an unbalanced amount of fuel and air.

The ignition fails if the mixture of fuel and air is more abundant in the air. The fuel, though, remains unburnt, but it still has to travel out of the system. The fuel may ignite as a reaction with the hot components inside the system’s exhaustion pipe.

And in the opposite imbalance, the same happens. Ignition does not happen if you get a mixture of more fuel and less air. The fuel still comes out of the machine reacting to the hot environment in the exhaustion.

There is another possibility, that when the engine is started, the plug holding the spark might fire too soon. This causes combustion that reaches into the intake manifold and fires up the mixture of fuel and air, and the explosion caused by these untimed events finds its way out of the carburetor, and there can be another backfire.

Common Reasons For Snowmobile Backfire

A snowmobile is an option for people who are not into high slopes and heavy skis or boards and also if they just want a bit of motorized excitement in their life.

In snowmobiles, people most often describe hearing backfires when starting the engine. Though, it can also happen when turning off the engine or when slowing down.

For such an event, there might be many reasons and you are advised to check your engine, exhaustion, plugs, pipes, fuel mixture, and almost everything.

Have a look at some of the factors that might cause snowmobile backfires –

Spark Plug

The spark plug helps the engine get started; it might be damaged, overused, dirty, or wet, preventing the ignition from properly firing. Hence, check your plugs and make sure they are good to go.

The Ratio of Fuel & Air

Proper ignition cannot take place if too much fuel or too much air is present. The ratio of fuel and air matters a lot for the appropriate ignition.

Fuel Quality

Additives in the composition of the fuel can cause a fire. Butane is often a reason for such reactions. Check the fuel before using it. Even water may also accumulate in the gas.


Bad timing can be another reason. When igniting the fuel, the spark plug can open sooner than expected and unburnt fuel comes out the exhaust pipe, exploding. Improper wiring is also a cause for bad timing.

Catalytic Converter

When it is damaged or missing altogether, a converter can cause backfires down the pipe hence, keep your converters checked.  

Effects of Snowmobile Backfire

At times, the effects of backfire can be severe and harmful to the machine. A backfire rarely is a cause for no concern. It means something doesn’t function well unless it is the desired effect, like in custom-built race cars.


Backfiring can be common or unavoidable with the old engine designs. However, it is rare in modern vehicles with fuel injection and computer-controlled fuel mixtures.

If it is still happening, then you need to see your snowmobile’s doctor because sometimes, it can even result in the complete destruction of the engine.


A carburetor is a device in an internal combustion engine for mixing air with a fine spray of liquid fuel, and at times, backfires in the intake usually result in the complete destruction of the intake manifold, carburetors, and supercharger.

Pipes and Convertors

The fuel cannot burn entirely when a component is faulty. This has undesirable effects over time. The pipes and converters suffer progressive damage if the damaging combustion happens inside the exhaustion system.

Other Components

If the explosion of backfiring is way too strong, then some other component may also crack, even its body, if it is made of bad quality fiber or plastic or any other weak material.

The bottom line is that it all depends on what caused the backfire and how strong it is. Your snowmobile may be in trouble, or it could survive to see another one.

How to Prevent Backfire in Your Snowmobile?

how to prevent snowmobile backfire

Responsibility also comes with owning a snowmobile. A good snowmobile is definitely a significant investment, not cheap at all because cheap products or machines are most of the time waste of money and time. That is why it is very important that you take good care of your expensive winter vehicle.

There are things you can consider to keep your snowmobile safe from backfiring, some of them are as follows-

  • First of all, comes maintenance. You should do regular check-ups and keep the machine up to date. A set of tips are included inside most manuals that come with a vehicle.
  • Try keeping the exhaust clean at all times. A dirty or clogged exhaust system will enhance the effects of faulty combustion.
  • Always keep a healthy catalytic converter. Backfiring can happen in the exhaustion when this piece is compromised.
  • You should make sure that your spark plugs are clean and in mint condition. Good sense and cleanliness can help prevent.
  • Always ensure that the airflow through the system is excellent. The valves and sensors should always be working correctly. The imbalance will cause backfires if too much air reaches the fuel.
  • As we all know, a healthy body makes for a reliable and robust individual. The same goes for machines like a snowmobile. So, you should take care of its body as well as they are powerful machines with the ability for thrilling experiences.

The above-written tips can be useful for you and your snowmobile if you really consider them and also, snowmobiles should not be left outside in different weather conditions.

Imagine that it is left outside from spring to winter, that it a very long time to be exposed to wind, rain, and sun. If you do not have a garage, you must use a good cover for the snowmobile to keep it in good condition.


Snowmobile gives a thrilling experience to the person riding it & there is no doubt that poor maintenance or lack of it will lead your snowmobile to give up.

Always remember that backfires usually mean damage or malfunction. So, keep your hands dirty and your snowmobile clean. Also, snowmobiles should be kept well covered and protected; you can use secure snowmobile covers for the same or store these vehicles’ safety inside in closed spaces.

It is not recommended for the vehicle to be left outside, where it can be exposed to different weather conditions; otherwise, its performance can be affected.

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