Part two of our cost of ownership research digs further into the numbers to include service, fuel mileage, oil usage, and a big picture view.
Recommended Service Stay at home wrench spinners may argue this collection of bills, but again we attempted to find methods that would result in the most consistent numbers possible. All service was determined with the understanding that each snowmobile would be taken to an authorized service center/dealership for each particular brand. Using standard shop rates found in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (rates will vary by region) and the manufacture’s retail price for any required parts; we followed each manufacturer’s service and inspection recommendations as outlined in the owners manual for each vehicle.
In instances where the recommended service coincided with summer storage preparation (remember our numbers are based on two season’s of ownership, with 1,500 miles ridden each season) the greater level of service was recorded. Once again these numbers can vary based upon dealership and recommendations from your individual dealer, but these are the factory recommendations.
Fuel and Oil Costs Before you flood our mailbox with your personal experience of 30-miles-to-the-gallon while running wide open on some frozen lake in Ontario cabin country, hear us out. We arrived at our numbers using the data collected during our inaugural OSM ThrowDown (See OSM December Issue – Ed.). During that weeklong test, we recorded every drop of fuel and oil used (two-strokes of course) and then used those findings to determine 3,000-mile results. Yes we ran the sleds hard, very hard in fact during the ThrowDown, and you most definitely could garner better results by being less liberal with the throttle. However all four sleds were driven as a group during the test, on the same trails, same conditions, with a rotating cast of drivers, thus we feel fairly confident in the data acquired in regards to consistency and accuracy for conditions.
As for the four-stroke Yamaha, oil cost is included in both the 500-mile and 2,500-mile service intervals where an oil change with filter is included.
What is the Price? To really appreciate the data, we encourage you digest the numbers deeper than face value. Ask yourself these questions and more. How many miles will do you believe you’ll ride each season? How long will you keep the sled? What are shop rates at your dealer and do they offer service packages as part of a new sled purchase? In addition, the reliability track record of a particular sled or brand should also play an important role in determining your cost of ownership. With a limited number of weeks to enjoy our beloved sport, unplanned down time or trips to your dealership can in many ways make or break your winter season. Finally, look at the used market for various models and brands to help you determine resale value. If you pay $1,000 more for a particular sled when new but can recoup that money when sold, it needs to be part of the equation. Happy number crunching.