Snowmobile Theft Deterrence (by Randy Toth)
Published on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 in Guest Columns, News & Updates, Snowmobile Tech
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Have you ever said, “Hey, where is my snowmobile? I last saw it sitting: A) in my yard. B) on my trailer. C) in my garage. D) outside a restaurant. E) outside my motel room. or F) sitting at the gas pump.” Maybe you even said, “Come to think of it, where is my trailer? It was sitting here under my snowmobile and attached to my truck.” Hopefully, you never had to say, “Where the heck is my truck?” If you haven’t uttered these words in a panic, I’ll bet you know someone who has. Snowmobile theft deterrence is important and can minimize the chances of you getting ripped off.

With snowmobile prices in the $6,000 to $14,000-plus range, our machines have become attractive to thieves everywhere. An unattended snowmobile is a magnet to some lowlife cruising by. It can be a spur of the moment swift snatch and grab or a carefully planned theft.

If the key is in it, the thief may simply hop on and drive away. If the registration and trail pass paperwork are left in the sled (I always carry mine in my jacket) it makes the theft all that much easier. If stopped by law enforcement, the thief can simply show all of your papers and make a clean getaway. Always remember to take your keys, paperwork and valuables with you when you leave your sled.

Snowmobile Theft Deterrence Tips:

  • If parking your sled in the backyard, you should chain the sled to a large tree or some other sturdy object with a hardened chain and lock. A nondescript cover is best since it doesn’t shout, “There is a new or late model, Ski-Zoom 6000 Thunder Jet just sitting here.”
  • If parking on a trailer, the snowmobile should be locked securely to the trailer. Don’t forget to lock the trailer to the tow hitch and the tow hitch to the towing vehicle.
  • If parking in a garage, be sure to lock the garage doors. It also helps not to have windows that can be easily used to spot your new sled parked inside.
  • If parking at a restaurant, be sure to park the sled in plain sight and not on a snow bank where it can easily be pulled onto a passing pickup truck or trailer.
  • If parking at a motel, be sure to chain your sled to a large object or to one or more other sleds making it more difficult to pickup and steal.
  • If left unattended at a gas pump, be sure someone is watching your sled when you go inside to pay or to grab some food. In a busy place like a gas station, anyone with a snowmobile suit and helmet can blend in and just hop on your sled and drive away.
  • If you are really paranoid, you might even carry a hardened chain and lock on your sled while riding, to secure your snowmobile to a tree in case a breakdown along the trail forces you to leave your snowmobile in the woods. If you leave your trailer unattended and detached from your truck then chain your trailer to a tree or buy a wheel boot to lock your trailer wheel.

Snowmobile Theft Deterrence, remove the key

A friend once told me a story about a guy who had followed the advice for parking outside a motel one night and awoke, the next day, only to find his sled gone. All that was left was one ski chained to the porch. Luckily for him, his friends had simply moved the sled elsewhere as a joke.

Others scenarios include a truck stopping, guys throwing a chain around the snowmobile, or snowmobile and trailer, and simply driving away down the road. While you can’t protect your snowmobile against every theft possibility, you can certainly decrease the risk that your sled will be the one stolen. Remember, your sled doesn’t have to be 100% theft-proof, just more so than those of your nearby riding buddies! Finally, you may wish to purchase snowmobile insurance to help replace an expensive high-end snowmobile.

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