9 Simple Tips for Maintaining Your Snowblowers
Whether it's your first run or you're pulling a decades-old piece of equipment out of storage, any snowblower requires basic maintenance to run properly. From small walkways to sprawling properties with multiple driveways, a tuned-up machine can make cleanup after even the heaviest winter storm faster and easier. To help you prepare for another season of more efficient outdoor yard maintenance, we've compiled a list of techniques tips for maintaining your snowblower all winter long.
1. Safety First
Obviously, you'll want to make sure that the blower is turned off completely before you begin working. Remember to avoid putting your hands directly in the auger compartment, and use tools that let you work from a distance in this area. If you're going to be performing any repairs that require the blower to be tipped on its nose or sides, drain the gas tank beforehand. Otherwise, you'll spend a lot of time cleaning up spilled fuel.
2. Inspect & Replace the Spark Plug If Necessary
If your spark plug is damaged or broken, then you're not going to have much luck starting your snow thrower to begin with. Remove and visually inspect the spark plug for signs of excessive wear. If it's looking a little rough around the edges, replacing it is as easy as removing the part and swapping it with a fresh one.
3. Change the Oil
Regularly checking and replacing the motor oil in your snowblower can drastically extend the life of your equipment. Old, dirty oil won't properly lubricate the engine components, causing unnecessary friction that will gradually damage and destroy the machine beyond repair.
4. Add Fresh Gasoline
Conventional gasoline has a life expectancy of roughly six months. Depending the severity of the weather in your neck of the woods, it's likely that your snowblower is sitting in storage for a good portion of the year. If you're just pulling your snow thrower out of the garage or shed for the first time this season, odds are you'll have to drain and replace the gasoline before getting started. Keep in mind that the best practice here is to empty the gas tank at the end of the season to prevent clogging.
5. Inflate the Tires & Lubricate the Axles
This may not be the first thing you think of when getting your snowblower ready to clear the driveway, but having properly inflated tires can help you push and steer your equipment. If it seems like navigating is more difficult than usual, grab a tire gauge and air compressor and fill the tires to the PSI indicated on the tire wall before getting back to work. Lubricating the wheel axles can also help get you moving.
6. Check the Belts
Worn or cracked belts can put a serious kink in your snow clearing project. Instead of risking having a belt snap when you're halfway finished with the driveway, check for damaged belts before you begin. Any seriously damaged belts should be replaced. Make sure to take a picture of the belt before you remove it to remember the exact placement.
7. Flip or Replace the Skid Shoes & Check the Shave Plate for Damage
Skid shoes are designed to protect the shave plate from permanent damage. Worn skid shoes can be adjusted or flipped to extend the life of the component and prevent the shave plate from coming into direct contact with the ground. Snow thrower skid shoes that are beyond repair should be replaced.
8. Check the Shear Pins for Damage
Shear pins are one of the few components on your snow blower that you should expect to break somewhat regularly. They're specially designed to prevent the auger and gear case from becoming overloaded and causing more serious problems. Since these parts will almost always break while you're operating the blower, it's not a bad idea to keep a spare or two in a coat or jeans pocket as you work. While you're at it you can save time and energy by lubricating the augers before moving on to the next step.
9. Lubricate the Discharge Chute
Adding specialty lubrication or WD-40 to the discharge chute can prevent snow and other debris from clumping and clogging, which means you're less likely to have to stop and clear the chute as you work.
Learn more about maintaining your snowblower from our friends at Club Craftsman.