With just a few days left before the official start of spring, it’s wise to prepare now for snowblower storage.
Waiting until winter to make sure your snowblower is working properly isn’t recommended. It’s difficult to diagnose problems in frigid temps and snow storms. A few simple steps now will ensure that your snowblower is ready for the first snowfall.
Be sure to consult your owner’s manual for recommended maintenance steps for your specific model. There are some differences in maintenance for single-stage and dual-stage models.
However, for most models, the following steps are recommended:
Replace the fuel filter
Fuel filters should be replaced at least once a year because it is nearly impossible to determine if they are clogged. They cannot be cleaned.
Inspect the scraper blade, slide shoes and other parts
Do a thorough job checking the scraper blade and slide shoes (a.k.a. skid shoes) for wear. These parts have the important job of protecting the housing from damage. Replace these parts if they have worn dangerously thin or are damaged beyond repair.
Drain and replace the oil
Before replacing engine oil, check your owner’s manual for the recommended way to tilt the snowblower. It varies from model to model. Unscrew the drain plug and release the oil into a bucket. Replace the plug and add fresh oil, as recommended by the manufacturer.
Used oil should be recycled. Most small engine repair shops have a free recycling program for this. Call your local shop for more information.
Replace the spark plug
The tiny but mighty spark plug should be replaced at least one per season, even if it appears to be working fine. Over time, a spark plug’s performance will degrade due to carbon build-up and a weakened electrode. This dramatically increases emissions, reduces engine performance and requires the engine to use more fuel.
This Spark Plug Wrench (#1644997) enables you to more safely and efficiently remove or tighten a spark plug in your snowblower, lawn mower or other small engine.
Check the auger
For single-stage models, take a look at the auger blade. If it has worn down so much that it no longer contact the ground, it should be replaced. Never let the rubber wear to a point that metal is exposed. That can cause major damage.
Remove dirt and grime
Spray degreaser on greasy, dirty areas. Allow the degreaser to sit for 10-15 minutes. Then wipe the grease off with a clean cloth.
Check and close the fuel cap.
Check the fuel cap for damage. If the air vent holes are restricted, replace the fuel cap.
Check the tires
Check the tires for wear. If your snowblower has pneumatic tires, use a tire pressure gauge to check the air pressure.
Add fuel stabilizer
Myth: You have to empty all fuel from a snowblower before off-season storage.
False! That wastes good fuel AND leads to fuel tank corrosion. Fuel can stay fresh for a year or longer if you add high-quality fuel stabilizer to fresh fuel before storage.
The addition of fuel stabilizer will slow build up and prevent clogging in the fuel lines. It’s best to keep fuel in your snowblower to prevent important parts from drying, cracking and rusting while being stored for extended periods.
After adding the stabilizer, be sure to run the engine for a few minutes so the treated fuel can reach the carburetor.
This Briggs & Stratton fuel stabilizer works well and treats up to 10 gallons of fuel.
If required for your model, lubricate wheel bearings, auger bearings and in dual-stage models, impeller bearings.
Store it with care
Use a cover to prevent dust and debris from entering the unit. Store in a cool, dry place.