During the first major snowstorm is not the time to find your snow blower needs maintenance or replacement parts. There are a number of steps that should be taken in the fall to ensure that your snow blower is in good working order and will be ready when called upon. These few basic items will ensure a safe and reliable snow blower when the time comes to pull it out of the garage.
For gas powered snow blowers, any remaining gas in the tank needs to be drained out and replaced with fresh gasoline. Over time, gas will degrade and can sometimes make it impossible to start the machine. There are stabilizing products that can be added to the gas which will improve the longevity of the gas, but it is always best to start the season with fresh gasoline. If the gas tank does not have a drain plug, the line that is going out of the tank can be removed and the gasoline drained from here.
Next, the oil should get completely drained and replaced. It is always best to follow the specifications of the manufacturer as to the specific weight and type of oil to be used. Also check any plug seals at this point to ensure that they are not dry rotted. If a seal looks suspect, it should be replaced. After the oil and gas are drained out, these need to be disposed of properly. There are sure to be local service stations or recycling centers that will take the used oil and gas at no charge. This is the easiest and most environmental method of disposal.
After the oil and gas are drained and replaced, the spark plug should be inspected and replaced if needed. Some people will replace these every season while others will only replace the spark plug once it no longer works properly. If familiar with cleaning and re-gapping a spark plug, this can be done to the existing plug before placing it back in the machine.
A final inspection to the entire snow blower should then be done. During this time, one should check all moving parts and any cables and controls. The belts should be tight and show no signs of cracking. If these are slightly cracked, it is better to replace them now than have to change a belt in the middle of a snowstorm. The tires or treads need looked at as well. Tires should be properly inflated and in good condition and treads should be tight and not cracked or damaged in any areas. Again, it is best to replace things before the season begins.
If everything seems in order, the final test would be to start the snow blower. If it starts easily and without hesitation, it should be in good condition. If it does not properly start, ensure that the engine is getting a spark and all controls are set properly. If unable to diagnose the problem, it is always best to seek the advice from a professional service center. With a small amount of preparation and work, the snow blower will be ready for a long winter of hard work.