Winter is here, which means snow is on its way. Don’t wait for the first storm to get your snowblower out: pulling it out of storage now will give you a chance to fix any problems so you’ll be ready for the first winter storm.
Before You Begin
Before you move your snowblower out of storage, take a moment to inspect the area. If you notice a wet spot on the floor, it may be an indicator of leaking oil, fuel or transmission fluid. Matching the spot with the snowblower now will make it easier to find the leak.
Before you add fuel, inspect the fuel lines for cracks and make sure they haven’t been pulled loose from their fittings.
Some manufacturers recommend storing the engine without fuel, while others recommend filling the tank with stabilized fuel. If the engine has a fuel valve, leave it open for a couple minutes after refilling the tank to fill the carburetor.
Snowstorms are unpredictable so your snowblower may go days or months between uses. Treating the fuel you use in your snowblower will ensure that the engine will be ready to start the next time you need to clear your driveway.
If you didn’t change the oil before storing, do so now. Oil can collect fuel and engine deposits, making it acidic enough to damage metal components over time.
If your model has a hydrostatic transmission, don’t forget to check the oil level. Instead of a dipstick, these transmissions usually use a sight glass located somewhere on the rear side of the snowblower.
Move the chute controls and make sure the chute goes through the full range of movement. Stiff cables can be loosened by using some penetrating oil, but they’ll need to be lubricated with a regular lubricant afterward to provide long-term protection. If the cables seem to move freely, inspect the chute for dents and make sure the bolts are tight.
Check your owner’s manual for areas that need to be greased before use. Typically, zerk fittings can be found on the wheel bearings and auger shaft of larger snowblowers. Always clean the fitting before adding grease to prevent dirt from being pushed into the bearing.
Check the shoes for wear and make sure they’re even side-to-side by measuring the distance from the bottom of the shoe to the base of the auger housing. It’s a good idea to have an extra set on hand to replace worn shoes through the season.
Augers, Shear Pins, and Belts
Check the auger blades and shaft for damage. If your auger has rubber paddles, inspect them for cracking and shrinkage and replace them as needed.
Like the fuel lines, the belts can age during storage. A belt should be replaced if it’s too loose to be engaged by the idler pulley or it has visible cracking.
The belts and shear pins are designed to break if there’s a jam in the auger, cutting power and preventing damage to expensive components. You should always have some spares on hand so you can get your snowblower running again after one of these incidents.
If your snowblower comes with an AC electric starter, it will need to be plugged into an outlet using an outdoor-rated extension cord with a three prong plug. If the insulator is damaged or the cables are frayed, the extension cord should be replaced.
The First Start
Start the engine the same way you normally would. If the snowblower was put into storage correctly and you’ve done everything on this preparation list, it should fire up easily.
If the engine seems to stumble, let it run. There is probably some stale gas left inside the fuel system that needs to burn off. If you lubricated the cylinder before storage, it’s normal to see some black smoke in the exhaust as this oil is burned off.
If the engine doesn’t want to start and you know the carburetors are getting fuel and there’s plenty of oil in the crankcase, check the spark plug. If it’s fouled or the insulator is cracked, it will need to be replaced. Make sure the gap between the electrodes is within specifications.
Getting Parts for Your Snowblower
Find something wrong with your snowblower while you were getting it ready for the season? Need to pick up some extra shear pins and belts? Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a certified dealer for most major brands of snowblowers and small engines, making us your one-stop shop for parts and service. We’re located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s just off Route 11, one mile east of I-81 via Exit 10/Marion.
Don’t live nearby? We ship across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.