When will the first snow fall come? Who knows? Whether you’ll see the first flakes tomorrow or a month from now, it’s best to get your snowblower ready to work ahead of time. Here’s what you should check to be sure you’re prepared for the season.
If you performed proper end-of-season maintenance, the fuel tank and carburetor on your snowblower should be empty. If they aren’t, you should empty them and add fresh fuel before trying to start the engine.
There are three places where gas needs to be removed: the fuel tank, the fuel line and the carburetor. Fuel system designs vary, so emptying the tank might remove the fuel from the entire system, while other engines will have a drain plug on the carburetor’s float bowl. Check the engine manual for the proper draining procedure.
It’s a good idea to add fuel stabilizer to any fuel you use in your snowblower, since the next time you use it could be days or months from now. While straight fuel only stays fresh for about a month, stabilized fuel should be good for around three months. Never store more fuel than you can reasonably expect to use in that length of time.
Most engine manufacturers recommend replacing the oil once per season, regardless of how many hours the motor has been used. If you replaced the oil before putting the snowblower into storage, you should still check the oil level to ensure the engine will be properly lubricated.
Two stage and larger single stage snowblowers usually have pneumatic tires on the back, and these can lose a lot of air in storage. Check the owner’s manual for the correct pressure: usually, these just need to be aired up to between 10 and 20 psi. Even a small difference in pressure can have a major effect on how easy it is to push and turn your snowblower.
Out of sight, out of mind, right? Since the drive belt on your snowblower is covered, it’s an easy part to miss. Remove the belt cover, located on the rear of the auger housing, and take a look: the belt should be free of cracks and be tight enough to put some pressure on the idler pulley. If it shows signs of wear, replace it.
Take a look at the throttle and chute control cables and make sure everything moves freely. Slow moving or frozen cables can be freed up with some silicone lubricant or penetration fluid, but kinked cables should be replaced.
Skid Shoes and Blades
If any spot of the skid shoes are worn down to less than 1/8 of an inch, they need to be replaced. Fitting a new set is easy: just remove the two nuts and washers holding the old shoe on, swap it out for the new shoe, and put the nuts and washers back on. Both shoes should be replaced at the same time to keep the front of the snowblower level.
Smaller snowblowers will have a blade that runs across the bottom edge of the auger housing which helps push snow up into the auger. The blade height can be adjusted by loosening the screws holding it on, sliding the blade down, and retightening the bolts. If it’s already as low as it can go, replace it with a new blade.
Be Prepared: Stock Up On Parts
The worst time to break something is when you’re snowed in. If you have some extra shear pins, skid shoes and a belt on hand, you can fix most breakdowns on the spot and keep working.
Stop by Shank’s Lawn Equipment at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA and we can get you set up for the season. That’s just off route 11, or Exit 10/Marion if you’re driving in from I-81. Not in the area? You can order the parts you need from our site, www.shankslawn.com. We carry parts for most popular snowblower and engine brands, and we can ship your order across the U.S. and Canada.