SNOWBLOWER MAINTENANCE: HOW TO HAVE YOUR SNOWBLOWER READY AND FULLY FUNCTIONING – In areas where heavy snowfall is common, a snowblower is much preferred to a shovel. These simple machines can clear driveways and sidewalks much faster than a single person working by hand, and the benefits are even more pronounced as the snow starts to pile up.
But snowblowers aren’t toys — they’re dangerous pieces of equipment that need to be handled properly, and by and adult. And just like any other piece of equipment, some maintenance is needed to keep it running on all cylinders. It’s wise to perform this maintenance as winter approaches, but prior to your first use of the device. Here’s a quick guide to help you properly prep your machinery for a snowy winter season.
Change the spark plugs
Your snowblower’s spark plugs are typically good for about 100 hours. Whether or not it’s time to change them depends on how often you used the snowblower last year. In some cases, such as following winters of light snowfall, you might be able to squeeze a second season of the spark plugs before replacing them. But if your machine is due for a new set, it’s easiest to replace them before there’s snow to be cleared away.
Replace the air filter
Your snowblower‘s air filter is probably good for about 25 hours before it needs to be changed. That can add up to once a season, if not more often, so it should be a regular part of your pre-winter routine. Some filters only need to be cleaned out, rather than replaced, so find out which type of filter your snowblower is equipped with. Foam air filters, for example, can be cleaned with hot water and dish soap — but you’ll need to let the filter air dry before you can return it to the machinery.
Air up tires
Air expands as it warms and contracts as it cools. Given the seasonal change your tires have gone through, it’s possible they’re low on air. Poorly inflated tires will have bad traction and could increase the risk of the snowblower — and the operator — slipping on slick driveways and sidewalks. Make sure the tires are aired up to the owner’s manual’s specifications before you use the equipment.
Tighten all bolts and shear pins
Over time and with repeated use of your snowblower, some parts might start to loosen. Take time prior to the first snowstorm to do a quick inspection of the machine and tighten any bolts or sheer pins that can loosened up. If a bolt or pin comes off during use it could lead to much larger problems — especially if any loose metal gets inside the machinery.
Lubricating the moving parts on your snowblower will reduce friction and keep these parts from locking up while the machine is being used. Add lubricating grease to wheel bearings, impeller bearings and auger bearings and test each part to make sure it turns properly. If you endure a lot of snowfall over the course of the winter, you might want to check these parts again to make sure they’re still properly greased.
If you did your end-of-season maintenance right, the machine should be empty of all fuel, or at least be outfitted with some fuel stabilizer in the gas tank. Make sure you refuel and add some fuel stabilizer to the mix to avoid damaging the engine.
In addition to your seasonal maintenance, make sure you have a basic upkeep routine for before every use. You’ll want to make sure the machine’s gas and oil are properly filled up, and it might not hurt to check the tire pressure — especially if temperatures have fluctuated considerably. Follow these simple steps and you’ll extend the life of your snowblower and prevent many frustrating breakdowns.