How to Get Your Snowblower Ready for Winter

How to Get Your Snowblower Ready for Winter

How to Get Your Snowblower Ready for Winter

Fall is here, bringing with it cooler temperatures, beautiful colors as the leaves change, and plenty of delicious food. However, the return of sweater weather means that winter is not far around the corner. As we inch closer to winter, there are a number of tasks homeowners will want to complete to prepare for the winter.

Of these, one important thing for people in more northern climates is to prepare your snowblower for winter. After all, you don’t want to wait until the first snowfall to realize you may have a problem. Getting ahead of the game and prepping your snowblower now will leave you ready for winter storms. Let’s take a look at the core steps in this process.

1.      Check the Various Components

When you get your snowblower out for the winter, the first task is to assess it, which involves checking a number of different things. First, be sure to look for any damage. This means assessing the major components such as the auger, skids, and scraper.

You’ll also want to check your cables, shear pins, and other components to ensure that none are damaged. If you do detect damage or wear, you’ll want to go to your local store or online and order replacement parts. Doing this in the fall will give you time to replace anything before the first snowfall.

While doing a thorough check on your snowblower, you’ll also want to check handles, knobs, and screws and tighten any that are loose. Since the machine vibrates, these parts tend to loosen over time. The Fall is a good time to retighten any that need it.

A final thing to take a look at is the various belts. Snowblower belts will typically last between five and seven years before they start going bad. If your belts are starting to crack, it is probably a good idea to replace them. As a tip, take photos of them before removing them. This will help prevent you from getting frustrated trying to remember where they go upon replacement.

2.      Fill Up with New Oil and Gas

Ideally, you drained the gas from your snowblower before storing it at the end of the winter (or at least added fuel stabilizer). If not, you may have difficulty getting it to start up. Old fuel can create problems in the carburetor.

If you forgot to drain your snowblower’s fuel, there is a solution. You’ll want to take a basic turkey baster and remove as much as you can from the tank. Once this is done, fill it up with new fuel and top it off with a fuel stabilizer. This will ideally get your machine to start up.

If you did store it with an empty tank, the process will be quite simple. You just need to fill it up with new fuel.

Next, you’ll want to check the oil. Use your dipstick to get a sense of the oil’s level and texture. If you are low in oil, you’ll obviously need to add more. Additionally, if the oil is dark or dirty, you’ll want to replace it.

Check your individual machine’s manual to find out the proper process for draining the old oil. Typically, you’ll just need to unscrew a bolt, although this varies by machine. Once drained, replace any bolts and add new oil. Again, ensure that you are using the type of oil specified by your manual.

3.      Prep the Tires and Skid Shoes

When preparing your snowblower for winter, you want to make sure that you don’t overlook the tires and skid shoes. These are important components for operation and do need attention from time to time.

As you probably know, tires can gain or lose pressure as seasons change, particularly when stored in a garage. Refer to your manual for the proper tire pressure and check the air pressure in your tires. You may need to let some pressure out; however, you are more likely to need to add some air.

The majority of two-stage snowblowers have skid shoes. If you are prepping your snowblower for winter and it has skid shoes, take a look to see if they are worn. Most of them are reversible, so you can easily flip them over. However, if you’ve already done this (or if they aren’t reversible), it may be time to order new ones.

4.      Check the Spark Plug and Start It Up!

When preparing your snowblower for winter, you always want to take a look at the spark plug. Often, it will be dirty and need to be cleaned. However, if you see corrosion, you need to replace it with a new one.

Before starting up your snowblower, you will want to spray the discharge chute. This is important to prevent clogging. There are specially made sprays for this purpose; however, you can use something more generic like WD-40 or even cooking sprays. Both of these will do the job well.

Once you’ve completed all of the above, the final step in prepping your snowblower for winter is to start it up. Let it run for a few minutes. Pay attention to any strange sounds or smells which could indicate an issue. Otherwise, you can check one more thing off your Fall to-do list.

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