How to Get Your Snow Blower Ready for the Off-SeasonEric Johnson
In This Article:
How to Get Your Snow Blower Ready for the Off-Season Storage
Empty the Snow Blower Gas Tank…
…Or Stabilize the Snow Blower Gas
Change the Oil in Your Snow Blower
Pre-Storage Is a Great Time to Check Blades, Scrapers, Belts and Cables, Spark Plugs and Other Parts
Don’t Forget Snow Blower Lubrication
Clean and Protect Your Snow Blower’s Exterior
Carefully Examine the Snow Blower Tires
Use a Snow Blower Cover
When You Need Snow Blower Tires, Let Treadworld Help
Because there are few things in life more annoying than getting geared up for snow removal after the season’s first snowfall and having problems with your snow blower, the tire experts at Treadworld have put together some tips to assist you with prepping your snow machine for the off-season before storage—so it will be ready to go when you need it come winter. That way, you and your personal snowplow will both be rarin’ to go when the first flurries fly. Plus, as with all your equipment, routine maintenance at the end of snow blowing season will help maintain performance, improve longevity, and stave off expensive, time-consuming repairs.
When your gas-powered snow blower won’t start in the new season, the culprit is often clogs caused by old gasoline that has been sitting idle for several months during the summer. Unstabilized gas can oxidize and break down in as little as 30 days, forming varnish and gums that can clog the fuel passages in the carburetor. Additionally, gas you get from a pump at a gas station is generally blended with up to 10 percent ethanol, which when it mixes with condensed water inside the gas tank, can also result in corrosion and varnish gumming up a carburetor—never a good thing. That’s why it’s a good idea to drain the fuel line of your gas snow blower in one of three ways: if the tank is almost empty, run your snow blower until it stalls out; if the tank is not almost empty, use a fuel siphon or a turkey baster to get it almost empty, then run your machine until the tank is empty; or drain the fuel into an authorized container through the fuel line, which is a more complicated but not overly difficult process that may be outlined in your owner’s manual.
While draining the snow blower gas tank and fuel line is far and away the preferable course of action, if you’re facing circumstances that require you to leave gas in your tank over the summer, a fuel stabilizer will minimize the chances of gas-related clogging. Gas stabilizer will NOT make deteriorated gas usable again, however. If you are forced to go the snow blower gas stabilizer route, be sure to top off the gas before you put your snow blower in storage, so as to leave no room in the tank for water to condense and collect during storage.
A snow blower oil change before you store your gas snow blower is essential. Over time, heat, dust, dirt and agitated air can make your oil dark and dirty, with traces of acids and other combustion by-products. Additionally, small engines are tougher on oil than many people think, leading older oil to lose the ability to do its job, coating and protecting vital engine components. Also, while topping off snow blower oil between oil changes is fine during the season—make no mistake, an oil change after a certain number of hours of use (usually around 50 hours, or at least once per season) is mandatory to keep vital engine parts coated and protected.
Prior to storage, it’s a good idea to make like a snow blower doctor and inspect the parts of your snow shovel machine, so you’re not stuck on the day of the first snowfall with damaged, worn parts. Exposure to salt, moisture, and cold makes snow blower parts prone to wear. That includes the belts, rotor blades, rubber paddles, shave plates, scraper or auger scrapers and skids, belts, friction discs and hardware which can all become worn with use. Remove the spark plug for inspection, and also for your safety, since you don’t want your snow blower to accidentally turn on during your getting-ready-for-storage process. inspect the spark plug for signs of corrosion or residue build-up. Then, if needed, either clean it with a wire brush, or replace it.
Before reinstalling the spark plug after completing your overall check-up and maintenance, lubricate the spark plug cavity/combustion chamber by applying a small amount of clean engine oil. You’ll also want to consider lubricating other critical moving parts of your snow blower to prevent the corrosion and rust build-up that will eventually lead to your portable snowplow becoming inoperable because, as we know, snow blowers are not watertight. The most common snow blower parts that require periodic lubrication—and possible rust removal—include the axle shafts, the augers, and the tractor components like gears, chains and pinion shafts.
You’ll want to be sure to wipe away any salt residue on your snow thrower due to the corrosive nature of salt on metal components, then clean it thoroughly using a mild dish soap and a low-pressure hose. Then take care to dry off whatever surfaces you can, then let the machine sit in the sun for a short time to dry the inner workings. You don’t want to store your snow blower with wet surfaces because of the ever-present rust monster. You may also choose to spray a rust preventative on any exposed metal surfaces.
Without tires, your snow blower isn’t moving, right? And with bad tires, even the best snow blower will flounder—and spin and miss—adding difficulty and frustration to your snowplowing chore. Inspect each tire, looking for cracks in the rubber or damage to the sidewall. Also check for excessive treadwear because when the tire tread is worn, you will start to feel the wheels slip as they skim or hydroplane on the snowy surfaces, and your braking ability may begin to feel mushy. NOTE: A quick way to measure tire tread is by using a penny. Insert the penny between the tread, Lincoln head down. If the top of Honest Abe’s head disappears between the tread ribs, your tread is above the absolute minimum of 2/32nds of an inch, which means replacement isn’t dire. On the other hand, if Abe’s head is not visible, it’s time to get replacement snow blower tires.
Check the tire itself where the information is printed, or your user’s manual, for the recommended tire pressure, generally between 15 and 20 pounds per square inch (PSI) for snow blower. If you have a bicycle pump that includes a gauge, you can use that. Otherwise, a tire pressure gauge is a good idea. PSI that is too low will result in your snow blower being much harder to handle, PSI that is too high can literally cause a tire for snow blower to pop. Fill the tires to the proper levels for storage, though truth be told, you’ll probably be checking them again just before next winter season. You may want to remove each wheel and clean and coat the axle with an automotive grease to fight rust during storage, then reinstall the wheels.
Once you’ve carefully cleaned it off, take the final step and protect your snow blower with a cover. Many snow blower covers are designed to breathe and prevent the accumulation of moisture during hot, humid months of storage. If you don’t have a cover, use a tarp to avoid scratches, to keep pests away, and to keep dust from settling in the engine. Select a secure spot for storage, preferably inside, and if you want to go the extra mile, put your snow blower on a mat to keep it lifted off the cement floor, and fully protected.
Following these quick and easy tips will help protect your snow blower during off-season storage so it’s ready to go when the next snow season drops its first big dump.
If you’re looking for replacement snow blower tires, or tires with a different tread, count on us here at Treadworld to provide you with exactly what you want, from our wide range of sizes and dependable tread styles, perfect for helping you get out from under the latest cold weather gift from Mother Nature. Obviously, you need tires that give your snow blower no-slip grip in any conditions, from light snowfalls to mega-storms. RubberMaster Snow Blower Tires offer you the option of sawtooth, bar lug or stud tread patterns, each of which provide you with the traction that will help make short work of your snow removal chores. Use the convenient Treadworld Product Selector Tool on the Treadworld.com home page to quickly find what you need.
All our RubberMaster Tires are manufactured to strict tolerances from top rubber compounds, then triple-tested for quality, balance and uniformity before being X-rayed to be sure they’re perfect. You can expect easy ordering and fast shipping, plus your satisfaction is guaranteed with our no-hassle Ultimate Advantage Warranty. Don’t hesitate to contact our tire experts via live chat or email with any questions you may have, and to get the ideal snow blower tires—or the perfect trailer tires, ATV tires, UTV tires, lawn and garden tires, and many others—from our extensive selection.