How to Get Your Snowblower Ready for Winter
In This Article:
How to Get Your Gas-Powered Snowblower Ready for Winter
Where to Start Your Snow Blower Maintenance—Gas
While You’re at It, Check the Snow Blower Fuel Filter
Take a Look at the Snow Blower Oil
Install a New Snow Blower Spark Plug If Needed
Eyeball the Snow Blower Belts
Check and Lubricate the Snow Blower Auger
Other Snow Blower Parts that Could Require Attention
Carefully Inspect the Snow Blower Tires
When You Need Snow Blower Replacement Tires, Let Treadworld Help
Picture this. You get that dreaded early season snowfall that you weren’t expecting, you drag your snow blower out, hit the starter and…nothing—nothing happens. Annoying? Infinitely! Preventable? Yes!
It surely won’t come as a surprise that your best bet is to get your gas snow blower ready to tackle the coming winter season before the first snowfall covers your driveway and ices up your walks. It also likely won’t surprise you that maintaining your snow machine—and identifying worn-down parts—will not only make snow removal during the cold weather easier, it will save you money in repair bills. Here is a checklist of items for you to consider when you’re getting your snow blower ready for the coming winter season from the tire experts at Treadworld. After all, you spent a lot of dough on your machine, so it makes sense to do what you can to keep it running smoother, longer.
A good place to start is with the gas. Hopefully you began your program for snow blower maintenance at the end of last season by emptying the gas tank. That’s because old, unstable fuel can gum up the carburetor and fuel passages, causing varnishing and corrosion, and leading to nothing good happening when you try to start your blower for the first time in the new season. Even if you added fuel stabilizers last year, it’s still a good idea to drain the gas tank—using a turkey baster or plastic tube as a siphon—and refill it with fresh fuel. Do this in a well-ventilated area free of flames or sparks. Remember, small engines run best on 100% gasoline, though ethanol gas (10% to 90% gasoline) is technically acceptable.
The snow blower fuel filter attaches to the fuel tank to screen dirt and rust particles from the gasoline, to keep them from fouling the engine. A clogged fuel filter won’t allow gas to flow to the carburetor, keeping your snow blower from running optimally, or perhaps keep it from starting. If it’s clogged or damaged, replace it.
Just like with your car, it’s important to have good, clean oil in your snow blower to make sure the engine stays lubricated and cool. In years past, with many single stage snow blowers, it was customary to mix the oil in with the gas, but with most of today’s model single and two stage snow blowers, you have a separate oil reservoir and dipstick. Look at the oil. If it appears dark and dirty, which is possible if you haven’t changed it in a year or so, it’s time for an oil change. In most larger and small snow blowers, this is a simple process thanks to a drain plug at the back or bottom of the machine. If it’s in back, you may need to tilt the snow blower. Drain the oil into a small catch pan, then fill with fresh.
Fresh fuel won’t do you much good without a fresh spark plug to ignite the fuel and create the power. If the spark plug is corroded with oil or carbon deposits, it could prevent a spark from being generated, turning your snow blower into a large, bulky paperweight. Or, it could impede your machine’s efficiency. If you’re having trouble getting your snow blower to start, the spark plug is a prime suspected culprit. To check it, just pop the wire off the old plug, unscrew the old plug with a socket wrench, and pull it out. Inspect it for cracks, corrosion or residue build up. You can try cleaning it with a wire brush, or just replace it, typically for a few bucks. Be careful installing the new one. It should turn easily the first few full spins, then you can use a wrench to tighten it, but not too tight, just snug. Put the wire back on and you’re done!
All snow blowers have at least one belt—to turn the auger and expel the snow—and if that belt isn’t working, there won’t be any snow plowing going on. A 2 stage snow blower may also have a belt to drive the wheels. To check, start by removing the belt system cover and check the belts for any cracks, even shallow cracks, fraying or excessive wear. Belt edges should be smooth and even throughout the entire length of the belt. Additionally, If the belt appears brittle or seems to be starting to deteriorate, it’s time to replace it. A broken belt likely won’t damage your blower, but it will keep it from operating properly. At the same time, check cables to make sure they aren’t stuck or stretched, and lubricate them, if necessary.
The snow blower auger is made up of paddles (single stage snow blower) or blades (2 stage snow blower) that rotate inside the snow blower housing to collect the snow and send it out the chute. Several areas in snow blowers will benefit from being greased to keep parts from seizing, to help prevent rusting, and to keep the machine running smoothly, from one season to the next. The good news is single stage blowers don’t require lubrication, but they scrape the ground, so they will wear. Many of these rubber paddles have wear indicator holes to help you determine when it’s time to replace them.
Two stage snow blowers, on the other hand, do require lubrication because of the metal-on-metal situation caused by their augers being connected to auger shafts. Without proper maintenance, moisture can get between those parts, leading to rust. Simply apply a light coat of silicone lubricant or WD-40—or some swear by cooking spray—around the augers and throughout the chute, to reduce friction and keep the snow flying farther.
Scraper Blades – also called shave plates are located on the bottom of snow blower housings to help scrape snow and remove it from surfaces, on both single stage and two stage units. Depending on how much use your snow blower gets each winter, these will need replacement every few seasons.
Skid Shoes – are designed to keep your snowblower at the right height, while protecting your pavement. They wear down with use and so may need to be adjusted, even within the same season. When the wear is excessive, you can reverse them, or replace them.
Shear Pins – are designed to break, or “shear,” if a jam occurs between the auger and the housing on two stage snow blowers to protect the transmission in the even that a large stone of ice chunk causes the auger to jam. If the pins look worn or are corroded, replace them with new ones. Shear pins are good for the health of your snow blower, but you don’t want to have to change one in the middle of your session of snow plowing. In fact, it’s a good idea to store extra shear pins for just that occasion.
So, obviously, without dependable snow blower tires that are properly inflated and are not suffering from excessive wear, your efforts at snow blowing will likely be cut very short. Underinflated tires will make handling your snow blower difficult, especially when you’re trying to turn, so check the inflation levels of each tire before your first foray in the great white wonderworld. Check the sidewall of the snow blower tire for the recommended tire pressure—most manufacturers recommend between 15 and 20 PSI (pounds per square inch). If you have a bike pump with a built-in gauge you can use that, or any tire gauge. The point is, you need the correct air pressure. Too high a PSI and the tires could literally pop, and with too little PSI, handling and traction will be compromised, which you especially don’t want in bitter cold, icy conditions.
Tread is obviously important to this discussion. Snow blower tires require extra grip to power through snow and ice in bad weather conditions, so carefully examine the tread of each tire. You don’t want the tires fighting for traction and slipping while you’re working. If the tires show excessive wear, it’s time to consider snow blower tire replacement.
If you’re looking for replacement snow blower tires, 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. 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.