Snowblowers are important machines in regions where heavy snowfall is common during winter. These tools are effective in clearing the snow off your walkways and driveways and is quicker and much easier than other tools such as shovels. As efficient as these tools are, if you do not maintain yours properly, you may have a hard time getting your job done.
How to Maintain Your Snowblower:
- Step 1: Be Aware of the Basics
- Step 2: Inspect, Tighten or Replace Parts as Necessary
- Step 3: Change the Oil and Gas on Fuel-Powered Snowblowers
- Step 4: Replace the Spark Plug, Fuel, and Air Filter
- Step 5: Inspect the Scraper Bars and Skid Shoes
- Step 6: Check Tires and Chains
- Step 7: Check and replace the Starter Cord
- Step 8: Tightening the Bolts and Storage
Your snowblower is that one piece of outdoor power equipment that usually has the most downtime in-between seasons. Whether you had a harsh winter, or one mild enough for spring to come early, you should always remember to maintain your snowblower. Keep your blower in a perfect shape every season and you will enjoy it year after year by keeping snow off the required surfaces. Do you need to know the ways by which you can maintain your snowblower? Do not look too far.
This article will provide a step to step method on how you should maintain your snowblower equipment. By following this step-by-step guide carefully, you will not only learn how to clean your tool correctly, but you will also know how to store your snowblower.
What is the Best Time for Snowblower Maintenance?
It is recommended that maintenance is done on your snowblower before you store it for the offseason so that you will be ready for the next one. Also if you did not service your snowblower at the end of last season, make sure you have it serviced before the next winter season starts.
Step-By-Step Approach on How to Maintain Your Snowblower
Snowblower maintenance is a bit easy and straightforward as it involves steps similar to those you would take for maintaining your car (that is, changing oil, examining the belts, and more). The first and most important step is to get the owner’s manual provided by the manufacturers so that you can get familiar with the exact replacement parts, oil, and lubricants that are right for your model of snowblower. Here are some steps to follow to have your equipment up and running before the first heavy snow:
Step 1: Be Aware of the Basics
The first thing to know is that snowblowers are not maintenance-free, even when they come with a warranty. Each model or type vary slightly in their needs, but both the gas-powered and electric snowblower require some amount of upkeep. You should also plan to replace the spark plugs and air filters every year. Look out for the tire pressure, monitor oil and gas level as well as the lubrication, and check out the condition of the rubber paddles and belts. If you are using an electric snowblower, make sure the cords are in good condition, and avoid accidentally running it over while you are plowing.
Step 2: Inspect, Tighten or Replace Parts as Necessary
Snowblowers are machines that reverberate constantly when in use, and this movement can cause some part of it to loosen over time. Loose nuts and bolts are something that the owners are responsible for maintaining themselves. Get familiar with all the bolts, nuts, and pins in your equipment, so it will be easier to know if one of them is missing. Before you use your snowblower, try to twist all exposed bolts with your hand; (do this after every use also). If perhaps they feel loose, do not hesitate to tighten them back up, because if they remain loose when you start your machine, the constant vibration may cause the screws to jostle free, and this can in turn cause potential injury both to you and people around you. It can also cause your tool to stop working halfway. Make sure you inspect all the nuts, bolts, cords screws, and belts, to make sure nothing is loose.
While single-stage snowblowers have just one belt, two-stage snowblowers have two belts, one for the auger and one for the drive. If those belts crack or are worn out, they should be replaced immediately, or better still, you can make sure they are tight enough and will not snap. The starter cord should also be inspected, and if there is any issue, it should be replaced immediately.
Step 3: Change the Oil and Gas on Fuel-Powered Snowblowers
Depending on the type of engine your snowblower has (two-cylinder engine and four-cylinder engine), the oil-has mix varies. While a four-cylinder engine uses straight gas with a separate crankcase for the oil, a two-cylinder engine uses mixed gas and oil. In both cases, the old oil and gas mix should be completely drained from the engine and disposed of properly before replacing them with new ones. To replace the oil, start the engine and allow it to run for a few minutes, then stop the engine, remove the oil plug, allowing the oil to drain into a waste receptacle. Once all the oil has been drained, refill the engine with the appropriate weight of oil, then replace and tighten the plug. Finally, turn on the engine once again and check the oil level.
Step 4: Replace the Spark Plug, Fuel, and Air Filter
The spark plug and air filter of your equipment should be inspected every season and replaced when required. You can check the owner’s manual to make sure you have the correct replacement parts on hand. To replace, first disconnect the spark plug lead from the spark plug. Look out for dirt and debris and be sure to remove any dirt around the spark plug so that it does not get into your engine. Next, replace the old one with a new spark plug, and try not to over-tighten it. Then re-attach the lead wire. You can make use of a wire brush and spray plug cleaner to get rid of dirt deposits on the plug. Also, check out for heavy damages or deposits, if you find any, then your spark plug should be replaced.
Step 5: Inspect the Scraper Bars and Skid Shoes
The major function of the scraper bar is to scrape snow off your driveway and into the auger. Due to its constant contact with the ground, the scraper bars will wear down with time and will need to be replaced. Replacement should be done immediately; if you allow it to wear down too far, the blower housing can be damaged.
Skid shoes are located on the sides of the auger housing and are designed to protect the shave plate from permanent damage. These parts are adjustable and are responsible for setting the height of the auger to prevent it from scraping your driveway surfaces and picking up gravel. These pieces are also susceptible to wear and will need to be replaced with time. Some worn skid shoes (if not damaged) can be flipped to extend the life of the component, as well as to prevent the shave plate from having direct contact with the ground. However, skid shoes that are beyond repair must be replaced immediately.
Step 6: Check Tires and Chains
You may not think it is important, but having properly inflated tires can make pushing and steering your equipment easier and comfortable. If you notice that navigating or steering is more difficult than usual, it may be an issue with the tire. Get a tire gauge and air compressor, and fill the tires to the indicated PSI on the tire wall. You should notice some changes when you get back to work. Lubricating the axis of the wheel can also make navigating more easier. Visually inspect the tires for tears and wear; replace if needed.
Step 7: Check and replace the Starter Cord
Inspect the pull cord from time to time to make sure it is not frayed. If you think it should be replaced, then do it immediately. To replace, remove the recoil starter case and cut the knots that secure the cord into the handle and recoil pulley. Thread the new starter cord through the handle and the recoil assembly. Then hook the new cord in the pulley hole and start winding the pulley. Once you have completely wound it, carefully release the cord and allow it to rewind around the pulley. Test your new starter cord to make sure it is working smoothly.
Step 8: Tightening the Bolts and Storage
To complete the visual inspection, inspect and ensure that all the nuts and bolts are fastened tightly. As mentioned earlier, a snowblower will vibrate quite a bit during use, and this motion can cause the nuts and bolts to jolter and become loose. So make sure you tighten any loose nuts and bolts before you run your equipment, to make sure nothing falls off while it is working.
Finally, doing adequate tune-ups and regular maintenance on your snowblower will save a lot of costly repairs, and will ensure that your snowblower lasts for a long time. Do not forget to properly store away your snowblower when not in use, to ensure that it is in perfect condition till you’re ready to use it again. We hope this piece has been helpful. Good luck!