It’s winter, which means if you haven’t already, it’s only a matter of time until you start up your snowblower for your region’s first big snowstorm. But it’s essential to know there are steps you need to follow to ensure your equipment is in tip-top shape before you get to work. Keep reading to learn how to prepare your snowblower for winter.
Prepare Your Machine for Maintenance
You’ll want to place your snowblower on a flat surface. Make sure the engine is off and cool. To ensure that there are no accidental engine ignitions while you perform maintenance, remove the spark plug.
Check For Damage
Ensure that your skids, auger, and scraper are in good enough condition (not rust or corrosion). Check that the cables, handles, shear pins (this only applies to multistage snowblowers), and fasteners are all securely in place. If you find excessive wear and damaged parts, order replacements and install them before the first snow hits.
Change The Oil
You should change your oil after every five hours of use and after every season. First, check the dipstick to see how clear the oil is. If it’s dirty, which it probably will be, it’s time to change your oil. Check the owner’s manual for the proper way to drain the old oil. However, most machines have a drain plug on the back. All you have to do is unscrew that, tilt the machine back, and let the oil pour into a container. Screw the plug back in and dispose of the oil properly. Then refer to the owner’s manual about what type and grade of oil is needed to refill your machine.
Tighten Loose Bolts
Over time, the vibration from the machine may cause bolts and screws to come loose. Make sure to tighten everything so that the machine can run smoothly.
Check Tire Pressure
Keeping your tire adequately inflated will ensure that you don’t damage other parts of your machine and that you get the best possible traction on ice and snow. You can fill your tire with a bicycle pump, but if it doesn’t have a tire pressure gauge, then make sure to have a separate one on hand. You don’t want to fill your tires too much because they might explode. Fill them too little, and you impede your use of the machine. Most manufacturers recommend 15 to 20 PSI. However, you can check the wall of the tire or the owner’s manual for the exact measurement.
Flip Or Replace Skid Shoes
If you have a stage-two snowblower, your machine most likely has skid shoes. Now is a good time to flip them if there’s wear. Most are reversible. If you’ve already flipped them, it may be time to find replacements. Don’t worry. They are relatively easy to install.
Inspect The Belts
Check for excessive wear or cracks in any of your belts. If you notice any, then it’s time to replace them. The last thing you want is a belt breaking while the machine is in use. It’s wise to keep a few snowblower belts on hand, so you make replacements quickly when necessary. Before taking the belts out, take a picture. That way, you have a reference for where to put the new ones.
Top Off with Fresh Fuel
Siphon any old fuel out of the gas tank. Then fill the tank with fresh fuel. Make sure to top it off with a fuel stabilizer. That way, if there are a few weeks of mild weather, you don’t have to worry about your fuel going bad. Check the owner’s manual for the correct type of fuel to use in your snowblower.
Install A New Spark Plug (if necessary)
Now it’s time to put the spark plug back. If it’s just dirty, give it a quick clean.
However, if you notice any rust or corrosion, you should go ahead and replace it. Spark plugs are cheap, so don’t try too hard to save an old one. If you haven’t changed yours in a while, you might want to go ahead and replace it anyway.
Lubricate The Discharge Chute
To prevent clogs, you should spray down the discharge chute with something. Many people like to use WD-40, cooking spray, and silicone.
Start Your Snowblower
Finally! Now it’s time to start your snowblower. However, before you get to work, let your machine run for a few minutes to ensure there are no issues with the engine or other parts. Once you’ve indicated that your snowblower is safe to use, you’re free to get going.
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