The last thing anyone wants after the first major snowstorm of the year is to take the snowblower out of the garage and discover that it doesn’t work.
Having simple annual snow blower maintenance performed can save you from the aggravation of this scenario.
In general, these tasks should be done either at the end of the season in preparation for the following year or in the autumn before winter starts.
Much of the basic maintenance for a snowblower is the same as that needed by automobiles and includes the following:
- Changing the oil (drain the old oil before adding new oil)
- Installing a new spark plug
- Replacing oil, fuel, and air filters
- Inspecting the belts for wear and replacing them as necessary
- Checking the tires for proper pressure and punctures
- Filling the tank with fresh gasoline (siphon off old gasoline first)
- Lubricating the snowblower drive and chassis can also improve efficiency and increase the life of the snowblower. Different snowblowers require different lubricating agents.
One part that can wear down over time is the rubber on the auger. If a finger fits between the rubber and the snowblower’s housing, replacement rubber is needed to optimize performance.
The scraper bar (the bar that scrapes the snow into the blower) can also experience some wear and should be carefully examined each year. A worn scraper bar can cause damage to the snowblower’s chassis and this generally requires professional repair or even replacement of the unit.
Even if the above maintenance is done at the end of a snow season, you may wish to purchase new gasoline at the beginning of each winter. In Massachusetts, with wide climate variations, gasoline is reformulated every few months for maximum effectiveness in for the current season. This means that gas bought in spring is not the same as gas that is bought in the fall, and the fall formula is better suited for winter use.
Adding methanol to the gasoline once a year can also be useful to prevent condensation in the gas tank and icing of the carburetor. This can be done at any time and is not technically part of an annual maintenance checklist, but adding the methanol when you fill the tank for the first time can ensure it’s done at least once per year.