We have discussed whether or not you need a snow blower in the past, and if you’re one of those folks who decided to go for it, you’ll need some maintenance tips as the winter goes along to keep your investment in good working order. Many people think that approaching a snow blower with the same mindset as a lawn mower will allow them to keep it in good working order, however, snow blowers have their own certain quirks that need to be addressed to keep them functioning throughout the snows – the last thing you want is two feet of snow and finding out that the snow blower you just bought is out of service.
The Usual Maintenance
Some of what we discuss when looking at push mowers can transfer over to snow blowers. Just like with lawn mowers, before use, you’ll want to check the fuel, carburetor, fuel mix (if it’s a two-cylinder engine), and spark plugs. Also pay attention to the wheels, and make sure inflatable wheels are inflated to the correct pressure.
Check Shear Pins
The shear pins on the auger and the casing are made to break under high stress so that the other components don’t suffer. Make sure your shear pins are intact, and if any of them have broken, make sure to replace them with the same style pins. Not having all the pins in will make the machine dangerous to operate, while using rigid bolts can cause the machine to malfunction and lead to massive repairs.
Don’t Start your Snow Blower Cold
Especially after sitting for the whole winter, you won’t want to start your snow blower up and shove it into the deepest drift. Snow blowers need to be warmed up and eased into the snow, so let it run for a few minute, then start it on the smaller drifts, taking small areas at first. After it’s taken through some small areas of snow, it will be ready to charge into deep piles. Just remember that, when letting it warm up, make sure the area is well-ventilated.
Adjust Your Skid Shoes
The skid shoes on the bottom of your snow blower determine how low to the ground your snow blower clears. For using the unit on sooth services, use the lowest setting. However, if you have to clear an irregular, uneven surface, take into account the severity of the surface. Adjust the shoes so they will clear the largest bits by 1/4 inch or more, or else you risk damage to the auger or, if you pick up rocks, to the chute or to the surrounding area, as it will be fired out of the chute at a high speed.
Clearing the Chute
What is most unique about snow blowers is how they move the snow. Every snow blower uses a propeller to push the snow up and out of the chute, while the larger ones also uses a second auger underneath to pull the snow in to the propeller. The chute can become clogged, especially with heavy, slushy snow that sticks to the propeller and chute. Should the chute become clogged, never reach in with your hand – even when turned off, with the spark plug disconnected, the propeller can still store some potential energy. Instead, use a tool handle or a chute cleaning tool to clear up the chute. To help avoid clogs, give the propeller in the chute a good spray of cooking oil or WD-40 prior to use. This will keep even the stickiest snow from clinging to the inside.