An engine that isn’t consistently running is prone to all sorts of damage. When you consider snowblower storage for the offseason, make sure you take the necessary steps to protect the engine.
Before you read this guide, track down the owner’s manual for your model. If you don’t have it on hand, you can search for an online version. The user manual is going to be the most definitive resource and should include all necessary maintenance advice.
This snowblower storage guide serves as a primer and should draw your attention to some steps you may have overlooked even after reading the manual. Here are some steps you may want to check off your list after the snow stops falling.
Steps to Prepare a Snow Blower for Storage
1. Complete seasonal maintenance as needed.
First, make sure the snowblower is on a flat surface. Before completing any of these suggested maintenance tasks, remove the spark plug, which will prevent the machine from turning on accidentally. Next, inspect any nuts and bolts to be sure they are secure and look for noticeable signs of damage. Finally, complete the following recommendations if they are required.
Clean or replace the spark plug.
Once the spark plug has been removed, check for signs of residue or rust. If possible, clean the spark plug with a wire brush. If the spark plug is in bad shape, consider purchasing a replacement.
Lubricate the piston area by applying some clean engine oil to the spark plug cavity. You can reinstall the spark plug once you’ve completed routine maintenance.
Change the oil.
Before storing your snowblower, consider changing the oil. Drain and refill the oil according to the user manual.
Replace worn snowblower parts.
Some parts of a snowblower see regular wear and tear. Inspect the following components and decide if they need to be repaired or replaced. Parts with visible cracks and signs of wear should be replaced.
Some commonly replaced parts include:
- Shave plate
- Rubber paddles
2. Drain or stabilize the remaining fuel.
There are conflicting accounts of whether or not you should drain the fuel in a snowblower before storage. Read the owner’s manual to help you decide.
To empty the fuel tank:
If you plan on storing your snowblower for longer than a month, we recommend this option. One way to drain the fuel tank is to use a gas siphon or baster as much as you can. Once you get the majority of the fuel out, run the snowblower until the machine stalls.
NOTE: Make sure you drain fuel outside and use containers that are specified for fuel. Do not do this around an open flame.
IMPORTANT: If you plan on storing a snowblower in a storage unit, you will be required to drain the fuel for safety reasons.
To stabilize fuel in the tank:
If you’re storing a snowblower for less than 30 days, you have the option of using a fuel stabilizer. Untreated gasoline can deteriorate and clog the fuel system in a short period. Check the owner manual and pick a fuel stabilizer that is compatible with your snowblower.
There are a few essential points to remember here.
- Make sure that the tank is full. A partially full tank can create excess condensation and damage the fuel system.
- Run the engine for five to ten minutes after you add the stabilizer so that it can mix into the carburetor.
- Use a fuel stabilizer with fresh fuel. If your fuel is old, consider emptying the tank and then refilling it. If the gas is over three weeks old, it’s more likely to be degraded to the point where it could damage the machine when in storage, even with a stabilizer.
NOTE: Most snow blowers can use fuel with ethanol that is common at the gas pump. However, we recommend using 100% gasoline since ethanol can be troublesome for smaller engines. A simple Google search will help you find gas stations that offer this type of fuel.
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How to Store a Snow Blower
1. Clean off all salt and debris.
It is vital to clean and dry a snowblower before storage. To accomplish this, use a low-pressure hose to spray down the machine. Scrub the exterior with mild dish soap, focusing on areas where dirt and salt collect. Dry accessible parts and allow the device to dry in the sunlight before storing it. Don’t keep the snowblower in the sun for more than a few hours, though.
Once the snowblower is clean and dry, consider touching up any areas of rust or chipped paint. Sand the surface lightly then apply a thin coat of automotive paint.
2. Protect the metal with a rust preventative or lubricant.
Since snow blowers are not watertight, it’s crucial to protect visible components by regularly lubricating them. The lubrication or rust preventative will act as a barrier between the metal and moisture and will make sure all moving parts remain functional. Remove the bottom cover and focus your lubrication on some of the following critical areas.
Here are some areas that you should address with a thin layer of grease:
- Hex shaft
- Pinion shaft
- Auger shaft
- Axle shaft
3. Use a snowblower cover to protect the machine.
We recommend purchasing a snowblower cover that is specific to the model. If that is not an option, you can use a tarp to cover the machine. You want to protect the equipment from pests as well as from moisture and debris.
Before putting on the cover, make sure to fold the handles back on models that allow you to do so.
4. Find an appropriate storage spot.
The best place to store a snow blower is indoors. However, if you need to store the equipment outside, make sure it is lifted off the ground and completely covered.
When storing indoors, make sure to never store the snowblower near an open flame or pilot light, like those on a furnace or gas dryer. If you’re storing a snowblower indoors, you should drain all the fuel before storage.
We hope these snowblower storage tips helped! With a little extra work, you’ll be able to prolong the life of this and other small engines during the offseason.