Snowblower Life Expectancy: Tips for Longevity

Tired of your snowblower breaking down every winter? We understand the frustration. Here are essential maintenance tips to extend its life expectancy, so you can handle tough winter storms worry-free. Let’s dive into snowblower maintenance and keep those driveways clear all season long! Winter is here, and it’s time to prepare our trusty snowblowers for the months ahead. Regular maintenance can significantly extend your snowblower’s life expectancy. In this article, we’ll guide you through essential steps to keep your snowblower running smoothly and efficiently for years to come.

Proper storage

Clean the snowblower

Before storing your snowblower, it’s crucial to give it a thorough cleaning. Remove any built-up snow, dirt, or debris from the machine. Pay special attention to the chute, auger, and housing. Use a brush or scraper to loosen any stubborn ice or packed snow and then use a gentle stream of water to wash away the remaining residue. Ensuring that your snowblower is clean will prevent any rust or corrosion from forming during its idle period.

Empty the fuel tank

Another crucial step before storing your snowblower is to empty the fuel tank. Stale fuel can cause starting problems or damage the carburetor. To empty the tank, run the engine until it’s out of fuel or use a siphon pump to remove it. This will help avoid fuel-related issues when it’s time to use your snowblower again.

Use a fuel stabilizer

To further protect your snowblower’s engine during storage, consider using a fuel stabilizer. Fuel stabilizers prevent ethanol-blended fuels from breaking down and causing damage to the engine. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the proper amount of stabilizer to add to your fuel tank before storing the snowblower.

Remove the battery

If your snowblower has a battery, it’s essential to remove it before storing the machine. Extreme cold temperatures can lead to battery damage or loss of charge. Store the battery in a dry and warm place, away from any flammable materials. Additionally, check the battery’s charge periodically throughout the storage period and recharge it if necessary.

Store in a dry location

Finally, find a dry and well-ventilated location to store your snowblower. Moisture and humidity can cause damage to the engine and other components, so it’s crucial to choose a spot that is dry and free from any water or condensation. Additionally, store your snowblower in an area where it won’t be in the way or at risk of being damaged.

Regular cleaning

Clear snow and debris

Regularly removing snow and debris from your snowblower is essential to keep it functioning optimally. After each use, take the time to clear any remaining snow from the chute, auger, and housing. Use a brush or scraper to remove any compacted snow or ice. This simple step will prevent clogs and maintain efficient snowblowing performance.

Remove ice buildup

In colder climates, ice buildup can occur on the blades or other parts of the snowblower. To prevent damage to the machine, it’s important to remove any ice buildup before each use. You can use a plastic scraper or a rubber mallet to gently dislodge any ice without causing harm to the blades or other components.

Lubricate moving parts

Proper lubrication is vital to keep your snowblower’s moving parts working smoothly. Regularly lubricate the auger shaft, impeller shaft, and any other necessary areas with a suitable lubricant recommended by the manufacturer. This will reduce friction, prevent corrosion, and extend the life of your snowblower.

Check and tighten belts

Belts are critical components in the operation of your snowblower. Regularly check the belts for any signs of wear, such as cracking or fraying. If necessary, tighten or replace the belts to maintain proper function. Loose or worn belts can reduce the performance of your snowblower and increase the risk of damage to other parts.

Inspect and clean the chute

The chute is responsible for directing the snow to the desired location. Regularly inspect the chute for any blockages or obstructions that may hinder its proper functioning. Use a brush or scraper to remove any snow or ice that may have accumulated in the chute. Keeping the chute clear will ensure that the snow is expelled smoothly and evenly.

Fueling and oiling

Use fresh fuel

Always use fresh gasoline to fuel your snowblower. Fuel that has been sitting for an extended period can break down and cause starting issues or damage the engine. To ensure optimal performance, use only fresh fuel when filling up your snowblower’s tank.

Avoid ethanol-blended fuel

Ethanol-blended fuel can be detrimental to small engines like those found in snowblowers. If possible, avoid using gasoline with ethanol. Ethanol can attract moisture, which leads to fuel separation and potential engine damage. Look for ethanol-free or low-ethanol fuel options when available.

Follow the manufacturer’s oil recommendations

The type of oil and the intervals at which you should change it can vary depending on the snowblower model. Consult the manufacturer’s manual for specific recommendations concerning oil type and change intervals. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines will help maintain the engine’s performance and extend its lifespan.

Change the oil regularly

Regularly changing the oil is one of the most important maintenance tasks for any engine, including the one in your snowblower. Over time, oil breaks down and becomes less effective at lubricating the engine’s components. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil change intervals and use the appropriate oil for your snowblower’s engine.

Check the oil level before each use

Before each use, check the oil level in your snowblower’s engine. Ideally, the oil should be at the recommended level, neither too high nor too low. If the oil level is inadequate, top it up with the recommended oil. Neglecting to maintain the proper oil level can result in engine damage and decreased performance.

Spark plug maintenance

Remove and inspect the spark plug

The spark plug is responsible for igniting the fuel-air mixture in the engine’s combustion chamber. Over time, the spark plug can become fouled or deteriorate, affecting the engine’s performance. Regularly remove the spark plug and inspect for any signs of damage, wear, or carbon buildup. If necessary, clean or replace the spark plug according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Clean or replace the spark plug

If you notice significant carbon buildup or damage on your spark plug, it’s time for some maintenance. Use a wire brush or a spark plug cleaner to gently remove any carbon deposits. If the damage is severe or the spark plug is old, it’s best to replace it with a new one. A properly functioning spark plug is crucial for efficient engine operation.

Set the proper spark plug gap

The spark plug gap refers to the distance between the electrode and the center contact. An incorrect spark plug gap can lead to misfires or inefficient combustion. Refer to the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure the spark plug gap is set correctly. Use a gap tool to adjust the gap if needed, taking care not to damage the electrode.

Belt and auger care

Check and adjust belt tension

Belts that are too loose or too tight can cause premature wear or failure. Regularly check the tension of the belts in your snowblower. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine the proper tension and use a belt tension gauge if necessary. If the belts are not within the recommended range, adjust them accordingly to ensure optimal performance.

Inspect and replace worn or damaged belts

Belts can wear out over time, especially if they are subjected to heavy use. Inspect the belts regularly for signs of cracking, fraying, or degradation. If you notice any significant wear or damage, replace the belts promptly. Worn or damaged belts can lead to poor snowblower performance and increase the risk of further component damage.

Lubricate the auger shaft

The auger shaft plays a crucial role in the snowblowing process. Regularly lubricate the auger shaft with a suitable lubricant that is recommended by the manufacturer. Proper lubrication will reduce friction and prevent excessive wear on the auger bearings and other components. This simple step can significantly extend the life of your snowblower.

Tire maintenance

Monitor tire pressure

Proper tire pressure is essential for the optimal performance of your snowblower. Before each use, check the tire pressure and ensure that it matches the manufacturer’s recommendations. Underinflated tires can affect maneuverability, while overinflated tires can lead to a rough ride and potential damage to the snowblower. Adjust the tire pressure as needed to maintain the correct level.

Check for tire wear

Inspect the tires regularly for any signs of wear, such as tread depth or sidewall damage. Worn tires can result in reduced traction and compromised maneuverability. If you notice significant wear, it’s time to replace the tires to maintain safe and efficient snowblowing.

Replace damaged or worn tires

If your snowblower’s tires are damaged or significantly worn, it’s crucial to replace them promptly. Look for tires that are compatible with your snowblower’s specifications and meet the manufacturer’s recommendations. Choosing tires of the proper size and tread pattern will ensure optimal traction and performance in various snow conditions.

Electric starter maintenance

Inspect and clean the starter gear

For snowblowers with electric starters, regular maintenance is necessary to keep them in good working condition. Periodically inspect the starter gear for any signs of wear or damage. Clean any debris or dirt that may have accumulated on the starter gear as it can affect the starter’s performance.

Lubricate the starter shaft and gear

Proper lubrication of the starter shaft and gear is essential to prevent excessive wear and ensure smooth operation. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for suitable lubricants and apply them as instructed. Regular lubrication will extend the life of your snowblower’s electric starter.

Test the starter for proper operation

Before the winter season begins, test the electric starter to ensure it’s working correctly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on starting and stopping the machine using the electric starter. If you notice any issues or abnormalities, address them promptly to avoid any inconvenience when you need to start your snowblower.

Engine maintenance

Change the air filter

The air filter in your snowblower’s engine prevents dirt and debris from entering the combustion chamber. Over time, the air filter can become clogged, affecting engine performance. Regularly inspect the air filter and clean or replace it as necessary. A clean air filter will ensure adequate airflow, proper combustion, and improved fuel efficiency.

Inspect and clean the carburetor

The carburetor is responsible for mixing air and fuel in the correct proportions for combustion. Over time, it can become clogged with varnish or debris, affecting the engine’s performance. Inspect the carburetor regularly and clean it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This will ensure smooth fuel delivery and optimal engine operation.

Check and adjust engine RPM

The engine RPM (revolutions per minute) affects the snowblower’s performance. Ensure that the engine is running at the manufacturer’s recommended RPM. Use a tachometer or consult the manufacturer’s manual for guidance on how to check and adjust the engine RPM properly.

Inspect and tighten engine bolts

Regularly inspect the engine bolts and other fasteners on your snowblower for any signs of loosening or damage. Vibrations can cause bolts to come loose, leading to poor performance and potential damage. Use the appropriate tools to tighten any loose bolts and ensure they are secure.

Clean the cooling fins

The engine’s cooling fins help dissipate heat and maintain the proper operating temperature. Over time, the cooling fins can become clogged with dirt, debris, or snow. Regularly clean the cooling fins and remove any accumulated debris. This will help prevent overheating and keep the engine running smoothly.

Safety precautions

Wear proper protective gear

When operating a snowblower, it’s essential to wear the appropriate protective gear. This includes safety glasses, gloves, and non-slip footwear. We recommend wearing clothing that is snug but allows for freedom of movement. By wearing proper protective gear, you can reduce the risk of injury and work safely.

Ensure the snowblower is off

Before performing any maintenance tasks on your snowblower, ensure that it is turned off and the engine is cool. Accidental starts can lead to serious injuries. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the start and stop procedures outlined in the manufacturer’s manual.

Use caution around moving parts

Snowblowers have various moving parts, such as the auger and impeller, that can cause injury if mishandled. It’s important to exercise caution and keep your hands, feet, and loose clothing away from these areas at all times. Never attempt to clear clogs or perform maintenance tasks while the snowblower is running.

Keep hands and feet away

When operating a snowblower, always keep your hands and feet away from the rotating augers and impellers. Never use your hands or feet to clear snow or debris from the chute or other parts. Instead, use a suitable tool or implement recommended by the manufacturer.

Do not leave the snowblower unattended

When operating a snowblower, it’s crucial to remain attentive and never leave the machine unattended. Always turn off the engine and ensure that all moving parts have come to a complete stop before leaving the snowblower. Leaving the machine unattended can pose a significant safety risk.

Professional servicing

Schedule regular service appointments

Even with regular maintenance, it’s beneficial to have your snowblower serviced by a professional. Plan regular service appointments with a qualified technician who can inspect your snowblower and address any underlying issues. They can also perform additional maintenance tasks, such as adjusting the carburetor or performing a tune-up.

Get a professional tune-up

A professional tune-up can significantly improve the performance and longevity of your snowblower. During a tune-up, a certified technician will inspect and service various components, such as the carburetor, spark plug, belts, and engine. They will also perform any necessary adjustments to ensure optimal performance.

Address any issues promptly

If you notice any problems or abnormalities with your snowblower, it’s essential to address them promptly. Ignoring or delaying repairs can lead to further damage and costly repairs down the road. Whenever you encounter an issue, contact a professional technician to diagnose and resolve the problem.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your snowblower remains in excellent working condition year after year. Regular cleaning, proper fueling and oiling, and periodic professional servicing will extend the life expectancy of your snowblower and help you tackle winter’s worst weather with ease. Stay safe and enjoy the convenience of a reliable snowblower all season long!