It’s that time of year again – unless you’re living in northern Wisconsin – time to pack up the snow blower for the winter and swap it out for the mower. But before you shove it back in that damp corner of the garage, there is maintenance work that should be done to ensure the blower is ready to go when the snow starts falling next season.
Keep this checklist handy as you prepare your snow blower for summertime storage.
First – and most importantly — take care of any remaining gasoline in the snow blower.
Most professionals recommend emptying the snow blower of all fuel. Drain or syphon the gas, and then run the engine until it’s dry or stalls. The snow blower needs to be empty to avoid the fuel from going bad and creating a gum like gunk that can accumulate inside the tank, filter, hose and carburetor. If that nasty film does form, you’ll be the sorry soul disassembling your engine and cleaning the parts during next season’s snowpocalypse.
Others recommend draining the gas then adding fuel stabilizer. The chemical mixes with the remaining fuel and is designed to slow corrosion and prevent parts from cracking, drying or rusting. Once you add the stabilizer turn on the engine for several minutes to ensure it reaches the carburetor. Again, you want to do anything you can to prevent that gunky gum from forming inside the snow blower.
Next, take out the spark plug, and then add a lubricant to the head where you removed it. Make sure the spark plug doesn’t need to be replaced before re-installing it. If it does, swap it out for a new one.
After that, check the oil and change it if necessary. Don’t forget to replace the filter. Some people wait until the fall or winter months to check this off the list, but you might as well tackle the job while the sun is shining and the garage is inviting.
Next, make sure the tires are inflated and that they don’t’ have any significant damage or wear. Add air or replace the tires if necessary.
Before you move the snow blower in to the garage, give it a bath to clean out dirt and salt to prevent corrosion. Then leave it outside to dry or wipe it down with old rags and towels.
Finally, place a customized cover or tarp over the snow blower to prevent dust and debris from getting inside the engine. Some people take an extra step and place their blower on bricks or wood pieces to keep it off the ground. Store the snow blower in a cool, dry place. Preferable a garage or storage shed. If the snow blower must stay outside, take the extra step to cover it.
Follow these easy steps and your snow blower should be ready for the next snow season. For parts and instructions specific to the make and model of your snow blower browse the owner’s manual.