Snow Blower Maintenance Tips for a Quick and Easy Winter

Snow Blower Maintenance Tips

Snow Blowers are great machines that offer users a lot of convenience over the wintertime. Instead of spending hours shovelling snow, a Snow Blower can blow them off to one side and leave you with a relatively clear driveway or yard. That being said, they are also complicated and expensive pieces of machinery. Maintaining them is essential to ensuring you get what you paid for as long as possible.

If you only just got a Snow Blower, or if you’re planning to get one in the near future, it’s highly likely that maintaining such a complex machine does not come intuitively. With all the many parts and features, it’s easy to get confused and even easier to not bother with maintenance at all.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Below, we have compiled some of the most common Snow Blower maintenance tips for you to have a better idea about what it takes to care for your own Snow Blower when the day comes.

1. Read the manual

This seems like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many people buy a complicated machine like a Snow Blower and then don’t bother to read the manual. It’s important to do this so that you understand how the machine works and what all of the different parts are. This will come in handy later when you have to troubleshoot any problems that might come up.

More often than not, the manual already comes with a host of maintenance tips in detailed steps and some numbers to call should you require the help of an expert. Taking the time to read the manual is something you’ll be very thankful for down the road.

2. Inspect the parts individually 

Before you start taking the machine apart and putting it back together, take some time to do a preliminary inspection of all the different parts of your Snow Blower. This includes things like the auger, the chute, and the skids. In most cases, you can already tell what needs further attention just by looking at it closely — this would save you a whole lot of time and narrow down the list of to-dos for your Snow Blower’s maintenance. 

Look for any signs of wear and tear or damage. If you see anything that looks out of the ordinary, make a note of it so you can get it repaired or replaced before it causes any major problems.

3. Give special attention to the augers

Sharpen The Blades

The augers of the machine are the most hardworking part. They are the ones that make contact with the snow and propel it through the shoot. Frequently, the augers are the first ones that need maintenance.

Look closely for any signs of rust or damages that might have been incurred over time. Wear and tear is natural for any machine but there are a handful of products in your local hardware that can clean your augers and ward off any oxidation. 

If, however, you find that the augers are damaged to the point that they no longer touch the ground, then they’re gonna need replacing. 

4. Turn or replace the shave plate

The shave plate is the component of the Snow Blower that actually scoops the ice for the augers. These are also prone to wear and tear faster than the other parts of the Snow Blower so be mindful to check them regularly. If you have a single-stage Snow Blower with a worn shave plate, you can actually reverse the shave plate and use the other side. Just make a note to get a replacement soon. 

If you have a double or triple-stage Snow Blower and the shave plate is damaged, this will need to be replaced as soon as possible. The instruction manual should have a complete list of all the makes and models of the individual parts of the Snow Blower, allowing you to find the correct replacements for the parts. You can also call the manufacturer and order the parts individually. In some cases, this is included in the warranty.

5. Change the oil

Just like a car’s engine, the motor of the Snow Blower needs to have its oil changed regularly. You’re going to do this at least once every winter season or after 50 hours of use. Run the machine for a few minutes to warm it up and make the oil slicker. 

Turn it off then pull the plug to drain out the old oil. The manual should tell you where the plug is but, generally, it is located at the bottom part of the machine. Once all the old oil is out, put the plug back in and pour in the new motor oil through a specific valve at the top, again consult your manual to know where it is since its location is different for every model.

6. Use stabilizers for the fuels

Checking Snow Blower Fuel

If you’re getting a Snow Blower, it’s a given that you live in an especially cold environment during the wintertime. Just like in a car, the fuel you use for your Snow Blower will need stabilizers in order to not freeze over. The last thing you want is to deal with frozen fuel within your Snow Blower which can cause some serious damage to the unit as a whole, in some cases, it can even cause irreparable damage.

Ask the sales representative before buying the Snow Blower what type of motor oil and fuel stabilizer is best for the machine. Such info should also be found in the manual or you can call the manufacturer and ask. Not all fuel stabilizers are the same and using the wrong one can also cause a lot of damage so be sure to use only the manufacturer-recommended ones. 

7. Change the spark plug

The spark plug is a device that helps to start the Snow Blower engine by providing the spark needed for combustion. Maintaining this is especially important if you have a gas-powered Snow Blower — without combustions, there’s no snow-blowing.

In order to keep your Snow Blower's spark plug in good condition, you need to regularly clean and gap it. You can clean the spark plug by using a wire brush or a commercially available cleaner that’s made specifically for these parts. To gap the spark plug, you'll need to use a feeler gauge. For most snow blowers, the ideal gap is between 0.02 and 0.03 inches. 

If you find that the spark plug is too damaged after a long period of use, then you should replace it. You’ll need a wrench to detach it. 

8. Ensure the tires are properly pressurized

There is a lot of stone and debris buried under the snow that can pierce the tires or wear off their grip over time. Tires are often a component of the Snow Blower that people pay less attention to until they’re flattened, meaning the heavy Snow Blower is essentially immovable. 

Make it a habit to inspect the tires regularly and fill them up with air. If they seem a little worn out, get them replaced with tires that offer a lot of grip and friction. Since you’ll be gliding the machine on top of the snow, you’ll want tires that won’t slip easily.

9. Check the belts, skid shoes, and shear pins.

The belts, skid shoes, and shear pins all need to be inspected and cleaned before and after use. These are some of the first parts to be affected by rust so their proper maintenance can prevent that for as long as possible. 

See if there is any wear and tear on the belt. Before getting it replaced or repaired, make a special note of its replacement so that you can easily reattach it later. 

A broken shear pin is actually a safety feature. These are the parts that connect the augers to the overall machine and if they break, it means the augers were overloaded. Replace these and remember to be a little easier on your machine next time.

Finally, the skid shoes are features more common on double-stage Snow Blowers. These are the adjustable pieces that let you set the height of your auger to match the thickness of the snow. Most are actually reversible so you don’t need to get a new one when you see any signs of damage. If yours look worn, flip it over and use the other side, making a note to replace them next year.

10. Lubricate the machine

Lubrication is important to ensure the augers and wheels spin as smoothly as possible. At the turn of the season, when winter begins, consult your user’s manual and lubricate all the moving parts of the Snow Blower. This has two benefits.

The first is, as mentioned, it allows the parts to spin and turn with little to no resistance. Secondly, lubrication also acts as a protective coating that prevents rust.

Bottom Line…

When all is said and done, maintaining your Snow Blower should be an easy thing to do once you have all the basics down. Although you can always have it serviced by a professional (and indeed we recommend you do this at least once a year), you now know everything you need to know about how to make your Snow Blower last as long as possible!

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About the Author Madison Meyers

Madison Meyers is a Minneapolis native who knows what it takes to survive in the land of 10,000 lakes.

She’s made it her mission to make sure people never have to shovel again by combining her love for snow with the entrepreneurial skills she picked up at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

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