Snowthrowers fill a vital but unique necessity for cold weather homeowners. In some states, snowthrowers are used as frequently as lawnmowers. In other regions, snowblowers may sit dormant for many months and sometimes a full year. After these long periods in storage, we rely on snowblowers to tackle extreme tasks. No matter where you live a few simple tests each fall will prevent a major headache when the snow has covered your driveway.

Removing a Snowblower from Storage

There should be no fuel in your snowblower when starting this checklist. Please note fresh fuel describes newly purchased gasoline. Never store fuel longer than 30 days from the pump. The most common reason for hard starting and inconsistent performance is old fuel.

If your equipment has old fuel in the tank and fuel lines, start by draining this fuel. Most carburetors on snowblowers feature a drain plug on the side of the bowl. Follow directions from your owners manual and make sure to simply loosen the drain screw (it does not need to be removed).

Assembly inspection

  • Visually inspect all cables, auger housing and controls for wear or damage
  • Hardware on the handlebar should be tightened
  • If your equipment has been dormant for a long period pay close attention to any oxidation on springs and cables
  • If cables, springs or belts are worn, damaged or aging, consider replacing before the winter or ordering those items in case of breakdown during the winter

Prepare the fuel system

  • If your engine is a four cycle, verify proper engine oil level.
  • Changing oil annually is an inexpensive and wise practice.
  • Fill your fuel tank with fresh fuel.

Check wearable parts

  • Single Stage – Evaluate wear on paddles and scraper. Paddles are thick rubber pads that contact the surface of your driveway. They wear evenly with the plastic scraper that guards the bottom of the auger housing.
How to evaluate:
Honda – There is not a wear indicator. Measure the center paddle (from the metal there must be a minimum of 5/8”)
Toro – A small hole drilled through the paddle indicates wear. Once the paddles wear into the hole, replace both the paddle and scraper. If you cannot see the hole, then you have probably worn through it.
Other Brands – If not indicated in your owner’s manual, a good rule of thumb is a thumb’s width. Observe the gap between the paddle and housing. If there is more than a thumb’s width between the scraper and paddle, then these should be replaced.
  • Two Stage – Evaluate wear on skid shoes and scraper.

Side shoes are located on both sides or the rear of the auger housing. Adjusting the skid shoes before each season prevents damage to the auger housing. If the skid shoes are worn past the contact plate either reverse or replace them.

The scraper blade runs the width of the auger housing. Once there is no adjustment left in the scraper, it should be replaced.

  • All Snowthrowers feature springs, pulleys, cables and belts which may stretch or crack over time. Visually inspect and test these parts for proper function.
  • Belts are located behind protective covers. A visual inspection of the auger drive pulleys, spring and belts is important as snowblowers age. If your auger paddles and scraper are worn, then it is good idea to check or change your auger belt.

Test Operations

  • Start the engine and allow it to run for at least 5 minutes.
  • Engage all controls while the engine is operating.
    • Single Stage snowthrower paddles should engage and pull the equipment forward
    • Two Stage transmissions should engage and move the frame evenly. Tire pressure should be adjusted if equipment has been dormant for an extended period.
  • Turn off engine
  • Inspect engine for any signs of leaking fuel along worn fueline, fuel filters and most commonly at the carburetor.
  • If the engine does not start or the carburetor leaks fuel, consult our website for replacement parts or visit our service department for repair.

Other Common Issues

  • Spark Plugs are very easy to replace. Depending on usage, annual renewal is advised.
  • Fuel Filters are more common on newer snowblowers and can be renewed easily by homeowners.
  • Electrical systems including the outlet should be cleaned when removing from storage.

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