Learn how to service and care for your snow blower to extend its life and improve efficiency. Good maintenance during the season and proper storage in the off-season lets you get the most out of your snow-moving machine, year after year.
Snow Blower Maintenance
Before performing maintenance, cleaning, repairs or inspection on a snow blower, disengage all control levers, stop the engine and wait for the moving parts to stop completely. If your model has a key, remove it. On a gasoline-powered model, disconnect the spark plug ignition wire, grounding it against engine. Disconnect an electric model from the power source. Follow any pre-maintenance instructions the manufacturer specifies, including those for the use of protective gear while performing the work.
Maintenance may differ depending on your snow blower model. Read your documentation before beginning work and always follow the manufacturer's instructions for use, maintenance and safety. Here are some common procedures:
- Check the oil level before each use and add as needed (gasoline-powered models).
- Change the spark plug every 100 hours or once a season (gasoline-powered models).
- Change the air filter as needed (gasoline-powered models).
- Check shear bolts / pins (if equipped) and other fasteners frequently for proper tightness.
- Check skid shoes / plates (if equipped) and shave plates / scraper bars for wear and damage; adjust or replace as needed.
- Verify that the unit's control levers engage and disengage correctly and adjust them as needed.
- Maintain the proper tire pressure.
- Lubricate the machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- After use, run the machine for a few moments to clear out snow and to prevent freeze-up of the auger and / or impeller.
Some manufacturers specify running the snow blower until the fuel tank is empty before performing certain maintenance procedures. Follow the instructions for your specific model.
Clear a Clogged Discharge Chute
Never clear the discharge chute with your hand. Hand contact with rotating impeller blades in the discharge chute is the most common cause of injury related to snow blowers.Step 1Step 2
Wait 10 seconds and ensure the impeller blades are no longer rotating.
Do not attempt to clear out a clogged chute while the snow blower is running. Follow the pre-maintenance procedures described above before beginning work.
Clear the chute using a clean-out too. Always use a clean-out tool, not your hands. If your snow blower did not come with a clean-out tool, you'll need to purchase one.
Service the Rubber Auger Paddles (Single-Stage Models)
These rubber paddles will eventually need replacement because they wear out over time. Their service life will depend on variables such as use, adjustments, maintenance and operating surface. Replace them as instructed by the manufacturer if they're damaged or worn out, being sure to follow the pre-maintenance procedures described above. You may also need to replace the paddles if the unit is improperly discharging snow forward instead of through the chute.
Adjust the Snow Blower Skid Shoes / Plates (Two-Stage Models)
Adjusting the skid shoes / plates on a two-stage snow blower allows you to control how close to the ground the unit will clear snow. Your manual should include specific instructions for adjustment on different surfaces. Follow these instructions for proper adjustment and be sure to follow the pre-maintenance procedures described above.
In general, if you're clearing an even, paved surface, you can adjust the skid shoes to a higher position, setting the shave plate / scraper bar to less clearance. If you're clearing an unusually irregular surface, adjust the skid shoes to their lowest position, giving the shave plate / scraper bar maximum clearance.
Store a Snow Blower after the Snow Season
Store your snow blower in an area that's dry and clean and away from corrosive materials. Follow the storage procedure outlined by the manufacturer. Here are some common practices:
- Allow the machine to cool before you store it.
- Clean the exterior of the machine and the engine, and let them dry before putting the snow blower away for the season.
- If you have a gasoline-powered snow blower, prepare the fuel system for storage. Manufacturers may specify running the snow blower until the fuel tank, fuel lines and carburetor are empty. Using fuel mixed with a fuel stabilizer may also be an alternative. Follow the instructions for your specific snow blower and engine.
- If storing a snow blower with a fuel / stabilizer mix in the fuel tank, make sure it is in an area where fumes will not come into contact with a spark or flame.
- Lubricate the snow blower as instructed by the manufacturer documentation.
- If storing the machine in an unventilated area, use a light oil or silicone to rustproof the snow blower.
Do not run a gasoline-powered snow blower indoors or in an area that does not have proper ventilation.