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.
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:
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.
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.
Turn off the snow thrower.
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 tool. 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.
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.
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 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:
Do not run a gasoline-powered snow blower indoors or in an area that does not have proper ventilation.