Tip of the Week: Take this tip and shove(l) it! We mean snow blow it!

Snow is just around the corner…Are you ready? And is your snow blower ready? Now is the time to get your snow blower out and check these items over…

Scraper Bar: Most people never tip their snow blower on its side and check the scraper bar. The scraper bar is what rubs against the ground and scrapes the snow off the cement. It is a wear item and occasionally may need to be replaced. You want to make sure you keep an eye on the scraper bar so you don't eat away the housing of the snow blower; that can be very expensive to fix.

Rubber Paddles: If you have rubber paddles or rubber on your auger, make sure you check it too. An easy way to see if the rubber needs to be replaced is to stick your finger between the rubber and the housing. If your finger will go between them, it’s probably time to replace the rubber. You’ll find that your snow blower will work more efficiently with new rubber.

Screws and Bolts: Now let’s check all the screws and bolts on your snow blower. Make sure they’re tight and none are missing. We get a lot of snow blowers in with broken handles, and the main reason the handles break is because of loose screws or bolts.

Belts: Make sure you also take the belt cover off and check the belt for wear and cracks. While your have your snow blower open, check any idler pulleys and make sure the bearings are not too worn or your pulley is sloppy.

Engine Maintenance: Take the time to check your engine out. There are two basic types of engines, a two-cycle engine (where you mix oil and gas) or a four-cycle engine (where you use straight gas and have to check the oil.)

Let’s start with two-cycle engines; there’s not a lot you can do to this engine. It’s very basic and simple, so about the only thing to do for maintenance is replace the spark plug. And there are no air filters to replace on two-cycle snow blowers, so they can ice up.

Also, if you left last year’s old gas in the
snow blower, get rid of it. If you don’t have a siphon, you can take a turkey baster and suck the gas out of the unit, but make sure you buy a new baster before the holidays(!). And if you have old gas in your snow blower gas can, get rid of it too. Any old gas, even if it is a two-cycle mix with oil, will not hurt your car, so feel free to use up old gas in your vehicle. Just make sure there is no water in the old snow blower gas can.

Go buy good fresh gas, with 87 or higher octane and don't buy any more than you will use in 30 days. Gas goes flat and will make your unit hard to start.

If you have a 4 cycle engine, you not only have to put gas in it, but you have to check your oil!

You want to change your oil at least once a year or every 20 hours of use with a good grade 5W30 motor oil. Most 4 cycle engines use around 20 ounces of oil; some of the bigger engines may need as much as a quart to bring to proper levels. It is a good idea to check your oil each time before you start your engine.

If you have a two-stage snow blower, make sure you check the lube in the gear box as well. Some brands may also have a grease “zerk” in the gear box, and some have “zerks” on the auger shaft. Grease these liberally if your snow blower has one.

Starting: Now let’s start it up! Even with new gas, let it run for a while to burn out any remaining old gas in the fuel line and carburetor. Try and start it when the engine is warm and it should start easily. Let it sit for several hours and try to start it again. If it still starts easily, you should be ready to go.

Tune Up/Parts: If it is still hard to start, it will start even harder in cold weather. You may want to take it in and get a good tune-up to make sure you are ready to blow snow this winter.

If you’re doing the repairs yourself, make sure you know the brand of snow blower and be sure to get the model and serial number off the unit. This will make ordering parts much easier, and you won’t have to make a second trip into the store because you had to go home and get all the necessary numbers for ordering. We’re there for you, but you have to do your part when getting parts for your snow blower or any power equipment Home Hardware services.

Before you start thinking snow, think snow blower maintenance!

Send any questions you have to The Hardware Guy. More tips.


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