Preparing Your Snowblower for Winter
Now is a great time to take your machine to Prairie Lawn and Garden for any needed maintenance or repairs. Once the snow falls, our shops will be extremely busy, and they will most likely have long delays.
If you’re planning to do your own maintenance, or just want to see what we recommend, please follow these tips, which will help ensure your snowblower is ready for winter. See your operator’s manual for further details on performing any of the maintenance mentioned.
- Use fresh fuel (less than 30 days old). Gasoline gets “stale” over time and fresh fuel ignites more easily. Stale gas can leave harmful deposits in your product’s fuel system. Hopefully, you ran the engine out of fuel at the end of last winter — if not, even more reason to check it now.
- We recommend you use a national brand to ensure you are beginning with good- quality fuel. Use fuel with an octane rating of 87, or as close to 87 as you can. Higher octane fuels offer no benefit for your residential products, and some high octane additive packages are not good for small engines. Only purchase what you expect to use within 30 days, or add stabilizer. If you add a fuel stabilizer the day you buy the gasoline, you can expect the fuel to stay fresh for 4-6 months.
- Starting will be easier if the spark plug is in good condition. If in doubt, replace it. A new spark plug will be able to better ignite the fuel air mixture within the engine. You should also make sure the spark plug wire securely attaches to the spark plug.
- If you have a 4-cycle model (fuel and oil are separate) and didn’t change the oil last spring, now is the time. Even if you only run the machine a few hours a year, the oil should be changed. Oil in a small engine does not break down very fast; however, it does become contaminated. Moisture from the air and small amounts of combustion byproducts (exhaust) will build up in the oil within a very short time. This contamination will result in increased wear and can even eat away at internal parts over time. Following the recommended schedule for your machine can help prevent expensive repairs.
- Review the starting procedures outlined in the operator’s manual, including the proper operation of the safety features on your unit.
- Annual Inspection
Before each season, inspect the rotor blades for wear. When a rotor blade edge has worn down to the wear indicator hole, both rotor blades and the scraper should be replaced. Inspect the drive belt for fraying, cracking or signs of stretching. Replace the drive belt if any of these conditions occur. It is recommended to have an extra belt on hand in the event the belt breaks while operating. Check for any loose fasteners and tighten as necessary. Missing fasteners should be replaced immediately. If you are a DIYer and like to perform your own maintenance or product repair, if you need Prairie Lawn and Garden to look parts have your model and serial number ready to help us quickly identify the parts you need to keep your equipment running like new.