Few things keep a Honda HS520 snowblower running perfectly like regular maintenance, which can provide benefits like better fuel efficiency, smoother operation, less operator fatigue, and more effective clearing of snow during even the biggest storms of the season. Whether it’s strict adherence to the maintenance schedule or simply a policy of proactive maintenance checks, here’s what new snowblower owners need to know when taking care of this key investment.
Get to Know Safety Before Performing Maintenance
The key to great maintenance work is great safety, and there are a few guidelines that every snowblower owner should become familiar with right away. Among the most important safety precautions that should be taken before maintenance work:
– Turn the snowblower off. No maintenance should ever be conducted on a snowblower that is currently running, since this risks serious injury to the operator.
– Let the engine cool down. A hot engine can lead to serious burns and other injuries, and it can also cause engine oil or gasoline to spark and ignite under certain conditions. Only work on a snowblower that has a cold or slightly warm engine.
– Never work in an enclosed space. The danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is real, and can be avoided simply by working somewhere that’s either outdoors or served by excellent ventilation. Working without the equipment on will, of course, reduce this risk significantly all on its own.
The Maintenance Schedule
Every Honda snowblower comes with a maintenance schedule that guides equipment owners toward proactive maintenance at certain intervals. Whether it’s every use, or after several consecutive months of use, this schedule is the first line of defense against long-term maintenance issues and broader malfunctions. A brief look into the HS520’s maintenance schedule is as follows:
– Before Each Use
Honda recommends equipment owners check the fuel and gasoline levels prior to each snowblower outing to ensure safe, continuous operation.
– After the First Month
An oil change should be conducted after the first month of operation, or after the first 25 hours of operation, whichever milestone comes first.
– Every Year
Before the equipment is used for the first time each season, owners should change the engine oil, check or adjust the spark plug, and check several key parts of the auger system, including the belt, paddles, and clutch lever.
Before the equipment is stored each year, the fuel tank should be drained and the spark plug should be checked. Additionally, any moving parts or bearings should be attentively lubricated.
Numerous other checks and replacements occur at intervals of 100 hours, 150 hours, and after two years of use. Details about required maintenance at these times can be found within the Honda HS520 operator’s manual.
A Guide to Engine Maintenance
Engine maintenance is one of the most important areas to consider when extending the life of a Honda HS520 snowblower. Typically, equipment owners will be involved in three key activities when checking and maintaining the engine: Oil checks, oil changes, and spark plug adjustments.
An oil check is done simply by using the included dipstick before each use of the snowblower and looking at where the current oil level stands when compared to the “fill line” on the dipstick. If the oil is below the fill line, it should be topped off before the engine is started.
Oil changes typically occur after the first month of operation and before each winter season. This is done by removing the drain plug and allowing the oil to drain into an approved disposal container. Honda recommends using 5W30 oil in the HS520 snowblower series for the best possible performance and reliability throughout the winter.
Prior to operating the snowblower for the first time after many months in storage, the auger paddles will need to be checked for damage or other problems. After disconnecting the spark plug wire and ensuring the fuel valve is set to “off,” tip the equipment backward until the auger is revealed.
Check the auger paddles’ condition, replacing them if they’re excessively worn, damaged, or loose. Auger paddles worn down more than 5/8″ will require replacement before the snowblower can be used, no matter their condition.
The Scraper Blade
When checking the scraper blade, be sure to examine not only its external condition but also whether or not the blade meets the ground. The whole point of this blade is to scrape along the ground, releasing the last layer of snow and dispersing it elsewhere. If the blade does not touch the ground, it should be replaced with a new, OEM blade from Honda.
Lubrication of Fittings
A thorough lubrication prior to storage can help the snowblower avoid rust or other damage during storage. Honda recommends lubricating the following key parts prior to springtime storage:
– Chute hinge pin
– Chute tension bolts
– Auger clutch lever
– Auger shaft bearings
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