When the weather heats up and the threat of accumulating snow is gone for at least another eight months, it’s time to focus on the best practices for safely storing a snowblower until its services are required once again. From taking care of any remaining fuel to cleaning and covering the snowblower, equipment owners should be sure that they adhere to a few basic tips and tricks each year so that they can extend their snowblower’s life and avoid costly maintenance when temperatures once again plunge below the freezing mark. For those new to snowblower storage and preparation, here’s what to know as spring approaches.
1. Drain or Stabilize Fuel in Preparation for Storage
Leaving fuel in the snowblower during the spring and summer months is generally not recommended, since it only serves to create stale, useless fuel that can actually speed up corrosion within the snowblower’s fuel tank. For this reason, most major manufacturers recommend fully draining the snowblower’s fuel tank prior to springtime storage. While this is the most popular option among equipment owners, some do prefer to save fuel costs and preserve any remaining gasoline over the course of the spring and summer months.
To properly store the snowblower with fuel still in the tank, a stabilizer should be added to the mix. Fuel stabilizers guard against the breakdown of gasoline so that the engine can use older fuel when starting for the first time next winter. Generally, fuel stabilizer solutions should be added through the carburetor. The equipment should be turned on, allowing stabilizer to thoroughly mix with gasoline and travel through the equipment prior to storage.
2. Change the Oil Prior to Storage
In four-cycle engines, a complete oil change prior to storage can help to extend the life of the engine. It will also make the engine start a bit more easily after several months in the back corner of a garage or tool shed. As with almost all snowblowers, equipment owners should chose a 5W-30 oil recommended by the equipment manufacturer. Old oil should be full drained beforehand, and should be placed in a container approved for safe disposal of the old fluid.
3. Lubricate the Necessary Joints and Points
Most snowblowers have several joints and fittings that need to be lubricated at least twice a year, and the period leading up to storage is a great time to get this in. Use an approved, mild lubricant as recommended in the user guide and apply a thick coating to every bearing, piston, joint, and other hotspot of corrosion and wear. For a better understanding of exactly which parts of the snowblower should be lubricated to keep it in great shape until next winter, consult the equipment’s user guide and review the snowblower’s general maintenance requirements.
4. Give the Equipment a Thorough Cleaning
Snow is just water and, in an ideal world, that water wouldn’t dirty the snowblower between November and March. This is not an ideal world, however, and today’s snowblowers often come into contact with dirt, debris, and all kinds of other messes on walkways and around the yard. Before storage, give the equipment a thorough cleaning that takes into account the dirt on the surface and in interior areas, like the intake chute, auger area, and discharge chute. Make sure that all dirt and debris are removed, and look for any areas of corrosion. If rust has appeared over the winter, use approved paints to minimize the risk of even more corrosion while in storage.
When cleaning is complete, make sure that the snowblower is either manually dried or allowed to fully air dry prior to storage. This will reduce the risk of any corrosion or water damage that might go unresolved for months and lead to maintenance headaches during the next winter season.
5. Disconnect the Snowblower’s Spark Plug
By disconnecting the spark plug, snowblower operators will save themselves a series of headaches. First of all, disconnection means that the spark plug is far less likely to corrode or end up getting damaged over the summer. It also makes the spark plug far easier to inspect for damage or dirt when the snowblower is brought out of storage, and it guards against unwanted or accidental engine starts during the warmer months of the year.
6. Cover the Snowblower and Place it in a Safe Storage Area
The snowblower should be covered with a manufacturer-approved material and placed in an area that will keep it free from interaction with riding mowers, cars, or young children. Saving the equipment from dents, dings, and routine play will keep it in great shape until next year.
For All the Parts and Fluids Needed for Storage, Visit RalphHelmInc.com
Ralph Helm, Inc. has everything equipment owners need to keep their snowblower in great shape even as it sits in storage during the spring and summer. From lubricants and fuel stabilizers to the OEM parts and accessories needed to get the job done, equipment owners will find it here.