We've already had one pretty good snowstorm in Berkshire County and it won't even officially be winter until December 21st! So, this is the time to get your snowblower ready for what Mother Nature will be sending our way, that is... if you haven't already done so. Let's face it, it's never too early... but it can get to be too late!

Believe it or not, I've been using the same 9 horsepower Craftsman snowblower for the past 20 years! And it's no coincidence that I've kept it going and working reliably for all these years. The key is maintenance. You simply have to treat it like your baby, and it will last a long, long time.

Have it serviced at least every couple of seasons...

I will tell you that the very best thing that you can do for your snowblower is to have it serviced by a professional at least once every couple of years. It may not seem like rocket science, but it's the little things that will make the difference. For a nominal fee, these folks will give your machine the once over that it needs to keep it going through the harshest of winters.

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You should do these things every season...

Here is a list of the things you do each season (especially on the years you don't have it serviced) to keep your snowblower running efficiently:

Check the oil regularly:

  • Keeping the oil in your snowblower clean is essential. You should check it before each use. Fill it if it's low and when it gets dirty, you really should change it. If this is something you don't know how to do yourself, you'll want to mention it when you drop it off for its next service appointment.

Check the tire pressure:

  • You will want to make sure your machine's tire pressure is at the appropriate level. You will find that it will move along more smoothly and the shave plate will sit at just the right height. Most are adjustable for any slight repositioning.

Check the shear pins: 

  • Throwing a shear pin sucks. There is no other way to say it. When you're digging out, the last thing you want is to lose one of those little suckers, especially if you don't have a replacement. And you don't want to try running it down a pin. It's also a good idea to make sure the auger is properly turning at the start of each season too.

Change the spark plug:

  • You should change the spark plug too on occasion. You can change it when it no longer sparks, but if you don't have one on hand when that happens, you will have to go buy another one. And that will put a real damper on your snow removal efforts.

Check the chute:

  • You should check the chute before each use to make sure nothing is clogging up the works. You could find anything from frozen snow or ice in there... to leaves that you neglected to rake up in the fall. Yikes!

Drain that tank:

You should also drain your gas tank at the end of the season so that old gas from the previous season won't gunk up the works. Here's a great tip... use a turkey baster to suck out the remaining gas when the snow is no longer falling. It works! You might get some funny looks when your neighbor or buddy sees it hanging in your garage, but it's worth it. Besides, you can probably make up a pretty funny story about why it's there!

There is certainly more that you can do. I don't know everything, but those are some of the basics.

Happy blowing! Oh, make sure to keep a shovel handy. You never know!

 

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