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How to Store a Snowblower

How to Store your Snowblower properly. Prevent damage during summer season.

Storing a snowblower properly is vital to ensuring it fires up when the snow eventually returns. When the first storm of the season dumps eight inches of snow on your driveway, you don’t want to be messing around in the garage when your snowblower won’t start.

fuel stabilizer is key for storing the damn snowblower

Time needed: 30 minutes.

Step-by-step: How to store a snowblower

  1. Stabilize the gas

    This is the most critical step to ensuring the snowblower starts right away in the winter.

    Gasoline begins to break down in as few as 30 days. Varnish and gums begin to form, which clog the tiny fuel passages in the carburetor. I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t take much to clog a snowblower carburetor and prevent it from starting.

    AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer keeps fuel fresh up to 12 months. As the image shows, it also does a great job fighting corrosion to keep metal fuel tanks and other components clean and working properly. After adding stabilizer, run the engine for a minute or two to distribute treated gas throughout the fuel system.

    Seafoam sucks

  2. Change the oil

    Running the engine to distribute gas stabilizer has the added benefit of warming the oil so it flows more easily.

    Changing oil before you store your snowblower removes acids and other combustion by-products so they’re not sitting in the engine throughout the summer. Plus, the engine will be ready with fresh oil come winter.

    Don’t cheap out on oil – you likely spent upward of $1,000 on your snowblower, so you want it to last. Plus, small engines are tougher on oil than most people think. They’re air-cooled, meaning they run hotter than automotive engines, typically don’t include an oil filter, further stressing the oil, and are often neglected.

    AMSOIL Synthetic Small-Engine Oil is a commercial-grade formulation that fights wear and deposits in the toughest conditions. It also flows readily in the cold for maximum start-up protection.

  3. Fog the engine

    Simply remove the spark plug and apply fogging oil. It coats the cylinder wall and piston with oil to help prevent corrosion from forming during the summer. If corrosion forms, it flakes off into the oil and scours the bearings and other components, causing wear.

  4. Check the gear lube

    Remove the gearbox fill bolt and ensure the housing contains sufficient oil. Check your owner’s manual for the proper lubricant.

  5. Inspect the belts

    Now’s the time to check drive belts for cracks or abrasions. Replace them if needed.

    Otherwise, I promise you they’ll break at the worst time, like at 5:30 a.m. on a cold November morning after a wet, heavy snowfall. Be proactive and save yourself a ton of grief down the road.

  6. Check the linkages, auger housing and other areas

    Before you store a snowblower, look it over from top to bottom. Check for damaged parts and linkages. Lubricate pivot points with a spray protectant, like AMSOIL MPSpray the auger housing to guard against rust formation over the summer.

    Don’t overlook this step. While examining my snowblower last year, I realized three of the four bolts that hold the auger housing and chute (sometimes called the “bucket”) to the chassis had sheared. One bolt was literally holding the snowblower together.

    The following Thanksgiving weekend, two feet of snow blanketed Duluth, Minn. I spent eight hours moving snow. Imagine if I hadn’t repaired the snowblower the prior spring and that last bolt had given out halfway down my driveway?

    Again, be proactive now to avoid a ton of problems later.

  7. Store the snowblower inside

    Finally, park your snowblower in the back of the garage or in a shed for the summer to protect it against rain. If you have no choice but to store it outside, cover it securely. I bought a nice cover at Kmart a few years ago and it still does the job.

    Following these steps will help ensure your snowblower is ready to go the next winter.

Steps To Maintain Your Snowblower – Things to Know

Never Overlook This When Maintaining Your Snowblower

Thanksgiving day, 2016. While my family was gathered in my dining room, imbibing spirits and making merry, I was in the shed disassembling the carburetor on my snowblower, reeking of petroleum as rivers of gasoline flowed under my jacket cuffs and saturated me to the elbows.

Here’s what happened, and here’s how to avoid it.

Snowblower maintenance can be distilled to this Golden Rule: Maintain your fuel system.

I’ll say it again: Maintain your fuel system.

A snowblower that won’t start is almost always due to a fuel problem. And nothing raises your blood pressure like a dead snowblower following the season’s first snowstorm. You know it! We always wait to the last minute on that first snow.

Preventing fuel-system problems starts in the spring prior to storage.

Leave the carburetor full of gas

This is where everything unraveled for me. One theory says that shutting off the fuel line and running the engine until the carburetor empties helps prevent varnish that plugs the jets and prevents starting.

Wrong, at least in my case. As I discovered, leaving the carburetor empty and exposed to air hastens oxidation and varnish. Fluctuating temperatures and humidity throughout the summer invite varnish, and it doesn’t take much to plug the tiny orifices in a carburetor. Then, it’s just a matter of time before you’re stinking of gasoline on Thanksgiving day while blasting carb cleaner on everything within reach.

Instead, add fuel stabilizer at the end of the season, run the engine for a few minutes to distribute the treated gas throughout the system, then shut down the engine. Now you can shut off the fuel line for the summer. The treated fuel in the carburetor bowl provides protection and helps keep components clean.

Some people claim you should run the carburetor empty since the gas will evaporate anyway. That may be true, but evaporation takes time, and the carburetor will at least be protected in the interim.

Stabilize the gas

As mentioned, treat gas with stabilizer prior to storage. Stabilized fuel protects against oxidation and varnish throughout the summer.

Use ethanol-free gas

When water infiltrates your gas tank in the form of melted snow, it can cause phase separation, a phenomenon that occurs when the bond between ethanol (present in most gasoline sold today) and gasoline breaks. When this ethanol/water mixture enters the combustion chamber, it creates a lean-burn situation that can damage your engine.

For best performance, use 91-octane, non-oxygenated (ethanol-free) gas. Many gas stations offer non-oxygenated gas and advertise it for powersports and off-road use. It’s a little more expensive, but spending a few extra dollars a winter to help your $1,000 dollar machine run strong isn’t a factor, in my opinion. At the very least, use ethanol-free gas during storage to help ward off phase separation.

Perhaps test your gas to see if it is really and truly ethanol free. I know many who say “I never use ethanol” and after testing the source gasoline it turned out to be laced with ethanol! Put your gas in a glass jar and see if you see it separate over time. Sometime you need to shake it up.

(Find out how to fight ethanol problems in small engines.)

If you use ethanol-blended gas, consider continuous use of a fuel additive, such as AMSOIL Quickshot, formulated to address ethanol-related performance issues.

Change The Oil in the Spring

Used oil contains acids that can slowly corrode metal components. Prior to storage, change the oil to remove acidic byproducts and ensure maximum protection throughout the summer. After changing oil, I like to run the engine for a couple minutes to distribute oil throughout the lower end of the engine.

Fog the engine

Use fogging oil to protect the upper end (cylinder, piston, valves) from corrosion during storage. Remove the spark plug, which provides the perfect time to inspect its condition, and spray a little oil into the cylinder. Slowly pull the starter cord a few times to distribute the oil, then replace the plug.

Check the gear housing – It can fail!

Clean any debris from around the filler port on the auger gear housing, remove the plug and ensure the gear lube level is up to the top. If not, add the correct lubricant (check your owner’s manual for viscosity).

Inspect belt condition and linkages

Stressing a worn belt after it’s sat idle for months is a recipe for a breakdown. When a belt does break, it’s often while clearing the first big snowfall of the year. Spring is the prime time to check the condition of drive belts and linkages. It’s much easier and far more comfortable to crawl around your snowblower on a mild, spring day than in the winter.

One final word of advice: Keep an eye on the weather at the start of winter. When the forecast calls for the first snowstorm of the season, start your snowblower a few days early to ensure it’s ready to go.

That gives you plenty of time if your snowblower won’t start – like about two hours on Thanksgiving day – to fix any problems.

New Life for Tired Snowblower

Bypass the Snowblower Follies

I bought this snowblower two and a half years ago under the assumption that it was on it’s last leg. The guy I bought it from had no clue about maintenance and thought he was ditching a lost cause. Thanks to AMSOIL I was able to halt the damage and solve a couple potential problems.

Snowblower life extended thanks to AMSOIL

Sludge and Deposits Are Common But They Don’t Have To Be

I watch my neighbors struggling to get their snow-blowers started – Mine is no longer a chore to get it going and before it had awful oil consumption. The owner likely just topped it off with oil although it’s one of the easiest pieces of equipment I’ve ever had to change oil on.

It was so black and thick I doubt it was drained in years. I drained it (totally black) replacing it with AMSOIL Formula 4-Stroke Commercial grade small engine oil 10W-30 synthetic (ASE), ran the Quickshot through the tank a couple times (had ethanol in it no doubt), used stabilizer over the summer and cleaned the intake w/ Powerfoam. – Now it starts on the first pull all the time. Started no problem at Zero deg. F yesterday and the oil level is still on the money. (Three oil changes now). Very likely deposits had formed in the rings. The Powerform and good detergent/despersant oil had the ability to increase the compression and reduce consumption.

AMSOIL is key to ensuring long lasting small engines
Stop in to the Sioux Falls store and protect your equipment today!! Cheaper motor oils and ignoring fuel maintenance reduced dependability greatly on these small engines.

Ask about the Powerfoam for all your small engines and carbureted motors. Even if you use 10% ethanol you need to use quickshot. A little goes a LONG way and solved severe fuel problems. Avoid repairs and downtime.

Formula 4-Stroke Synthetic Small Engine Oil Quickshot®