Storing a snowblower might seem straightforward, but when it comes to storing any type of gas engine, ask multiple people and you'll get multiple answers. We're here to help make sure you safely protect your investment so it reliably starts year after year.
For most of us, spring starts when we store the snow thrower and pull out the lawn mower, and that rarely follows the calendar. Still, improperly storing your blower can mean a headache when next season snows without warning, and with a vengeance.
Follow the simple maintenance steps below to save hundreds in costly repairs and ensure your snowblower will last for years.
Every time you refill your gas cans with fresh gasoline, the first step is to add fuel stabilizer to the can before filling it up.
Stabilizing the gas in a can should be done before filling up your snowblower to ensure that your engine will continually run clean and start reliably during the winter and after off-season storage.
Fuel stabilizer prevents your gas from breaking down and turning into a soupy, varnish-like gunk that can clog your tank, injectors, fuel lines and more. This happens because the ethanol in gas is hygroscopic and absorbs water, and oxidizes when it reacts to the oxygen inside the tank—which can damage internal components.
Fuel stabilizer absorbs moisture in the tank before gasoline has a chance to, allowing it to stay fresh much longer between uses. It's an extra level of assurance, so if you forgot to drain the fuel from the tank before storage, the chances of damaging your snowblower or having gunk in your tank are less likely.
At the end of the snow blowing season, you never want to keep fuel in your snow blower, even if the gas is stabilized; always drain the tank. You can use a siphon or chemical pump to quickly remove the remaining fresh fuel and store it in an appropriate gas can.
Storing fuel long-term in any type of gas engine is not recommended because of the issues caused by old gas corroding and gunk building up inside your tank. It is extremely challenging to clean a carburetor or replace fuel lines that have cracked or gunked up because fuel was left in the lines/tank.
To avoid this hassle and be sure there's no fuel left in the system, simply run the snowblower until the remaining gas burns out.
Remove your spark plug, pour a drop of oil into the combustion chamber, and pull the cord a few times to lubricate the cylinder wall and piston.
Replace the spark plug and continue pulling until resistance is felt in the cord. This means the piston has sealed the chamber to prevent moisture from the air from getting into the chamber and causing off-season corrosion.
When it's time to conduct pre-season routine maintenance, we recommend replacing the spark plug or at least removing, inspecting, and cleaning it before the first use of the season. You can get a maintenance kit that includes almost everything you need in one package.
An often overlooked step, rough conditions can leave salt stains covering your snowblower, which can cause corrosion to the metal components if left untreated in off-season storage. Take a warm, wet cloth and wipe down the snowblower, removing salt and other types of stains.
Once it dries, spray the exposed metal parts with a rust preventative or engine storage spray to protect them from rust and corrosion.
After all the preparation you've already done, don't risk leaving such a nice machine exposed to collect dust or dirt in the engine.
Snowblower covers are not expensive, but they'll preserve the life of your snow thrower and keep it looking like new by saving your paint job from scratches. Unlike plastic tarps or garbage bags, covers are meant to breathe, which prevents "sweating" and moisture build-up from humidity throughout the year.
If you want to protect your garage floor too, consider using a snowblower garage mat to make your blower look showroom-ready.
In the winter, nothing beats keeping your snowblower covered and on a mat in the garage for dry, easy access. No one wants to shovel a path to the shed just to dig out a snowblower that is harder to start because it's been sitting in the cold.
However, in the spring, that space is quickly replaced with lawn equipment, and keeping it in the garage may no longer be possible. The next best option is to move your blower into your shed—just remember to keep it covered up like you would in the garage.
Leaving your snowblower outside and exposed to the elements is not a good solution, even if it's properly covered. If you ever had to, make sure it is covered and safely off the ground to prevent water damage from melting snow or rain.
Snowblower storage sheds are becoming popular alternatives for homeowners that have limited garage space and don't' have a storage shed. You can build one yourself or buy one that simply needs to be assembled. Either way, having a roof above your snowblower will help protect it from the elements between uses or while in storage.
Now go enjoy your summer knowing that the 10 minutes you spent preparing your snow blower will prevent hours of frustration and unwanted shoveling when the snow falls again next season. Just remember to check your owner's manual for additional product-specific instructions from the manufacturer.