How to Store a Snowblower the Right Way

storing a snowblower for spring

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As much as you may depend on your snowblower for snow removal all winter, it is very tempting, when the snowy period recedes, to forget about your snowblower and divert your thoughts to all things spring. But it's important that you store a snowblower correctly. Snowblower neglect has its consequences. When winter makes its inevitable return and you once again rely on your snowblower, you may find that it doesn't start up. The explanation is often simple enough: You left the old gas sitting in the snowblower's fuel tank all spring, summer, and fall. Letting gas remain for long periods of time in any kind of gas engine is problematic. The old gas breaks down, and gunk builds up in your engine, which can foul the carburetor and fuel lines.

Making sure this doesn't happen is just one step in storing snowblowers that we'll lay out, but it may well be the most important one. Here's how to store a snowblower after winter.

Tip

Alternatively, you can avoid the issues common to a gas snowblower by buying an electric snowblower. Gas snowblowers are more powerful and easier to maneuver, but electric snowblowers are cleaner, and maintaining them is simpler.

What to Do Before Storing a Snowblower

Successful storage policy begins before you even store your snowblower away in spring.

During the snowblowing season, always add fuel stabilizer to the gas can you use to fill the tank of your snowblower. Stabilizer's function is to help keep your engine clean. It absorbs any moisture in the tank, keeping your engine running at its best all winter. It's also a bit of an insurance policy in case you forget to drain the fuel from your snowblower's tank before storing it away; but do try to remember, since you can still end up with gunk in your engine. Consult the owner's manual that came with your machine regarding a compatible stabilizer. If you can't find your manual, search for an online version.

Warning

There are steps you can take to ensure your safety when storing a snowblower.

  • Perform this maintenance outdoors (to avoid risk of carbon monoxide poisoning) and away from any open flame.
  • Select a spot that's flat, so you won't slip.
  • Always shut off the unit first before doing any work around the engine or the auger/impeller.
  • If the snowblower has been running for a long time and is hot, give it a half hour to cool off before touching it.
  • Wear work gloves, eye protection, and slip-resistant boots. Don't wear loose-fitting clothing that could become entangled in the moving parts of the machine.

Drain the Fuel From the Gas Tank

Draining the fuel from the gas tank is a two-step process. First, use a siphon to drain out the bulk of the fuel first. Have a gas can ready to receive the gas. You can then use this fuel in other devices.

Then, to ensure there's no fuel left in the tank after siphoning, start up the snowblower and let it run until the remaining gas burns out and the snowblower shuts off.

Perform Basic Maintenance

If your machine is retired for another season in good running order at storage time, you have a better chance of having it start up again once snowblowing season rolls around again. Check these three basic components: the spark plug, oil, and air filter.

You've already drained the gas out of its tank, so, after the snowblower cools off, it's now safe to inspect engine parts. In inspecting your spark plug, look first for any cracking in the porcelain. This spells doom: Buy a new spark plug. Another easy thing to check for is if it's wet, which means it has been flooded with fuel. If it's wet, remove the spark plug, wipe it off, and attempt to dry the spark plug hole. Re-insert the spark plug. There's one last thing to check on here that's a bit trickier: the gap. Ensure that the spark plug has the correct gap; adjust it if necessary.

Next, remove the air filter to inspect it. If it's dirty, replace it. And finally, drain the oil out of your oil tank (use a catch pan) and refill it according to the user manual.

Clean Your Snowblower

On a sunny day, and using a soft rag and a soap-water solution, wipe down the exterior of the machine. With another (dry) rag, dry it. Keep it out in the sun for the rest of the day so that it dries completely. This cleaning, however minimal, will help prevent salt from corroding your machine.

Move Your Snowblower Into Storage

Now your snowblower is ready to go into storage. A garage is ideal, since it's roomy enough that the unit won't be in the way. If you don't have a garage, the next best thing is a storage shed.

FAQ
  • Is it okay to store the snowblower outdoors?

    It's best to store it indoors, where it's out of the elements. But if you must store it outdoors, put blocks under it to keep it off the ground, and cover it with a heavy tarp.

  • How do I keep the snowblower clean while stored in the garage?

    There are snowblower covers designed for just this purpose. The better-made ones are washable and durable enough to resist tears.

  • What maintenance tasks are recommended for snowblowers?

    If you have a higher level of expertise with small engines, inspect components like belts and friction discs and replace them if necessary.