Winter is here. And here in Wisconsin, that means one thing – snow, snow and more snow. If you ask any Wisconsin family, they’ll tell you that snow removal is one of the biggest headaches of the season (and we know our neighbors in the upper Midwest, those in the mountains and even our friends in New England know what we’re talking about!)
Luckily, with a well-tuned snow blower, snow removal can be less of a hassle, leaving more time for the winter activities we all love, like making snowmen with the kids, skiing or a good old-fashioned snowball fight.
Use Cold Weather Oil for Snow Blowers
Like any outdoor power equipment, using the proper small engine oil is essential to the snow blower maintenance. Specialized low temperature oil can help ensure optimal performance in chilly weather as most are designed to work best in temperatures under 50° F. The oil I use when checking and changing the oil on my snowthrower in the fall is Briggs & Stratton Full Synthetic 5W-30 Small Engine Oil, which provides the best protection between between -20 to 120° F. When you change your oil, follow the instructions in your manual for the correct process and quantity. For more information on the correct oil change procedure, check out the following FAQ: Checking & Changing Oil.
Add Fuel Treatment to Your Snow Engine
When performing snow blower maintenance, another important consideration is using fuel treatment. Fuel stabilizer helps protect your snow blower engine, preventing against the build-up of gums or varnishes that could clog fuel lines and damage the engine. It also keeps the gasoline fresh, ensuring easy starts and combustion. I find the most convenient time to add fuel stabilizer is by putting it in my gas can before filling it up at the service station. That way I can be sure I am pouring treated fuel regardless if I’m filling up my mower in September or my snow thrower a month later. Adding stabilizer to old fuel doesn’t ‘reset the clock’, so make sure you add it soon after you purchase the gas.
Swap Out New Snow Blower Parts during Tune-up
Keeping the engine of your snow blower properly tuned up can not only optimize performance, but can lengthen the life of your machinery. Stock up on snow blower parts, like spark plugs, air vents and fuel treatment from your local Briggs & Stratton store or dealer before the first snowstorm hits and you’ll be ready to clear the driveway when the time comes.
What if your snow blower clogs during use?
To safely clear a clogged discharge chute, follow these instructions:
- Shut OFF the engine.
- Wait 10 seconds and visually check to be sure the impeller blades have stopped rotating.
- Always use a clean-out tool, not your hands.
And don’t forget to bundle up, it’s getting cold out there!