Don't Let Your Snow Blower Fail You This Winter

By Mark J. Donovan

July 1, 2013 3 min read

Last night we got our first snowfall of the season. It was actually quite nice to walk out of the house early this morning while it was still dark and look up at the spotlight to see the snowflakes still gently floating down. With Christmas a little over a week away, it's nice to see a little snow on the ground. Though we only received about 1 inch of snow, it was enough for me to pull out the snow blower and fire it up. As usual, my snow blower didn't fail me. It started right up, and I was able to snow blow the driveway in about 15 minutes.

Having my snow blower ready for the first snowfall of the year wasn't always on the top of my home maintenance priorities list -- or for any priorities list for that matter. There were always places to go and people to see. So I procrastinated in getting the snow blower prepared for the season, and usually I paid the price when I needed to fire up the snow blower for the first snowstorm of the year. Half the time the spark plug was fouled, the gas was stale or I had a broken shear bolt. Inevitably I found myself having to do a quick repair to the snow blower in the wee hours of the morning after the first fresh snow.

I've gotten a bit older and wiser as the years have passed on. As a result, I am now more prepared for old man winter. In late fall I put away the lawn mowers for the season and pull out the snow blower and give it a mini tune-up. I clean or change the snow blower's spark plug, I put in fresh gas (I now always drain the gas tank at the end of the winter season), clean the air filter, change the oil, and check the shear bolts. I also check for any loose nuts and/or cables and tighten them up as needed. I then fire up the snow blower and make sure it is running smoothly. After letting it run for a few minutes I shut it down and tuck it away in the garage where I have easy access to it. And when the first snow hits, I'm there and ready to compete with Mother Nature.

Do yourself a favor this year and follow my lead with a little snow blower maintenance. Before the next snowfall hits your area of the country, take an hour and give your snow blower a little TLC. You'll be thankful for it on that first snowy morning.

Mark J. Donovan's website is

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