Give your snowblower a thorough tune-up to get it ready for winter. We show you how to do everything from replacing the fuel filter and spark plug to changing the oil and gas, checking the snowblower tires, lubricating key parts such as the auger shaft and auger control cable, greasing the axle, checking the skid shoes and adjusting the drive control.
Here’s our video that shows how to tune up your snowblower to get it ready for winter:
Here are more details about the maintenance steps shown in the video:
Tune Up Your Snowblower for Winter
Before you start the tune-up, park your snowblower on a level surface, remove the key and disconnect the spark plug wire.
Replace Old Gasoline
If you’ve got any gasoline left in the fuel tank from last year, drain it out.
Use extreme caution when handling gasoline. Work in a well-ventilated area free of open flames or sparks.
Once you finish all steps of the snowblower tune-up, fill the tank with fresh gasoline.
Filling your snowblower’s tank with fresh, clean fuel is a must. Old gas absorbs moisture when it sits for a time in the fuel tank or a gas can.
Unless you’ve used fuel stabilizer, gasoline will go bad in about 6 months.
Replace the Fuel Filter
Dirty gas can clog the fuel filter on your snowblower. Replace the fuel filter if it’s clogged. Most owner’s manuals recommend replacing the snowblower fuel filter at the start of every snow season.
Check the Fuel Line
While checking or replacing the fuel filter, examine the fuel line. Make sure there are no cracks in the fuel line and that it’s still flexible and soft.
Replace the fuel line if it’s cracked or broken.
Replace the Spark Plug(s)
Because snow blowers and snow throwers typically don’t have air filters, you’ll need to replace the spark plug (or spark plugs) at the beginning of every snow season.
Here’s a video that shows how to check the spark plug and how to install a new one when needed. Be sure to set the spark plug gap properly as shown in the video.
Change the Oil
Motor oil cools the engine parts and helps cool the cylinder in your snowblower’s engine. You’ll need to replace the engine oil at the beginning of the snow season. Our How to Change the Oil in a Snowblower Video shows you how to replace the oil in a common snowblower.
Lubricate the Auger Shaft and Bearings
You’ll need to lubricate the auger shaft and bearings to prevent the auger shaft from seizing up in the dead of winter.
Follow these steps to lubricate the auger shaft and bearings:
- Remove all the shear pins on the auger shaft.
- Spray a light coat of silicone lubricant on the shaft and around the augers, spacers and flange bearings.
- Inspect the shear pins for wear and damage. Replace any worn or damaged shear pins.
- Reinstall the shear pins and secure them with their cotter pins.
Maintain the Wheels and Tires
Drain the fuel tank (if it isn’t already empty) and carefully tilt the snowblower on its nose.
Follow these steps to get the snowblower tires and wheels ready for winter:
- Use a socket wrench to remove the first wheel. Clean and coat the axle with multi-purpose automotive grease to keep it from rusting up. Reinstall the wheel.
- Repeat the process on the other wheel.
- Use a pressure gauge to check air pressure in each tire. Inflate the tires to the specification provided on the tire sidewall.
Adjust the Skid Shoes
Once you have the tires properly inflated, inspect both of the skid shoes. The skid shoes protect the shave plate from damage.
The entire bottom surface of each skid shoe should be touching the ground. If not, then you’ll need to adjust or replace the skid shoes.
Follow the steps shown in this video to adjust the skid shoes:
If the skid shoes are worn down too far to adjust properly, replace them. Our How to Replace Snowblower Skid Shoes Video shows you how.
Clean and Lubricate the Controls
Wipe dust and dirt off of the auger control and drive control pivots. Spray both of those pivots with silicone lubricant.
Clean and lubricate the auger cable bracket at the bottom of the snowblower.
Lubricate the Drive Hex Shaft
Next, you’ll need to clean and lubricate the drive hex shaft. View our How to Lubricate the Drive Hex Shaft Video to see details on completing that maintenance task.
Check Snowblower Operation
Now that you’ve got the snowblower oiled, greased and put back together, it’s time to fill it up with fresh gas and make sure it’s working smoothly.
Take your snowblower outside and test out both control handles under normal operation. If either handle doesn’t work smoothly, you’ll need to adjust its cable.
- If the auger spins with the auger control disengaged, adjust the auger cable as shown in our How to Adjust a Snowblower Auger Control Video.
- If the snowblower creeps forward with the drive handle disengaged, watch our How to Adjust the Drive Control Video to learn how to adjust the drive control.
Lubricate the Auger Housing and Snow Chute Using SNOW-JET
To keep snow moving smoothly through the auger housing and snow chute, spray those areas with SNOW-JET non-stick polymer.
SNOW-JET eliminates snow buildup in the chute and auger housing so you don’t have to stop to clear snow from the snowblower, saving time and fuel. SNOW-JET also reduces friction, so snow blows further.
Stock Up On Snowblower Supplies
Avoid snow thrower downtime and keep your machine running efficiently all winter by stocking up on key parts and supplies.
In addition to the SNOW-JET described above, have plenty of these snowblower supplies on hand for winter:
- Shear pins – You never know when you’ll hit a rock or other obstruction and need to replace a shear pin.
- Fuel stabilizer – Adding fuel stabilizer to gasoline keeps fuel fresh and reduces carburetor deposits.
- Spark plugs – A fresh spark plug will keep the engine starting and running smoothly.
- Chute clean-out tool – Never stick your arm down the snow chute. Have an extra chute clean-out tool to help you remove snow stuck in the chute.
- Skid shoes – Having extra skid shoes will help you prevent unnecessary shave plate wear.
- Shave plate – Also called a scraper blade, the shave plate protects the housing and augers from excessive wear and damage.
- Tire chains – Attaching tire chains to snow thrower tires will improve traction in wet snow.
Schedule Professional Maintenance By a Sears Technician
Instead of doing snowblower maintenance yourself, you can have a Sears Technician perform Snow Blower Cleaning & Maintenance Service for you.
The technician will complete all of these tasks during snow blower maintenance service:
- Check the ignition system, carburetor, throttle, and choke controls.
- Clean engine cooling fins.
- Change the engine oil.
- Check the manual engine starter and electric starter if so equipped.
- Lubricate moving parts: pivot points, cables, auger shaft, and drive plate zerk.
- Lubricate, inspect, and adjust drive belts and/or chains as applicable.
- Test overall operation of the snow blower and ensure that all safety features are fully operational at the time of service.
Replacement parts, repair service, and labor for repairs are additional.
Having your snow blower professionally maintained will help avoid unexpected breakdowns during winter.
When your snowblower does need repairs, schedule a service call through Sears Home Services and a Sears Tech will visit your home and get your snowblower running again in no time.