Snowblowers don’t need a ton of love, but they need a little. You are off to a great start, storing a blower in your garage is the best thing you can do, you would be surprised how many live outdoors year-round.
To successfully store a snowblower in a garage, follow these four steps:
- Add gas stabilizer
- Wash and dry machine
- Spray with Teflon coating
- Oil cylinder and close valves
In this post, you’ll learn the correct way to store a snowblower, including a mechanics top tip for trouble-free winter performance.
In Door Snowblower Storage
Storage indoors extends the life of a machine, I work on lots of different machines and I can always tell a machine that lives indoors. The outdoor kit isn’t pleasant to work on, there’s always an extra layer of work when working on the outdoor blower. Rusted bolts, seized components, the fun never stops.
You have the right idea, park all your kit indoors, it will save a ton on maintenance, machines that live indoors are more reliable and will live longer. In addition, consider purchasing a breathable cover, breathable is important as moisture trapped on the blower needs to escape
Consider also parking your blower on a large rubber mat, the benefits are twofold, keeps the garage floor clean and dry during the on-season and helps prevent flat spotting of the tires during the off-season.
Check out snowblower covers here on the “Small engine tools page” and check out the Amazon link below for snowblower floor mats.Amazon Snowblower Floor Mat
1 Add Gas Stabilizer To Snowblower
My number one tip for trouble-free winter performance is to use a Gas stabilizer in your snowblower fuel system. Ethanol, also known as blended fuel, isn’t suitable for small engines. Snowblowers, unlike cars, are open to atmosphere fuel systems.
That means air can enter the gas tank and vapors can leave. Where ethanol is concerned that’s a problem. Ethanol attracts moisture and that moisture collects in the carburetor bowl, often resulting in corrosion.
And that’s not all, the alcohol content evaporates often leaving a gum deposit inside the carburetor, blocking sensitive jets and passages. And yet more bad news, ethanol is harmful to rubber and plastic components of the fuel system too. It prematurely breaks them down.
Now the good news, using a gas stabilizer will neutralize all the negative effects of blended gas for up to two years. You are welcome! You can check out the stabilizer I recommend here on the “Snowblower maintenance tools page”.
How To Use Gas Stabilizer
I use a brand called Sta-Bil gas stabilizer, they recommend mixing a half-ounce (tablespoon) of stabilizer with one gallon of gas. I empty the measure into a gallon of fresh gas and shake it to mix.
I add the mixed gas to the gas tank when low on fuel. Then I run the engine for a few minutes to ensure the mixture makes its way to the carburetor.
Preventive maintenance doesn’t get any easier than that. The fuel system is now protected from gumming and stale gas for up to two years. It’s all covered here in “Adding gas stabilizer video”.
2 Wash & Dry Snowblower
Power washing the blower body thoroughly at the end of the season is important, otherwise salt and grit may attract the bodywork while in storage. Rusted out fasteners are common especially at the bottom end of the body where salt, grit, and moisture collect.
Tip for future maintenance – Use anti-seize on any bolts you remove during maintenance, you’ll be glad you did in years to come, cutting out bolts isn’t fun. The wheels in particular like to rust to the shaft, if your blower is still young, go ahead and remove them and add a little grease.
I like to use Fluid Film on the metalwork around the bin and under the belly pan, which helps slow down the effects of rust.
You can find the Fluid film I recommend here on the “Snowblower maintenance tools page”.
Alternatively, spray the body with WD40.
3 Teflon Coat Chute
I like to coat inside the chute, auger, blower, and inside the bin to help reduce sticking snow. It works for a time and then needs recoating. I also like to coat the engine with Dupont Teflon coating, which helps keep moisture out during the storage season.
I spray WD40 into the cable outers, I spray at the top of the cable and let gravity help drive out any trapped moisture, which also prevents stacking cables.
4 Oil Cylinder & Close Valves
A sticking valve isn’t uncommon after the storage season. The symptom is a very fast crank and a no start. It’s a pretty easy problem to solve but it does require removing the valve cover. The open valve allows moisture to enter, sometimes causing particulates of corrosion to form on the valve stem resulting in a sticking valve. In addition, corrosion can also form on the cylinder bore itself.
You can avoid this potential problem by lubing the cylinder and setting the engine so as to close the valves prior to storage.
It’s not a difficult or time-consuming task, it goes like this:
Remove – Remove the spark plug
Add – Add a cap full of engine oil to the engine – (prevents corrosion on bore)
Place – Place and hold a blunt object (pencil) into the cylinder against the piston crown.
Rotate – Rotate the engine clockwise by hand slowly.
When the pencil is furthest from the cylinder the valves are closed.
Refit – Replace spark plug.
Snowblower Battery Care
I know not all snowblowers have a battery, some pull cords, and others use house mains power to boost start the motor. But those blowers that have a battery fitted will need some extra love. A battery maintainer also known as a smart charger is a great investment. Batteries hate being idle, and when they discharge completely they often can’t be saved.
The solution is the smart charger, it remains connected to the battery in the off-season and on if desired. The charger senses the battery’s state of health and only offers charge when needed. They are safe to leave plugged in and use very little power. Check out the smart charger I recommend here on the “Snowblower maintenance tools page”.
Our furry friends love to live inside machinery, some great hiding places with a snack too. Mice in particular love wiring insulation. There isn’t a ton of wiring on a snowblower but the wiring is mission-critical to starting the machine. The belly pan (between wheels) is the favored hiding hole, add some bait pellets around the machine over the summer months.
Maintenance & Tune-up
Consider performing a tune-up before storage, doing it now is better than freezing your knacks off at the start of the snow season. A tune-up isn’t difficult and won’t take but a couple of hours, max.
Here’s what a typical tune-up might look like:
- Clean air filter (if fitted)
- Change gas filter (if fitted)
- Clean drive plate
Don’t forget to use a gas stabilizer, it will save you money.