By: Author John Cunningham. Published: 2021/06/14 at 11:50 am
Storing a snowblower outside isn’t ideal, but I understand snowblowers are bulky and may not fit in a standard garage with the car. I’m a mechanic, and in my experience, equipment stored outdoors costs more to maintain and doesn’t last as long. But there are some simple steps you can take to protect your snowblower.
To successfully store a snowblower outside, a gas stabilizer must be used to treat the fuel system, and a breathable waterproof cover must be installed.
In this post, you’ll learn a few mechanics tips for successful outdoor storage of your snowblower or any garden machinery.
Outdoor Storage Preparation
Depending on the climate in your area, your snowblower could be in for a rough time. Hail the size of tennis balls, driving rain, wind, snow and Ice, scorching sun… it’s a big ask, but properly prepped, your snowblower is up to the challenge.
Here’s a guide to the areas that will need attention:
Add Gas Stabilizer
Modern gas is blended, and that is where many of the no-start issues stem from. Blended gas, also known as ethanol, goes stale quickly in open-to-atmosphere-type fuel systems (all small engine machinery). Ethanol attracts moisture and is an open system; your snowblower allows moisture in and the gas to evaporate.
This often results in gumming and corrosion inside the carburetor. In addition to this time bomb, ethanol is damaging to the rubber and plastic components of the fuel system.
These problems can be prevented; the solution for both these issues is called a gas stabilizer. It’s an additive for the fuel. When mixed and added to the gas tank, it will protect from carb contamination and the corrosive effects of ethanol.
Ideally, a snowblower should be serviced at least once a year and at the beginning of the new season. Many owners prefer to tune up at the end of the season in readiness for the snow, and that makes great sense. Preparing a snowblower engine for long-term storage is easy. The air filter should be removed and cleaned (if fitted), and the oil level should be checked.
In order to prevent internal engine corrosion, we’ll need to place the engine at top dead center (TDC). It sounds complicated; it’s not.
As you know, the valves open and close to allow gas in and exhaust gases out. When the engine comes to rest after shutting down, it’s common for a valve to remain open.
This isn’t an issue in the short term, but over the longer term (and especially as we’re storing outside), moisture can enter the cylinder through the open valve.
This rarely causes a major issue; however, on occasion, enough corrosion will form to cause the valve to stick open. This, as mentioned earlier, causes a no-start. To prevent this, we’ll add some oil to help prevent cylinder corrosion, and we’ll place the engine at TDC. At TDC, both valves are closed.
Follow the steps below:
Remove – Remove the spark plug
Add – Add a capful of engine oil to the cylinder
Plastic – Place a nonmetallic blunt object inside the cylinder (pen or pencil)
Crank – Turn over the engine by hand until the pencil is pushed to the top of the cylinder (valves are now closed)
Fit – Refit the spark plug
Choke “On” – Apply choke; this helps prevent moisture enters through the open carburetor intake.
Use Breathable Cover
A good quality cover not only keeps the rain, sun, and debris from damaging your snowblower but also allows the snowblower to breathe, and that’s important.
Trapped moisture under the cover will damage the machine. It will cause the paint to flake, fasteners to corrode, and electrical components, such as the armature, to fail prematurely.
A plastic sheet won’t help your machine, it traps moisture, and that’s almost as bad as the machine sitting in the rain. A good breathable cover will allow trapped moisture to escape through the material. In addition to a cover, try and park the snowblower under some shelter. Check out the cover I recommend here on “The snowblower tools page” or check out the Amazon link below.Amazon Snowblower Covers
Prepare The Body
At the end of the season, wash the machine thoroughly and allow it to dry. When fully dry, apply a coat of Dupont Teflon coating or WD40. The coating helps guard against moisture and prevents dust and dirt from sticking to the body and components. Spray the machine from top to bottom, but avoid the belts.
WD40 helps repel moisture
Remove The Battery
If your snowblower is battery start then the battery will need special attention. Batteries hate the cold, you know that, but they also hate lying idle; that’s a battery killer. To keep the battery in top condition, it will need to be removed and stored where it can be connected to a smart charger.
The smart charger will charge the battery only when it needs a boost; they are low-energy consumers and don’t cost a ton to buy. They will pay for themselves after one season. Smart chargers may be used on all 12-volt batteries, cars, trucks, RVs, ATVs, Dirt bikes, boats, the lawnmower.
Check out the smart charger I recommend here on the “Snowblowers tools page.”
If you’re considering buying a used snowblower, check out “Used snowblower buyers guide.”
Mice eat wiring insulation, and as your machine is out in the elements, it will be at risk. Bate placed around the machine will at least help prevent them from moving in and making a feast of your looms.
- About the Author
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer at Lawnmowerfixed.com.
He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and shares his know-how and hands-on experience in our DIY repair guides.
Johns’s fluff-free How-to guides help homeowners fix lawnmowers, tractor mowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, power washers, generators, snow blowers, and more.