How to Prepare a Snow Blower for Storage in the Off Season

Some of the steps differ between single-stage and two-stage units.  We'll be sure to point out any differences as we go along.  Also, depending on your model, the instructions below might vary slightly.

  • Step 1: Whether you have a single- or two-stage unit, it's best to prepare for this project by reading the "Off-Season Storage" section of your owner's manual.
  • Step 2: To begin, check the unit's maintenance items to see if they need replacing.  These items can be found in your operator's manual in the "Maintenance & Adjustments" section and the "Service" section.  Grab a piece of paper to create a list of replacement parts you might need.

Two-Stage Units

  • Step 3: Check the shave plate and skid shoes for wear.  The shave plate and skid shoes are installed to protect the housing from damage, so don't wait until the the wear is so great that the housing is no longer protected.  This could lead to a major repair.
  • Step 4: Drain any fuel left in the tank using the siphon pump.  With the help of an additional person, carefully pivot the snow blower up and forward so it rests on the auger housing.
  • Step 5: Remove the lower frame cover from the underside of the unit.  Check the gear shaft and apply a light coating of oil to the hex shaft.  Be careful not to get any oil on the aluminum drive plate or the rubber friction disc.  Check the rubber friction disc for wear or cracking.
  • Step 6: Put the lower frame cover back in place.  With the help of an additional person, carefully pivot the snow blower back and down so it rests on the wheels and skid shoes.
  • Step 7: Remove the belt cover on the front of the engine and inspect the belt(s) for wear, cracks and fraying.  If your belts are worn, you will need to replace them.  Worn belts can break at very inconvenient moments, so make sure you replace your belt as soon as you see signs of wear.  Put the plastic belt cover back in place.

Single Stage Units

  • Step 3: Carefully tilt the snow blower back so it rests on the handle.
  • Step 4: Check the shave plate for wear.  Many shave plates have two wearing edges and can be reversed if needed.
  • Step 5: Check the auger's rubber paddles for damage and wear.  They should be replaced if any excessive wear is present.  Do not allow the rubber paddles to wear to the point that the metal portion of the auger itself can come in contact with the pavement.
  • Step 6: Remove the belt cover on the side of the snow blower.  Check the belt for wear, cracks, fraying, etc.
  • Step 7: If any of the items we just mentioned need replacing, now is a good time to order them.  That way you have plenty of time to install them before next winter.

Both Units

  • Step 8: If your unit has a 4-cycle engine, the next step is to change the engine's oil.  Be sure to dispose of the drained oil in an environmentally friendly manner.  Drain the oil by using a plastic drain sleeve that may have come with your unit, or a siphon pump which can be purchased where snow blower parts are sold.
  • Step 9: Next, remove the spark plug.
  • Step 10: Inspect the spark plug before reinstalling it.  Clean it with a wire brush if necessary.  If you are unsure if the spark plug is good or not, it is recommended that you replace the spark plug.  Reinstall the spark plug and reconnect the spark plug ignition wire.
  • Step 11: Clean debris from around the engine and muffler.  Apply a light film of oil on any areas that are susceptible to rust.  Wipe away any dried salt that may accumulate over winter to help prevent your unit from rusting.
  • Step 12: Finally, you should add fuel stabilizer to your fuel.  Then, fill your unit's tank.  This is better than storing it empty.  That's because an empty fuel system exposes any bare metal parts within it to air and moisture - which leads to rust and also allows gaskets and O-rings to dry out, crack and shrink, causing eventual problems.  In addition, to completely drain fuel from an engine is difficult.  Unless you blow out and dry the fuel lines, enough fuel can remain to become stale and cause problems.  Keep the engine level while in storage.  Tilting can cause fuel or oil leak.  If you plan on covering the snow blower, make sure air can get under the cover.  Don't try to "seal it up."