Tips on How To Use A Snowblower
Most people are a little intimidated when it is time to first wheel out their brand new snowblower. The excitement of having a new toy and the happiness of avoiding back-breaking shoveling are tempered by the fact that a snowblower is a serious and expensive piece of machinery.
Here are some quick tips that will help to ensure that you can operate your new snowblower with confidence, and that you will enjoy years of effective use without the need for repairs or serious maintenance.
Always Perform a Check Before Operating
Always check all the following elements before you operate your snowblower:
- Ensure the tank is filled with fresh fuel and the oil is at the appropriate level.
- Ensure that the skid shoes, scraper blade and shear pins are installed if you use a two-stage snowblower.
- Clear all objects from your sidewalks and driveway.
- Wear appropriate clothing that will not get stuck in the machine. Always wear eye protection, gloves and some bright clothing.
- Ensure you understand how to operate the controls. Re-read the manual if you are unsure or require a refresher.
Just like mowing a lawn, you want to start with a plan of attack so you do not end up wasting time and effort. Decide where you want the snow to be piled before you begin. Never blow snow toward people or property, as there may still be small rocks or debris that can cause injury or damage. Avoid blowing snow into the street, as it can be dangerous to cars and street cleaners will just push it back into your driveway.
Start In a Ventilated Area
Always ensure that the drive clutch and auger are engaged before starting. Start the snowblower outside or with the garage door open, so that you are not affected by the substantial exhaust. Most snowblowers now have an electric starter that uses an extension cord.
Use Both Hands
Try to keep both hands on your machine as much as possible once it is running. Having both hands on the machine means you have the most control and the easiest access to any of the buttons or switches on the control panel. Most modern snowblowers will allow you to turn the chute with one hand while still maintaining control of the machine with the other.
Slow and Steady
Set a steady pace for yourself that is based on the conditions of the snow, and take easy, slow turns. Turning single-stage snowblowers is very simple, as it is basically like pushing a lawn-mower. Do not forget to rotate your chute when needed. Turning two-stage snowblowers can be more difficult, which is why most modern machines have a power-steering option. Power-steering allows you to slow or stop a single wheel while turning, which greatly adds to maneuverability.
Always wipe your snowblower down before putting it away. This will prevent you from needing to deal with a mess in your garage and help to preserve the lifespan of your snowblower. When the engine is shut off, use the provided tool to remove the snow from the discharge chute and auger housing. Wipe all the snow off the outside of the snowblower. Use a snowblower mat to collect the remaining water and protect the surface of your garage from scratches.