The nice weather brings about the perfect time to give your trusted snow blower some much-needed attention. It’s easy to forget or neglect basic maintenance tasks in the depths of winter when it’s often cold, dark, and overwhelmingly coated with snow. In those cases, you mostly want to get outside to clear your driveway and your sidewalk and scurry back inside where it’s warm and cozy as quickly as possible.

The fact is, we rely heavily on our snow blowers to do their job when it counts. We owe it to them to make sure they have what they need to get the job done, and what better time to do it when you can actually stand to be outside for a minute. So whether it’s your first time giving your snow blower the attention it deserves or you’re just looking for a quick brush up on the best practices take these tips into account when you get ready to pull your sleeves up and get down to it.

Change the Oil

If you have a bit of experience with engine maintenance then this step should be pretty straight forward. Regardless, it’s one of the most important maintenance tasks to perform if you want your snow blower to keep running for years to come. You’ll want to drain all of the dirty oil out into an empty can, which you can bring to most garages for disposal. Then just replace it with high-quality motor oil of the correct type. Consult your owner’s manual for the right motor oil for your snow blower.

Check the Spark Plug

Gasoline engines require an energy source to start the combustion cycle, and this is almost always generated with a spark plug. Over time though the spark plug will corrode and will begin to function sub-optimally and eventually not at all. When you’re storing your snow blower always unplug the spark plug, but since you’re at it now take the time to inspect and replace it if necessary. They’re relatively affordable and will save you quite the headache.

Check the Shear Pin

Shear pins connect the snow blower’s auger to the drive shaft, ensuring that the blower can effectively break up and throw the snow. The point of a shear pin is to be the weak link in the chain should a jam occur, whether from a rock, a big stick, or a heavy load of snow. If your shear pin has broken then blower simply won’t work, at least where the auger has been disconnected. Again, now is a great time to replace it so take a look and get on top of it if it needs attention.

Check The Tire Pressure

Fluctuating temperature corresponds directly with fluctuating pressure. It’s described neatly in the ideal gas law that we were taught in high school chemistry. In practice it’s not perfect though, as minor gaps in tire seals or valve stems can lead to minor leaks over time, and your snow blower’s tires might lose pressure. You’ll want to make sure the tires are optimally inflated for the best performance. Use an air compressor to bring the pressure back into specification if it has drifted over the course of the season.

Decide If It’s Time To Buy A New Snow Blower

If as you’re going through this process you keep coming back to the idea that your snow blower is really coming upon its last days, it may be time to take a step back and decide if you want to keep putting the effort in to keep your trusted snow blower going. Snow blowers are no minor expense, but of course, there is an expected lifespan on every tool we buy. If you’re even feeling a little this way, it’s best to check out some snow blower comparisons to get a feel for whether or not it’s time to retire your old workhorse.

Pat yourself on the back for being a proactive homeowner, and rest easy knowing that when the winter rolls around again this year your snow blower will be rip-roaring and ready to go for the first storm.