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Once spring rolls around, you're probably more than ready to get out of the lawn mower and pack up the snow blower. To ensure your machine is ready when the first snow falls next winter, follow this guide for proper snow blower storage. Some of the steps differ between single-stage and two-stage units, so we'll be sure to point out any differences as we go along. Also, keep in mind that the instructions may vary slightly for your model.
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 MTD operator's manual.
Before storing your snowblower, check the maintenance items to see if anything needs to be replaced. These items can be found in your Operator's Manual in the "Maintenance & Adjustments" and "Service" section. Create a list of replacement snow blower parts you might need.
On a two-stage unit, 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 wear is so great that the housing is no longer protected. This could lead to a major repair. On a single-stage MTD snow blower, you'll have to tip the unit back onto its handles in order to inspect the shave plate. If the shave plate shows signs of wear, first check to see if you can reverse it to extend its life. Many shave plates have two wearing edges and can be reversed if needed. If you need to replace your shave plate or skid shoes, it's best to do so before you put your snow blower in storage for the off-season.
Drain any fuel left in the tank using the Arnold Siphon pump.
Carefully pivot the snowblower up and forward so it rests on the auger housing. Get assistance to avoid damaging the snow blower or injuring yourself.
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 and cracking.
Put the lower frame cover back in place. Carefully pivot the snowblower back and down so it rests on the wheels and skid shoes.
Remove the belt cover and inspect the belt(s) for wear, cracks and fraying. If you have a two-stage snowblower, the belt cover will be on the front of the engine. On a single-stage snow blower, it will be on the side. If your belts are worn, you should replace them before putting your snow blower in storage. 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 when you are finished.
Check the auger's rubber paddles for damage and wear. They should be replaced if any excessive wear is present. Do not let the rubber paddles to wear to the point that the metal portion of the auger can touch the pavement.
If your unit has a 4-cycle engine, the next step is to is to change the engine oil. Be sure to dispose of the drained oil in an environmentally friendly manner. You can use a plastic drain sleeve which may have come with your unit, or an Arnold Siphon Pump.
Next, remove the spark plug, and inspect it before reinstalling it. Clean it with a wire brush if necessary. If you are unsure whether the spark plug is good, replace it before storing your snow blower. Reinstall the spark plug and reconnect the spark plug wire.
Clean debris from around the engine and muffler. Apply a light coating of oil on any areas that are susceptible to rust. To further prevent rust, wipe away any dried salt that may have accumulated over the winter.
The final step to prepare your snow blower for storage is to fill the fuel tank and add fuel stabilizer, An empty fuel system exposes any bare metal parts to air and moisture. This can lead to rust and allows gaskets and O-rings to dry out, crack and shrink. In addition, completely draining 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.
Once you've prepared your snow blower for storage, put it in in a garage or shed for the summer. Keep the engine level, as tilting can cause fuel or oil to leak. If you plan on covering the snow blower, make sure air can get under the cover. MTD offers snow thrower accessories including covers and floor mats, to make your off-season storage easier.