5 ways to keep your snow blower going

Don't skimp on maintenance or you'll be left with a pile of trouble

Published: December 09, 2014 08:00 AM

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No matter what type of snow blower you buy, it will require routine maintenance to help it start and make it last the 15 to 20 years you should expect. If you haven't gotten your machine out of the shed yet, now's a good time to make sure it starts and to fix it if it doesn't. If all else fails, consider the CR Best Buys from Consumer Reports' latests tests.

  • If you already own a blower and gas is left in it from last season, siphon out as much as possible, then add gas to which you’ve added a fuel stabilizer that’s designed to handle the ethanol in gas. At the end of this season, if you prefer to leave the gas in, top it off with more stabilized gas—though it’s best to run it dry.
  • Take out the spark plug. If it’s only a year or so old, clean its electrode and screw it back in. If you don’t remember when you last replaced it, do so now; plugs today come properly gapped.
  • Change the oil if you didn’t do it in the spring. Ensure that it’s at the recommended grade and level to protect the engine.
  • For new models, at the start of the season use only fuel to which you’ve added stabilizer.
  • Keep extra belts on hand and, for two-stage models, extra shear pins. Both tend to break while the snow blower is working its hardest.
Troy-Bilt Vortex 2890 31AH55Q

Best Buys from our tests

If your snow blower won't make it through another season, here are two CR Best Buys of each gas type we test. A CR Best Buy combines performance and value.

Two-stage gas

Compact two-stage gas

Single-stage gas

For full snow blower Ratings and recommendations see our Buying Guide. In addition to gas models, we also test electric and battery operated machines.

—Ed Perratore (@EdPerratore on Twitter)

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