Don't Let Caked-on Ice Slow Your Snow Blower

Clear the blades and chute of snow before stowing your snow blower

Published: January 30, 2015 05:00 PM

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Unless you’re a skier, poet, or school-age kid, snow is a downright nuisance. But even if you’re keeping up with your snow blower’s maintenance, there’s an extra chore that, if ignored, could affect how ready you are for the next onslaught. It’s as simple as cleaning your machine after clearing your driveway.

A little bit of snow left around the auger and snow-blower chute might not be a concern even if you store your snow blower in an unheated garage or shed. But if packed-in snow freezes into a block, you’ll need to chip it out before you can run the snow blower again.

Your better bet:
Remove the excess before it freezes. First, run the auger out of snow for several seconds to shake off what you can. Then shut it off. You can use a windshield scraper for breaking off anything caked on though the chute-clearance tool that comes with many models works just as well. If you happen to have one, an air compressor with an air-gun attachment works wonders for this purpose. Be sure to clear excess snow from the chute as well as the auger and, with a two-stage model, the impeller in back.

Another piece of advice relates to salt from the snow municipal plows leave at the end of driveways. Once temperatures rise enough that ice is less of a concern, turn on your outside water, connect a hose and water down the chute and auger box. (Be sure to let it dry before stowing.) If you store your snow blower without rinsing it off, the salt can promote rust.

Need a new snow blower?

You might have to look hard for a new model now, but calling ahead and also trying small outdoor power equipment dealers might do the trick. Our top-scoring gas models include the two-stage, 30-inch Cub Cadet 31AH57S, $1,500, and Ariens 921032, $1,300, the compact, 24-inch two-stage Craftsman 88173, $680, and the single-stage, 21-inch Toro Power Clear 721E, $570. Be sure to check out our snow blower buying guide before checking our snow blower Ratings of more than 110 models.

—Ed Perratore (@EdPerratore on Twitter)

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