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5 Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making with your Snowblower

Every year, over 5,700 people are rushed to hospital emergency rooms for snowblower-related injuries. The most common traumas are broken bones, painful bruises, and severe cuts and lacerations to unsuspecting hands and fingers.

Even if you’ve been using a snowblower for years, mistakes can happen.

Here are 5 little-known (often overlooked) tips to help you stay safe while using your snow blower this winter:

1.     Leaving Old Fuel in Your Snowblower

Before you retire your snowblower for the season, always empty the gas tank or add stabilizer. If left untouched, the gas will congeal and obstruct the carburetor, which can be a costly and time-consuming problem to fix. Remember, unused gas can oxidize in as few as 30 days!

  • Never add fresh fuel to a hot tank, as doing that can cause it to ignite.

2.     Not Sticking to a Maintenance Schedule

When it comes to snowblowers, regular maintenance goes a long way! Before performing any maintenance, service, or adjustment, stop the engine and remove the key to ensure your safety.

  • Check the engine oil level regularly during the winter, and drain it before putting your machine away for the year.
  • Inspect the impellor drive belt to make sure it’s in good condition and adjust tension if necessary.
  • Replace the spark plug annually or as often as your owner’s manual recommends.
  • Tighten loose screws, bolts, and locknuts, especially in sensitive spots (like control linkages) that are prone to loosening as the snowblower vibrates.

You can find a maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual to read more about proper maintenance procedures. If major repairs are needed, consult with a trained service professional before performing any work.

3.     Letting the Snow Accumulate

Try to clear the snow as it’s falling rather than waiting until it has accumulated. This will make it easier for you and your machine! Letting the snow sit too long will give it time to pack down and ice up, making it difficult to push through.

  • Do not overload the machine capacity by attempting to clear snow at too fast a rate.
  • Exercise caution to avoid slipping or falling. Keep a firm hold on the handles; walk, never run.
  • Never operate the machine without good visibility or light.
  • When not actively clearing snow, disengage power to the rotor blades.

4.     Setting the Blade Too Low

If you’re working on asphalt or other hard surfaces, setting the blade too low can cause scraping. Check the skid shoes to ensure that the auger does not contact the paved or gravel surface.

  • The auger blades must be supported above the ground by the skids.
  • Adjust the skid shoes to ensure that the scraper is 3 mm above (and parallel) to the ground.
  • For gravel surfaces or loose ground, adjust the skids farther down to prevent the machine from picking up rocks.
  • If the skids become worn, you can turn them over and set the unused side toward the pavement.

5.     Not Preparing Properly

Safety should always be your number one priority. Make sure everyone using the snowblower knows how to use it properly and understands the warnings.

  • Dress appropriately when operating your snowblower. Don’t wear loose fitting clothing that can become stuck in the shoot and cause injury. Wear slip resistant footwear that will improve footing on slippery surfaces.
  • Inspect the area around you for obstacles like rocks, newspapers, and other items that could cause damage to your machine and objects around it.
  • NEVER attempt to remove stuck objects while the engine is running. If you do need to get something out, turn off your machine, wait 5-10 seconds for all activity to stop, and then remove the object with a stick or metal rod.
  • If a shield or safety device is damaged, repair or replace it before beginning operation. Also, tighten any loose fittings.

For a comprehensive safety overview, check out this video from Toro:

Getting the best results starts with making sure you have the right machine for the job. When selecting a snowblower, talk to the experts at Kooy Brothers to find the snowblower best suited to your needs and lifestyle.

Kooy Brothers has been providing superior snow equipment and service for over 30 years, including a complete lineup of robust Toro snowblowers. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.

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