11/28/2023 8:01:05 AM
As The King of Snow, we're patiently waiting for the next round of winter weather to hit Brillion, Wisconsin, where Ariens has been the world's #1 producer of two-stage snow blowers for decades. But for many, seeing snow in the forecast is the moment you panic and wonder, "Is my snow blower ready for winter?"
If you have an Ariens, and you’ve kept it serviced, this is easy. Start it up – that’s it! EFI units may need a quick battery charge to get them ready, but that’s it. If your machine has had a recent tune-up in the last couple seasons, and you did all the proper steps to store it for summer (see our tips on that here), then it should be as easy as putting in some fresh fuel and firing it up. Let the machine run for at least five minutes to let the engine time to warm up, fuel to run through the system, etc. Engage the drive and auger a couple times to make sure all is working as it should too. Then, after it is fully shut down, check for any drips, frayed belts, etc. That’s basically it. Feel free to spend another hour in the garage banging a screwdriver on the housing and muttering about the blinker fluid or muffler bearings if it helps get you out of something else, but you really don’t need to. Just head back inside and enjoy the time you saved yourself by thinking ahead in spring.
Now, if you are like most of the rest of us, you parked that snow blower after the last storm and forgot it existed until about ten minutes ago. And if you don’t remember who was President the last time you had it serviced, chances are you are due. Let’s dive into the 5 quick steps to make sure when those flakes start to stick, you are ready to go out and throw.
1) Check the oil!What happens most of the time with snow equipment is it gets used when its needed, then forgotten. That last heavy snow in spring, it gets parked in the garage for “next time” and next time never comes. The mower gets pulled out and that’s the end of it. But just like a car, snow blowers require a basic oil change every few seasons to make sure the engines stay lubricated. Good news here – oil changes are easy on these units. Unscrew the drain plug at the bottom of the engine, and drain the oil into a small catch pan. Then, replace the drain plug (make sure to do this before refilling – ask me how I know) and fill with fresh fluid to the manufacturer’s spec. We even have nifty oil change kits to make this process easy for you. Need a refresher on how to change your snow blower oil? Check out this great video here.
2) Fresh fuelThe other major fluid is fuel. Hopefully you have an empty fuel system from last year, or you treated your gas (hint, we have stabilizer on our website) at minimum before storage. That means this is as simple as topping off with fresh fuel (minimal ethanol content always preferred) and you should be solid. I’ve recently gotten into the habit of putting in fresh fuel in spring with a little stabilizer, running my machine for about five minutes to get it circulated, and then shutting off the fuel valve and letting it run dry. Then I can fire it up in fall easily with a prime and a pull. That’s excessive though – admittedly. If your fuel system is a little gummed up from last season, sometimes a system cleaner can help, or you may need to remove and clean or replace your carburetor. Either way, fresh fuel goes a long way to getting your unit ready for the year and keeping it lasting for years to come.
3) Spark plugs – Light it up!
Fuel is important, but doesn’t do much good without a fresh spark plug. The plug is what ignites the fuel to make the power, and after a couple years of use, they become less efficient. In short, less power, less fuel efficiency, and less ability to chuck the white stuff out of the way. Spark plugs are easy to change too, if you can turn a handle, you got this! Pull the wire off the old plug (pull firmly but don’t yank) and it pops right off. Then, unscrew the old plug with a socket wrench and pull it out. Be gentle putting in the new one, it should turn easy the first few full spins. Then use the wrench to just snug it down – not too tight, just snug. Pop the wire back on and make sure it's snug, and you are done! And yes – we have plugs for nearly every Ariens Sno-Thro on our site, just type in your model number!
4) Belts – Not just to hold up pantsBasically, we have an awesome belt system on our machines. Most Ariens Sno-Thros have a dual belt drive system which means more power and less wear. If you are into belts, it’s pretty exciting actually. But eventually less wear is still wear and they need replacement. Just pull off the belt system cover and check for any cracks or frays. If you see some, put on some fresh ones. We have them online or your Ariens dealer should generally have some in stock too. Don't know how to change belt? We have a great video on how to change our snow blower belts.
5) Get your shoe game on pointYes, you should have good footwear for winter, but I mean your skid shoes. These are designed to not only hold your snow blower housing at the right height, but they also protect your pavement. They are designed to wear down with use, which means they generally need a seasonal adjustment to keep you at that perfect height. Wore down too far? They are reversible, so just rotate 180 degrees and go! Or grab a fresh set at Ariens.com. We even have a poly set for low abrasion on those delicate surfaces like pavers. This is also a good time to check and adjust (or replace) your scraper bar at the bottom of the housing, here's a great video on how to replace them.
The great thing about owning an Ariens is they are built to last for decades. These 5 simple steps you can do at home are all it really takes to make sure that when the snow flies, you are ready to go. Not much of a do-it-yourself person? No issue, your Ariens dealer can handle it all for you and get your machine ready to rock too. Or, toss that previously-loved unit up on marketplace and head on over to your nearest Ariens dealer and check out one of our brand new models. No changing oil or spark plugs required to be ready for this season!