How to Prepare Your Snow Thrower for Storage in the Off-Season
These instructions will explain how to prepare your snow thrower for storage in the off-season. Some of these steps differ between single-stage, two-stage and three-stage snow throwers so we'll be sure to point out any differences as we go along. Also, depending on your model, the instructions below may vary slightly.
Snow Thrower Storage Instructions
Step 1 - Check out your Operator's Manual
Whether you have a single-, two- or three-stage snow thrower, it's best to prepare for this project by reading the "Off- Season Storage" section of your operator's manual. Check the unit's maintenance guide to see if any parts need replacing. This guide can be found in your operator's manual in the "Maintenance & Adjustments" section and the "Service" section. Grab a piece of paper to create a list of replacement parts you might need. Before beginning any new snow thrower storage maintenance, make sure your machine is on a level surface and you disconnect the spark plug wire to avoid accidental movement or starting.
Single-Stage Snow Thrower Storage Maintenance
Step 2 - Position the snow thrower for maintenance
Carefully tilt the snow thrower back so it rests on the handle. This will allow you to easily access various components.
Step 3 - Check the shave plate
The shave plate can wear out over time. If the shave plate on your snow thrower has two wearing edges, simply reverse it to maximize the life of the plate. If it doesn't or has simply worn down, you can replace it with genuine, original manufacturer equipment from Cub Cadet.
Step 4 - Check the auger
The auger's rubber paddles can become damaged and worn out with use. They should be replaced if any excessive wear is present. If you allow the rubber paddles to wear until the metal portion of the auger can hut the pavement, you can damage the auger and need expensive repairs.
Step 5 - Inspect the belt
Remove the belt cover on the side of the snow thrower. Check the belt for signs of wear, cracks, fraying, etc.
Step 6 - Order replacement parts
If any of the above-mentioned items need replacing at the end of the season, it's a good time to order and install them before you put your snow thrower into storage.
Two-Stage Snow Thrower Storage Maintenance
Step 2 - Check the shave plate
Check the shave plate and skid shoes for damage and 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 require a major repair down the road.
Step 3 - Prepare the fuel tank
Drain any fuel left in the tank using the siphon pump. A siphon pump can be purchased on cubcadet.com and wherever mower parts are sold. With the help of another person, carefully pivot the snow thrower up and forward so it rests on the auger housing. This will allow you to easily access the parts of the snow thrower that require maintenance.
Step 4 - Oil the gear shaft
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 or cracking.
Step 5 - Return the snow thrower to its wheels and skid shoes
Before checking the snow thrower belt, put the lower frame cover back in place. With the help of an additional person, carefully pivot the snow thrower back and down so it rests on the wheels and skid shoes.
Step 6 - Inspect the belt
Remove the belt cover on the front of the engine and inspect the belt(s) for wear, cracks and fraying. If the belts are worn, they should be replaced immediately. Worn belts can break when you least expect it so make sure you replace your snow thrower belt as soon as you see signs of wear. Put the plastic belt cover back in place or order a new one if needed.
Single-, Two- and Three-Stage Snow Thrower Storage Maintenance
Step 7 - Change the oil
If your unit runs on a 4-cycle engine, the next step is to change the oil. Be sure to dispose of the drained oil in an environmentally responsible manner. Drain the oil by using the plastic drain sleeve that may have come with your unit, or a siphon pump, which can be purchased on cubcadet.com and wherever snow thrower parts are sold.
Step 8 - Check the spark plug
Remove the spark plug and inspect it for signs of corrosion or residue build-up. Clean it with a wire brush if necessary. If you are unsure if the spark plug is good or not, it is recommended that you replace the spark plug. Reinstall the spark plug and reconnect the spark plug ignition wire.
Step 9 - Clean the snow thrower
Clean debris from around the engine and muffler. Apply a light film of oil on any areas that are susceptible to rust. Wipe away any dried salt that may have accumulated to help prevent your unit from rusting over the winter.
Step 10 - Prepare the fuel tank
Finally, add fuel stabilizer to your fuel and fill the tank. This is better than storing it empty because an empty fuel system exposes any bare metal parts within it to air and moisture - which can lead to rust and also allows gaskets and O-rings to dry out, crack and shrink, causing eventual leaks. It's also difficult to completely drain fuel from an engine. Unless you blow out and dry the fuel lines, enough fuel can remain to become stale and cause problems. Keep the engine level while in storage. Tilting can cause fuel or oil leak. If you plan on covering the snow thrower, make sure air can circulate under the cover.
Following these steps for proper snow thrower storage will help ensure you have a well-functioning machine the next winter. Remember to complete each of the steps outlined above - skipping a snow thrower storage maintenance procedure can result in expensive repairs down the road. For more snow thrower maintenance tips, check out our Cub Cadet how-to articles.