At the start of the season, add fresh gas and new engine oil to your snowthrower. Check the machine’s auger and impeller and make sure that the air filter and spark plugs are clean. At the end of the season, drain the gas and oil from the engine and clean the machine before storing it.
Smooth auger blades aren’t designed to cut through packed or icy snow so the snow may be harder to clear if your snowthrower has this type of blade. Snowthrowers with serrated auger blades cut easily into icy snow. Track drive also helps the machine grip the surface and push into the icy snow.
There are three different types of snowthrower drives available: auger, wheel and track. With an auger drive, the auger (the snow gathering component of the machine) propels as the user pushes the snowthrower. With a wheel-propelled drive system, the user depresses the handle and the auger spins. Like a propelled lawn mover, the wheel system helps propel the snowthrower. With a track drive, the wheels of the snowthrower are replaced with rugged track treads, like a tank. It is great for maneuvering through heavy snow, because slippage is virtually eliminated.
The number of stages refers to how the snowthrower moves the snow. A single stage snowthrower uses the front auger to sweep and throw the snow in a single action. Single stage machines are designed for lighter-duty applications, such as small driveways, steps and short sidewalks. They are generally lightweight, maneuverable and easy to use -- ideal for areas where snowfall is relatively light to medium throughout the winter. Dual stage snowthrowers use the front auger to sweep the snow and feed it to the impeller. The impeller then propels the snow up and out the chute. The auger turns slowly to control the amount of snow the impeller throws. Dual stage snowthrowers are designed for heavier applications, such as larger driveways or long sidewalks -- great for areas where conditions range form moderate to extremely heavy, wet snow.
Before starting the snowthrower, clear the operating area. Pick up all sticks, doormats, toys, electrical cords or other debris that might cause damage to the snowthrower, you or others. Dress properly for the job. Wear warm clothing and shoes that will improve footing on slippery surfaces. Wear eye protection and avoid wearing loose fitting items that might get caught in the machine’s moving parts. Know how to stop a running snowthrower quickly. If the chute becomes clogged, do the following: Turn off the snowthrower and wait for all moving parts to stop. Remove the spark plug wire. Use a stick, not your hand, to remove the impacted snow. Keep all body parts clear of the chute at all times.
Winter means snow, and snow means shoveling. Invest in a plastic shovel because metal is a lot heavier. Choose a shovel with a curved handle to improve flexibility. Pick a shovel with a deep bucket so that it will hold a lot of snow. Place one hand near the base of the shovel with the other grasping the handle while lifting snow. Spray the bucket with a lubricant, such as Pam cooking spray, to help snow slide off easier.