Changing of the Guard - Lawn Mower to Snow Blower Maintenance Checklist

Colder weather is fast approaching and it's time for the semi-annual 'changing of the guard,' from mower to blower. Soon you will retire your lawn mower to storage and begin prepping your snow blower for brave winter conditions. Whether you have a push lawn mower or riding mower, performing a few basic winterization tasks now will pay off next spring and help to extend the life of your machine. And as for your Sno Thro, give it a good checkup before the winter storms roll in and you really need it.  An Ariens dealer can help service your equipment each year as you enter the season of “Changing of the Guard.”

Use this checklist to help properly store your lawn mower and prep your snow blower, ensuring that your equipment stays tougher than the elements.

Good Bye Mower...

  1. Add Stabilizer to the Remaining Gas in Your Lawn Mower -  Most engine manufacturers recommend using a fuel stabilizer or draining the fuel system before putting the machine into storage. Mix the gasoline according to the instructions on the stabilizer container. Fill the machine's gas tank about 3/4 full (using low ethanol gasoline) and allow the machine to run for a few minutes to make sure stabilized gasoline is in the carburetor as well as the tank. If equipped, turn the fuel valve to the off position.

  2. Clean the Blades and Undercarriage - Clean the unit: wipe or blow off the clippings and debris from the top of the unit and check the belt(s) and idler pulleys for wear. Check the blades, as now is a great time to replace or sharpen the blades. Remove the ignition key and/or the spark plug wire before working under the mower deck!

  3. Annual Tune Up - (Optional - either now or in Spring) If you opt for maintenance before storage, take a look at our recommendations for tuning up your mower. Tuning up your mower - changing the spark plugs, oil, checking tire pressure and grease fittings - at least once every year will help your unit run smoother and burn fuel efficiently.

  4. Change the Oil - Change the oil and filter if equipped. Replace with the engine manufacturer's recommended oil and filter type. Please refer to the engine manual that came with your unit. Some of the Ariens owner's manuals also have these recommendations. You can also find recommendations on most engine manufacturers web sites: Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Kawasaki, Kohler, LCT, Robin/Subaru.

  5. Storing Your Mower - Let your lawn mower hibernate for the winter in a cool, dry place.

...Hello Blower

Take your Snow Blower Out of Storage - With another snow season underway (or fast approaching), it's time to move your Sno-Thro to the front of the garage where it belongs.

  1. Drain any Old Fuel Still Sitting in Your Snow Blower - When a gasoline engine is stored for an extended period, it may not start easily. There are several reasons why this could happen, but the most common is that the gasoline in the carburetor has evaporated away leaving a varnish-like residue that is preventing the flow of fuel. If this happens, it will be necessary to disassemble the carburetor and clean it thoroughly.

  2. Check Tire Pressure - Check the pressure of your snowblower's tires and adjust as needed to the pressure listed on the tire sidewall.

  3. Check Auger Gear Case Oil - Over the years, Ariens has used several lubricants in auger gear cases including grease and gear oil.  Modern auger gear cases on Sno-Thro and Sno-Tek models use synthetic gear oil. It is always best to check the owner's manual for a specific model to make sure the correct lubricant is being used. Here are some rules of thumb for checking auger gear case oil.

  4. Fill Engine Fuel Tank - Fill your fuel tank. Do not use gas with more than 10% ethanol (E10). Higher ethanol fuel is dangerous to use in any small engine equipment.

  5. Tighten the Bolts - After changing oil and finishing the visual inspection, check and make sure all nuts and bolts are tight on your machine. A snow blower vibrates during use, which may cause parts to become loose over time. Tighten any loose nuts and bolts to ensure optimal operation.

  6. Test - Turn on your snow blower to make sure it's working and ready for the first snow.