From lawn mowers to snowblowers – equipment prep for changing seasons

(BPT) - As you finish yard cleanup and watch the forecast for signs of winter, it’s time to make that transition from lawn equipment to snow removal equipment.

It's not as simple as stashing one machine in the garage as you pull out the other. To make your equipment last for many seasons to come, prepping it for storage makes all the difference.

First, prep equipment for storage

Check the owner’s manual to get specific advice about storing outdoor power equipment, from lawn mowers to hedge trimmers. If you’ve lost your manuals, you can search online for just about any product's manual.

Clean your equipment

Clean everything thoroughly before storing. Remove dirt, debris and grass clippings, then dry all the components of your equipment. Dirt and moisture can damage your machines.

Make repairs

This is a good time to check for damage and replace old parts if needed. Check fuel filters, air filters and spark plugs and replace as necessary. Lubricate moving parts with oil. Remove and sharpen mower blades so they’ll be ready to go next spring. If you’re not a DIYer, service your machine at a small engine shop or hardware store.

Drain or stabilize fuel

Depending on the kind of lawn mower, there may be specific recommendations for how to prep the fuel tank. Gas should not be left in the tank, as gasoline will degrade, leaving build-up that clogs your fuel system. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for your mower and other equipment, which may include draining the fuel, running the machine until it’s used up or simply adding fuel stabilizer. You should also change the oil.

Remove battery

For machines with a battery, remove and fully charge the battery before winter storage. Store batteries on a plastic or wood shelf, not metal, and not touching metal objects.

Once you’ve properly cleaned your summer equipment and put it away securely, you’re ready to tackle winter.

Next, prep your snowblower

While you prepare for winter, review your equipment needs and evaluate how well — or poorly — your snowblower performed last season.

Check your snowblower

Do a careful inspection before first use. Ensuring that all the nuts and bolts are tight, the spark plug is clean and rust-free, and all the parts are in good condition prevents headaches when you’re facing the season’s first blizzard. Check belts for signs of wear and replace if needed. Lubricate moving parts and add fresh fuel before starting up. It’s wise to use stabilizer, since you can't know how many weeks will see no snowfall. Change the oil soon after you start using it, especially if you didn’t do so when putting it away last spring.

Need new equipment?

If your snowblower is several years old or seems inadequate for the job, it may be time for an upgrade. If your machine clogs and can't keep up, or it's the wrong size for the amount of clearing you have to do, consider a model that’s better for your situation.

Single-stage — The lighter, smaller single-stage snowblower often can't handle larger areas, snowfall more than 8 inches, or heavy wet snow.

Two-stage — A two-stage snowblower's auger first collects the snow, then uses an impeller to discharge the snow further, making it a better choice for heavy-duty jobs or larger areas.

With a two-stage system such as in Husqvarna's 200, 300 and 400 Series, the snowblowers can blast through hard-packed snow by grinding it down first, before it's fed into the housing to be discharged. This can greatly reduce clogging. Two-stage snowblowers also work better on gravel surfaces, as you can adjust the skid shoes so the machine doesn't pick up rocks along with the snow.

Husqvarna provides snowblower choices to suit different needs for size and power.

The 200 and 300 Series have a friction disc transmission, which is reliable for average residential use.

200 Series: To clear larger driveways or paths, the 200 series offers high-performing snowblowers with 24-, 27- or 30-inch working widths. Features of this series include heated grips, LED headlights and an electric starter for quick startups in any weather. The two widest models offer power steering.

300 Series: This series is engineered for heavy-duty use in large areas, under all conditions. They also provide heated grips, LED headlights and an electric starter. The widest model also offers power steering.

400 Series: The 400 Series snowblowers use a hydro-static transmission, which is the best choice for handling wet, heavy snow. With hydro-static transmission, it's easy to vary the ground speed smoothly to match current snow conditions. The 400 Series is for professionals who need a maximum-performance snowblower. The continuous track treads provide superior traction, delivering unbeatable propulsion on slippery surfaces, hills and deeper snow.

Getting the right equipment, and taking proper care of it from season to season, means always being ready for whatever Mother Nature sends your way.