Two-Stage Snow Thrower Safety
Before you start your engine for the first time this season, check out these general safety and maintenance tips. Remember to thoroughly review your operator's manual or engine manual before doing any maintenance work.
Winter Safety Facts:
- Shoveling snow may cause a quick and sometimes dangerous increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
- Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer. So stay hydrated.
- Shoveling snow is like picking up weights, it's a lot of work.
- When shoveling snow, cold air can make it harder to breathe, which adds extra strain on the whole body.
- Shoveling snow can be considered vigorous activity even for healthy, college-aged people.
- Researchers have reported an increase in the number of fatal heart attacks among snow shovelers after heavy snowfalls.
- The sooner you start clearing after a snowfall the better. As snow sits for several days, it compacts and becomes heavier.
Proper Tire Inflation
To properly inflate your tire and prevent over-inflation, use a manual pump or portable electric tire inflator. Never use an air compressor. Snow thrower tires are low volume, low psi tires. Air compressors are high volume, high psi machines capable of over-inflating a tire possibly causing it or the rim to burst.
If the snow thrower was folded up for compact, convenient storage, unfold it and securely tighten all the hardware.
Identify the type of snow thrower you have - whether it is a single-stage or a two-stage machine - and reference resources, such as your operator's manual, engine manual or this website, to maintain and prepare your snow thrower for safe operation throughout the winter.
Gather your resources: Review your Operator's Manual and Engine Manual. These resources provide safety and maintenance information specific to your unit.
- First time of the year starting: If the unit has been sitting for a long period of time with fuel in it, there is a possibility that the fuel is poor and needs to be purged through the system. Make certain fresh fuel is added and slowly and deliberately prime the unit as specified by the engine manufacturer. This should flush the broken down fuel and possible debris through and get the fresh fuel flowing.
- Change your oil and spark plug at the beginning of each season.
- Even if it doesn't snow, throughout the season, regularly run the unit once a month to circulate the fuel.
- Proper Tire Inflation: To properly inflate your tire and prevent over-inflation, use a manual pump or portable electric tire inflator. Never use an air compressor. Snow thrower tires are low volume, low psi tires. Air compressors are high volume, high psi machines capable of over-inflating a tire possibly causing it or the rim to burst.
- Never attempt to repair a unit while the engine is running. Turn off the engine and wait for the unit to come to a complete stop before you begin any repairs.
- Visit the Web site of Health Canada to obtain industry-wide information and updates BEFORE you prepare and operate your snow thrower for the season. This is a place to identify if there are any safety releases or recalls that need your attention prior to, or in tandem with, preparing the snow throwers for the season.
Snow removal from your driveway and sidewalks can be quick and efficient when you know how to approach it safely and with consideration. Here are a few easy steps to keep you efficient and safe:
|1.||Know which way the wind is blowing.|
The first step in throwing snow safely and efficiently is to throw snow with the wind, never against it. Implementing this practice will ensure safe visibility of what is in front of you and can prevent re-doing the same areas over again. Wind directions change as you are throwing snow so be sure to adjust your approach accordingly.
|2.||Plan in advance where the snow is to be accumulated.|
Snow accumulation may get very high over a winter season, depending on your area. This height can present safety and security issues, so care needs to be taken to avoid any problems.
|3.||Decide on a pattern to clear snow.|
Your best pattern should be determined by wind speed and direction, how powerful your machine is (how far it is capable of throwing the snow), and the moisture content of the snow. Bear in mind that your goal is to throw the snow one time only.
|4.||Review the safe operating practices of your snow thrower at each snow season.|
As with any type of power equipment, carelessness or error on the part of the operator can result in serious injury. Our operator manuals provide an Important Safe Operation Practicessection that contains important training and preparation information. This section of our manual also provides safe practice information as it relates to proper operation, maintenance and storage of your unit along with safe handling of gasoline and other safety knowledge. These safe operation practices should be reviewed at the beginning of each snow season.
4-CYCLE MAINTENANCE: SPARK PLUG, FUEL AND OIL:
- Similar to single-stage 4-cycle engines, two-stage snow throwers are also powered by 4-cycle engines. They also run on the same fuel you put into your car, making it convenient to pick up fuel while filling up your vehicle.
- The engine oil, as is the case for your automobile, is separate from the fuel. It is filled and monitored at a separate location or by a dipstick. If you have not done so already, review the engine operator's manual for this procedure.
- Make certain the engine is off, if equipped, the throttle is in the stop or off position before removing the ignition key.
- The spark plug should be changed before each season.
- Generally speaking, remove the spark plug, make certain the gap is set properly and install the new spark plug.
- Observe the auger and impeller to make certain they are clear of any debris. Slowly pull the recoil starter from the engine. This allows you to observe that the engine pulls over smoothly and no debris or rodents have created a nest. If you have unwanted visitors, clean the unit or contact your local dealer for assistance.
MAINTENANCE: BELTS, TIRES, SKID SHOES AND SHAVE PLATE
- Remove the belt cover and inspect the belts for excessive wear, fraying or deterioration. The front belt is the auger/impeller engagement belt and the rear belt is the drive belt. If the belts are worn excessively, review the operator's manual for belt replacement instructions.
- Observe the tires and identify if they are in good running condition, checking for dry rotting, cracking and excessive tread wear or hub damage. If they are not in good condition, review the operator's manual for tire maintenance instructions. If they are in good condition, review your operator's manual(s) to identify the correct tire PSI and adjust the tires to the correct specifications.
- Inspect the skid shoes and shave plate and identify if there is excessive wear. If there is excessive wear, review the operator's manual for replacement or adjustment instructions.
- Roll the unit to a flat, level surface and observe the shave plate to make certain it is 1/8 of an inch off the top of the surface. If it is not, review the operator's manual(s) for skid shoe and shave plate adjustment.
- Snow Tip: A simple way to perform shave plate adjustment is to cut a section from a standard corrugated box to a size that fits under the shave plate, but between the skid shoes. Loosen the hardware securing the skid shoes and lower the shoes to the driveway surface. Secure the skid shoe hardware and remove the corrugate box section from under the shave plate.
- If your snow thrower is equipped with an electric starter, locate the electric starter cord and make certain it is in good condition for the season. Connect the cord to the electric starter and then to the house. Operate the electric starter in accordance with the operator's manual(s) to make certain it is ready for the season.
- Disconnect the extension cord. Place the spark plug wire back onto the spark plug. Insert and make certain the ignition key is in the "run" or "on" position. Make certain the engine switch is in the "run" or "on" position, if equipped.
- Prime the engine as directed and fully choke the engine. If equipped, move the throttle to the "fast" position and either plug in and push the electric start button or pull the recoil. If the unit attempts to start, open the choke slightly. If the unit does not attempt to start, repeat the steps above.
MAINTENANCE: AUGER AND DRIVE PADDLE
- Review the operator's panel and clearly identify the operation of each control. Most two-stage snow throwers have a paddle that engages and disengages the auger, and most two-stage snow throwers have a paddle that engages and disengages the drive as well.
- Slowly close the auger engagement paddle and make certain the auger engages and rotates smoothly. Release the auger engagement paddle and make certain they come to a complete stop. If adjustment is needed, review the operator's manual for auger engagement or consult your local dealer for assistance.
- Do not engage the drive paddle, but move the drive speed selector lever through all the speeds, making certain the unit does not move on its own. If it does, review the operator's manual for drive adjustment.
- Place the drive speed selector lever in each drive speed position, engaging and observing the drive in each position to make certain it is performing properly. Release the drive engagement paddle and make certain the drive comes to a complete stop. If adjustment is needed, review the operator's manual for drive adjustment or consult your local dealer for assistance.
MAINTENANCE: CHUTE AND PITCH CONTROLS
- Chute and pitch controls come in many configurations and it is important to go through all of the operations to make certain everything is functioning correctly. Review the operator's manual(s) for further details.
- Never operate the snow thrower with a missing or damaged chute assembly or belt cover.