Snow blowers represent a significant investment for the typical homeowner, but they also provide much easier relief from significant winter storms. To ensure that this valuable piece of winter equipment stays in peak condition for every winter storm of the season, homeowners need to make sure that they’re properly performing suggested maintenance procedures and adjustments as necessary. From lubrication of critical joints to engine and tire pressure checks, there are quite a few things to know before firing up the snow blower and dealing with nature’s latest wintry mess.
Work Safely: A Reminder Before Performing Maintenance
Equipment maintenance can be just as dangerous as actually using the snow blower if certain safety procedures aren’t followed. Before getting started with this list of tasks, make sure that the snow blower has cooled off from any recent operation. A hot engine can cause burns, ignite fuel, and make life generally unpleasant for equipment owners during maintenance tasks. To further ensure safety, make sure to disconnect the spark plug wire and wear protective gloves when working around the auger blades. With these precautions taken, maintenance can proceed without incident.
The Overview: A Guide to Regular Snow Blower Maintenance
Though the 524 snow blower doesn’t come with a traditional maintenance schedule, it’s still possible to divide maintenance requirements into two categories. The first category includes maintenance procedures that must be done before each use. Maintenance tasks in this category include checking fuel and oil levels, checking the condition of the snow blower’s auger, and checking for damage to the shave plate and skid shoes. The second category, consisting of things like lubrication and small adjustments, is also important. These tasks are typically performed less often, typically at the beginning of the winter and immediately prior to off-season storage.
Sheer Pins: A Seasonal and Situational Concern
For the most part, sheer pins will not cause many maintenance issues. Operators should only check the sheer pins if the snow blower’s auger strikes a large rock or some other foreign object. In this case, the sheer pins may become damaged and will likely require immediate replacement with OEM parts. If the snow blower doesn’t come into contact with a large, foreign object during operation, the sheer pins should at least be checked at the beginning and end of each winter season.
The Engine: What Operators Need to Know
The snow blower’s engine requires at least a little bit of attention prior to each outing. First and foremost, it’s important to check the engine’s fuel level. Ideally, the fuel tank should be topped off each time before the snow blower is used. The fuel should also be drained at the end of each winter, rather than stored in the equipment or mixed with fuel stabilizer.
In addition to checking fuel levels, operators should also make sure that oil registers at the proper fill mark on the dipstick. If not, add a bit of extra oil until a sufficient amount is present. Operators should refer to the engine’s instruction manual when it comes to scheduling and performing oil changes throughout the winter.
Tire Pressure: A Required Pre-Operation Check
Cold temperatures throughout the winter can cause tire pressure to fluctuate pretty significantly. The snow blower works best when tire pressure is uniform between all wheels. Refer to the tire manufacturer’s included instructions to determine the proper tire pressure for the 524 snow blower. Make sure to check tire pressure before each use, adding air as needed to ensure safer and easier operation.
Checking the Shave Plate and Skid Shoes
Because the shave plate and skid shoes make direct contact with the ground when clearing snow, they can easily become too worn to clear snow away properly. If the skid shoes show signs of cracking and excessive wear, or if they have a very high ground clearance that will render them ineffective during snow clearing, replacement or adjustment will be required.
Luckily, Cub Cadet’s shave plates and skid shoes are designed to rotate 180 degrees when one side wears down. Rather than executing a full replacement, equipment owners can simply remove the part, rotate it as required, and then secure it to the equipment for like-new utility. If both sides have already been used and worn down, full replacement with an OEM part will be necessary.
Rust is the enemy of all power equipment tools, including snow blowers. The best way to guard against damaging corrosion is to regularly lubricate the parts that are most likely to succumb it. Start by removing the wheels at least once each season so that the axles can be lubricated with a mild grease lubricant. The same lubricant should be applied at least once per season to the sheer pins and bolts in both the auger shaft and gear shaft.
There are four key components that must be adjusted on a seasonal basis to ensure sound operation and long-term comfort during snow blower use. These four components are the snow blower’s shift cable, drive control, auger control, and skid shoes. Extensive instructions for each adjustment can be found in the instruction manual that ships with the snow blower.
CubParts.com Has the OEM Parts Needed for Regular Maintenance
Whether it’s regular maintenance or seasonal repairs, CubParts.com has a full lineup of OEM parts that will restore the snow blower to like-new condition. CubParts.com offers only OEM replacements, manufactured according to Cub Cadet’s stringent quality controls and standards. An online search tool, which filters parts by engine manufacturer, snow blower model number and official part number, makes it easy to find a perfectly compatible replacement for any Cub Cadet model on the market.