Something that seems to be hotly debated in the snow blowing world is what to do with your snow blower when winter has finally run its course.
That wonderful moment when you know your snow blower won’t be needed for a good 8/9/10 months depending upon where you live.
You can finally put it away and look forward to spring and summer.
But should you store your snow blower with or without gas?
We will take a look at both sides of the argument here.
Should You Store Your Snow Blower With Or Without Gas?
There is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether you should store your snow blower with or without gas. Both sides of the argument have pros and cons. Storing it full of gas keeps the fuel system saturated, but the gas could go bad. Storing it empty should mean there is no gas to gum up the carburetor, but sometimes minuscule amounts accidentally left in the machine might cause problems.
Storing A Snow Blower With Gas: The Case For and Against
So let’s take a look at the argument for and against storing a snow blower with gas in it.
To be clear, when we talk about storing it with gas in it, essentially we mean gas in the entire fuel system, so the tanks, fuel lines and carburetor are kept saturated with gas all year round.
The gas should be treated with stabilizer to stop it from going stale, and it is also a good idea to start the machine up once a month or so just to keep the fuel flowing.
The Case For
If you store your snow blower entirely full of gas then the major plus is it keeps the entire system lubricated year-round.
There is too much gas for it to evaporate away completely and cause varnish and leave a deposit to gum up the carburetor or fuel lines.
Also there is no risk of gaskets cracking as they dry out as they are surrounded by gas.
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The Case Against
Even with your snow blower filled with gas, it might still dry out and cause problems in places. Hence the recommendation to start the machine once a month or so to reduce the risk of this.
On top of that, even with stabilizer added, there is no guarantee that the gas will remain in a good condition.
The gas could still go stale, and we outlined some of the problems using old gas in a snow blower can lead to in an earlier post.
Leaving your snow blower filled with gas also makes any annual maintenance you want to do harder. It will seep out as soon as you tip it up on its handlebars.
Storing A Snow Blower Without Gas: The Case For and Against
Then there is exactly the opposite standpoint, leaving your snow blower with no gas in it whatsoever.
Drain the gas tank, disconnect the gas line to the carburetor and let the gas drip out so the bowl is run dry.
Leave the carburetor disassembled and the gas line disconnected to air out. If there is any gas remaining it should evaporate.
After a few days reassemble everything and store your snow blower away completely void of fuel.
Note this isn’t just a case of running your snow blower out of gas, you want to ensure there is no gas at all in the tank, fuel lines and carburetor.
The Case For
A snow blower completely barren of fuel means there is nothing in the system that can turn to varnish and gum up the carburetor.
In contrast to the ‘keep it full’ approach, you don’t have to remember to start up your snow blower every month, you can literally put it away and forget about it.
But if you do want to carry out maintenance on it in the summer, there is no gas in the machine to make it more difficult to do so.
Then when it comes to winter (or sometimes even fall), there are no worries of gas having gone stale.
You simply fill your snow blower with fresh fuel and you are ready to go again. In theory…
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The Case Against
The big problem here is, can you really make sure you drain your snow blower entirely of gas?
No matter how hard you try, and how thorough you are, a minuscule amount could be left behind.
And if that is the case, it can deposit varnish and cause your carburetor to clog up, so when you go to use your snow blower in the winter it doesn’t start.
The other concern that is sometimes raised is that storing your snow blower without gas increases the risk of gaskets drying out and cracking.
So What Do the Experts Say?
Both of the above approaches have their supporters. In a poll on the Snow Blower forum a few years ago, it came back just over 60/40 in favor of storing your snow blower dry.
But what do the experts recommend?
Ariens – Store Without Gas
Snow blower manufacturer Ariens is quite clear in its advice. It says on its website:
“Even if the gas has been stabilized, we recommend completely draining your snow blower’s fuel system before storing it away for the season.”
Source: Ariens website
Briggs and Stratton – Store With Gas
As you will see Brigg and Stratton are somewhat of the odd ones out on this list. It recommends storing your snow blower with a full tank of gas:
“To protect your fuel tank from corrosion, store your lawn mower or snow blower filled with treated fuel… Keeping the tank full will minimize accumulation of moisture that causes carburetor-clogging rust.”
Source: Briggs and Stratton website
Honda – Store Without Gas
There are few more respected manufacturers of power equipment than Honda. When it comes to snow blower storage, it is firmly in the drain it all camp.
“Drain all the gasoline from the fuel system (including the fuel tank) by following the instructions in the owner’s manual. Do not allow gasoline (with or without stabilizer) to remain in your snow blower/snowthrower for more than 90 days of inactivity.”
Source: Honda website
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Sears – Either
With over 200 stores and generating revenue in excess of $10billion each year, department stores don’t come much bigger than Sears. It has a more flexible approach to snow blower storage saying:
“Either remove the gas or treat it to prevent gum deposits from forming in the tank, fuel lines, filter and carburetor during storage.”
Source: Sears website
Snow Blowers Direct – Store Without Gas
Snow Blowers Direct is the biggest specialist snow blower outlet in the world, so it really knows its stuff. Again its advice is simple:
“At the end of the snow blowing season, you never want to keep fuel in your snow blower, even if the gas is stabilized; always drain the tank. “
Source: Snow Blowers Direct website
Toro – Store Without Gas
Toro has a huge array of snow blowers in its impressive lineup of machinery, from small single-stage throwers to hefty commercial-style two-stage blowers. It says:
“For starters, empty the fuel system by running the engine dry.”
Source: Toro Yardcare website
In all honesty, there is no right or wrong answer to this question.
I think the main thing is to at least think about your snow blowers storage, rather than just being so glad you have got through the winter you put it away and forget about it!
The worst thing you could do is to stuff it in your shed, with a tank half full of gas and leave it there for nine months.
As you can see, generally the consensus is to run your snow blower out of gas and store it completely empty, but both approaches have pros and cons.
Find one that works for you and stick with it.
As for me, well I am in the store it without gas camp, but whether I really count as an expert or not I don’t know…