The weather outside is frightful, but a snow blower makes winter work delightful — at least when compared to shoveling. If you’ve put up with broken shovels, sore backs or a snow removal company keen to make a quick buck off you, then you’re in the market for a snow blower. As with lawnmowers, snow blower technology has improved to make the engines reliable, the components robust and the features convenient to use, rendering a usually tough job much easier. But when is the best time to buy a snow blower? We’ll explore your options here.
Before the Season Begins
Retailers will start stocking snow blowers just as demand for lawnmowers begins dropping. The early selection is typically the best you’ll see, with everything from plug-in electric shovels to gas- and battery-powered snow blowers. Make your buying decision based on the average snowfall in your area, accounting for the occasional larger storm. For instance, someone living in the Great Lakes snowbelt might consider paying top dollar for the best gas-powered model to quickly and easily move unwanted snow. For most everyone else, a lighter duty machine should suffice. Expect to pay full retail price early in the season as retailers seek to reduce lawnmower stock to make room for winter gear.
For those of us living in snow country, the winter wallop is never out of the question. If we’re fortunate, a meteorologist’s forecast may give us enough time to stock up on the essentials if we’re to be housebound for several days. This can also be an opportunity to purchase a snow blower, but you’ll need to act fast. Typically, before the first big snow of the season, there’s a run on snow shovels, ice melt and machinery. If you’re prompt, your local retailer should have a varied selection of machines to choose from to meet your budget and needs. But again, don’t expect any deals when demand is high.
Follow the Retailer Promos
As the season progresses, retailers will discount their winter gear to attract customers. Some may advertise a “loss leader,” which is a model priced below wholesale, but available in limited quantities to get shoppers in the store. The brand may not have the clout of some of the industry’s top manufacturers, but the low price is all that’s needed to catch your attention. Only purchase equipment that matches your needs, has a good consumer satisfaction record and is backed by a warranty.
As the Season Ends
By mid-February, retailers are swapping out snow blowers for lawnmowers. Their stock of winter gear will likely be limited, but the deals may be the best of the year. You’ll save money on a floor model, but make sure the original warranty applies. Negotiate a great deal for a “scratch and dent” sample as long as the machine works as intended. An “as is” tag might lead you to a great bargain, or it could signal trouble that might require a return — buyer beware.
Prepping Your Equipment
Like your other power equipment, your snow blower will need to be maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Always use fresh gasoline with a stabilizer, change the oil, inspect the belts, swap out the spark plug, and replace the auger paddles and shave plate as needed. Keep an extra set of shear pins on hand to replace broken ones. Finally, flip the skid shoes on your two-stage snow blower after one year, and then replace them following the next winter season.
The best time to buy a snow blower depends on your local weather, your budget and the retailer offerings. Remember this guide if you’ve had it with shoveling and want to buy a snow blower of your own — your back will thank you.
Check out all the lawn and garden products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on snow blower purchasing and maintenance, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos Courtesy of Pixabay.
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.