Winter is here, and if you reside in a place where accumulating snow is a regular part of your seasonal experience, you know that snow removal looms large whenever it snows. Snow shovels can handle the job, but not without risk to your lower back and even your heart. A snow blower can make the job safer, faster and easier, but the cost of a new one might be prohibitive, so buying a used snow blower may be the answer. Here we’ll explore the pros and cons of purchasing one to help you make an informed decision.
Pro #1: Big Savings
A new snow blower can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to over $1,000. This amount may be difficult to justify if snowstorms are uncommon where you live or you aren’t certain that you’ll like using one. Acquiring a used late model snow blower might cost less than half the price of a new one, especially if the previous owner decided it wasn’t for them.
Con #1: Questionable Condition
Let’s face it: anything used always carries risk, especially if the item is older. Unless it’s still under warranty and that warranty is transferable, repairs for a used snow blower might prove costly. It can also be difficult to have a snow blower repaired during the middle of the season or without a pickup truck to haul it in for repairs.
Pro #2: A Trial Run
Try used before buying new. Buying used will give you the chance to gauge how well a snow blower works on your property before investing in a new one. For instance, a one-stage blower is ideal for paved surfaces, while a two-stage machine can handle gravel driveways. You may realize that equipment with a larger chute or a self-propelled machine is more suited to your needs.
Con #2: Ease-of-Use Concerns
If a snow blower is newer, it will likely be easier to use. As time progresses, products tend to advance in terms of reliability and features, so buying an older snow blower means it may lack key safety features, self-propulsion or all-surface operation, or it might just not throw snow far enough.
Pro #3: Low Sunk Costs
Because a used snow blower will generally cost less than a new one, you won’t lose as much money if you purchase one and then decide that you don’t want or need it. For instance, you may decide that working in the cold is too hard and that you’d rather hire a snow removal service. Experimenting with an inexpensive, used snowblower can make it easy to cut your losses and try something else. If you sell it, you won’t feel the need to haggle so hard to recover your costs either.
Con #3: Bad Parts Availability
Buying used may save money initially, but it could prove costly if the blower is older or the brand isn’t well known. Engine oil, fuel filters and oil filters may be usable across brands, but an on-off switch, auger assembly or idler may be difficult to come by for an out-of-production model or defunct brand.
Used Snow Blower Shopping
Before buying used, inspect the snow blower carefully. Check the impeller and auger bearings for play, examine the belt to determine if you might need a replacement soon, ensure the axles aren’t broken, keep an eye out for rust, and look for looseness in the bushings and bearings. Also, make certain all fluids are clean before you start the engine. If it doesn’t sound right when you test it, don’t be afraid to walk away from the purchase.
Check out all the snowblower products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information about using and maintaining a snowblower, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo 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.