Can A Snowblower Be Left Outside In Winter?

In this article, we will answer the question of whether a snowblower can be left outside in winter. We understand that many people may not have enough storage space inside their homes or garages for their snowblowers, so we will provide some guidance on the best course of action for keeping your snowblower safe and functional during the winter months.

Leaving a snowblower outside in winter is not recommended. Extreme cold temperatures can cause damage to the machine’s components, such as the engine, cables, and fuel lines. Additionally, exposure to moisture, snow, and ice can lead to rust and corrosion, further compromising the snowblower’s performance. It is best to find a dry and sheltered area, such as a shed or garage, to store your snowblower when it is not in use. If you don’t have access to a covered space, consider investing in a snowblower cover to protect it from the elements. By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your snowblower will be in good working condition when you need it most.

Effects of Leaving a Snowblower Outside in Winter

When winter arrives, many homeowners are faced with the dilemma of where to store their snowblower. With limited space in the garage or shed, leaving the snowblower outside seems like a convenient solution. However, doing so can have detrimental effects on the performance and durability of the machine. In this article, we will discuss the various negative effects of leaving a snowblower outside in winter and provide tips on how to prevent damage and choose the right storage location.

Decreased Performance

One of the immediate effects of leaving a snowblower exposed to harsh winter conditions is decreased performance. As snow and ice accumulate on the machine, it can clog the chute, impeller, and other components, leading to inefficiency in clearing snow. The snowblower may struggle to throw snow properly and may even become completely inoperable in extreme cases. Additionally, the belts and cables can become stiff and brittle, hindering their ability to move smoothly and resulting in poor performance.

Damage to Components

Leaving a snowblower outside in winter exposes it to freezing temperatures, moisture, and other environmental elements. These factors can cause damage to various components of the machine, including the engine, fuel lines, and carburetor. The freezing temperatures can lead to cracks in the engine block or the housing, rendering the snowblower unusable. The moisture can also seep into sensitive parts and promote the growth of rust, further compromising the durability and functionality of the snowblower.

Corrosion and Rust

Exposure to winter elements such as snow, rain, and humidity can accelerate the corrosion and rusting process in a snowblower. Snow and ice can melt and seep into the nooks and crannies of the machine, causing the metal parts to corrode. Rust can develop on the blades, augers, and other metal surfaces, affecting their efficiency and longevity. Over time, the rust can eat away at the metal and cause irreparable damage to the snowblower.

Preventing Damage to a Snowblower Left Outside

To prevent the negative effects of leaving a snowblower outside in winter, it is crucial to take certain preventive measures. Here are some tips on how to protect your snowblower:

Covering the Snowblower

One of the simplest ways to protect a snowblower left outside is to cover it properly. Use a weather-resistant cover specifically designed for snowblowers to shield it from moisture and other elements. Ensure that the cover fits snugly over the machine and securely fastens, preventing any water or snow from seeping in.

Using a Protective Coating

Applying a protective coating to the exposed metal parts of the snowblower can help prevent corrosion and rust. There are various rust inhibitors and lubricants available in the market that can be sprayed or applied to the surfaces susceptible to damage. These coatings create a barrier against moisture and also improve the longevity of the snowblower.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to keeping a snowblower in good working condition, especially if it is stored outside in winter. Before winter sets in, perform a thorough inspection of the snowblower. Check for any loose or damaged parts and make the necessary repairs or replacements. Clean the machine of any debris or leftover snow. Apply lubrication to moving parts to ensure smooth operation. Conduct these maintenance tasks periodically throughout the winter to ensure optimum performance and prevent any potential damage.

Choosing the Right Storage Location for a Snowblower

While it may be tempting to leave the snowblower outside due to limited space, finding a suitable storage location is essential to protect the machine from winter elements. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right storage location for your snowblower:

Finding a Dry and Sheltered Area

The ideal storage location for a snowblower is a dry and sheltered area, away from direct exposure to snow, rain, and strong winds. Look for a spot in the garage, shed, or any covered structure where the snowblower can be protected from moisture and extreme temperatures. If no such space is available, consider investing in a portable storage shed or canopy specifically designed for storing outdoor equipment.

Avoiding Exposure to the Elements

When selecting a storage location for your snowblower, make sure it is not exposed to the elements, such as trees that can drop branches or power lines that may pose a hazard. Falling branches or debris can cause significant damage to the snowblower, particularly during heavy snowstorms or strong winds. Additionally, ensure that the storage area is well-ventilated to prevent the accumulation of moisture and condensation inside.

Considering Indoor Storage

If possible, opt for indoor storage for your snowblower. Storing the machine inside a heated space, such as a basement or a heated garage, provides the best protection against freezing temperatures and moisture. If indoor storage is not feasible, consider insulating the storage area or using a heater designed for outdoor use to minimize the impact of winter conditions on the snowblower.

Impact of Temperature on a Snowblower Left Outside

Leaving a snowblower outside in winter exposes it to extreme cold temperatures, which can have adverse effects on various parts of the machine. Here are some potential consequences of temperature exposure:

Freezing of Fuel Lines and Carburetor

Extreme cold temperatures can cause the fuel lines and carburetor in a snowblower to freeze. When the fuel lines freeze, fuel cannot flow properly, leading to engine stalling or failure to start. The carburetor, responsible for blending air and fuel for combustion, can also freeze, affecting the snowblower’s performance. These issues can be time-consuming and costly to fix if left unaddressed.

Inefficient Start-Up

Cold temperatures can make it more challenging to start a snowblower left outside. The oil in the engine thickens in cold conditions, making it harder for the engine to turn over. This can lead to prolonged and strenuous efforts to start the snowblower, putting unnecessary strain on the engine and other components. In extreme cases, the snowblower may not start at all, leaving you stranded without a way to clear snow.

Potential Engine Damage

Leaving a snowblower outside in extremely cold temperatures can cause severe damage to the engine. The metal components contract in the cold, and starting the engine without allowing it to warm up can cause undue stress on the internal parts. This can result in irreversible damage to the engine, leading to costly repairs or the need for a complete replacement.

Snowblower Maintenance During Winter Storage

Proper maintenance during winter storage is crucial to ensure the longevity and reliable performance of a snowblower. Here are some maintenance tasks to consider:

Proper Fuel Management

Before storing the snowblower for an extended period, it is essential to properly manage the fuel. Empty the fuel tank or add a fuel stabilizer to prevent the fuel from deteriorating and causing damage to the engine. Running the snowblower until the fuel tank is empty can also prevent the clogging of fuel lines and carburetor.

Cleaning and Lubricating

Clean the snowblower thoroughly before storing it for the winter. Remove any snow or ice buildup, and wash off any dirt or debris from the machine. Pay special attention to the chute, impeller, and other moving parts. Once cleaned, apply lubrication to these parts to prevent rust and ensure smooth operation.

Inspecting and Replacing Parts

Before storing the snowblower, conduct a thorough inspection of all components. Check the belts, cables, and other wearable parts for any signs of wear or damage. Replace any worn-out or broken parts to prevent further deterioration during storage. Inspecting and addressing these issues beforehand can save you time and money when the next winter season arrives.

Alternatives to Leaving a Snowblower Outside

If leaving a snowblower outside in winter is not an option or poses too many risks, consider exploring alternative storage solutions. Here are some alternatives to consider:

Garage or Shed Storage

If you have a garage or shed, make room for the snowblower inside. Clear out any unnecessary items and ensure there is enough space for the machine. If needed, install storage hooks or racks to keep the snowblower organized and easily accessible.

Renting Storage Space

If you do not have adequate storage space at home, consider renting a storage unit specifically designed for outdoor equipment. These facilities provide protection against the elements and offer a secure and convenient location to store your snowblower during the winter months.

Sharing Storage Facilities

If you have neighbors or friends who also own snowblowers, consider sharing a storage facility or splitting the cost of renting storage space. This way, you can all benefit from the convenience and protection of indoor storage without the need for individual spaces.

Providing Adequate Security for a Snowblower

Snowblowers can be an attractive target for theft, especially when left outside and easily accessible. Here are some security measures you can take to protect your snowblower:

Locking Mechanisms

Invest in quality locking mechanisms to secure the snowblower. Use heavy-duty padlocks to lock the snowblower to a stationary object, such as a post or a fence, to deter potential thieves. Consider using locking cables for added security.

Security Cameras

Installing security cameras in your storage area is an effective deterrent against theft. The presence of cameras can discourage potential thieves and provide evidence in case of any security breaches.

Proper Lighting

Ensure that the storage area is well-lit to deter thieves. Motion sensor lights can be particularly effective in illuminating the area when someone approaches or tampering is detected. Good lighting also helps you to inspect and maintain the snowblower more easily.

Considerations for Limited Storage Options

If you are restricted by limited storage space, there are still measures you can take to protect your snowblower. Here are some considerations:

Covering the Snowblower with a Tarp

If a suitable storage location is not available, covering the snowblower with a waterproof tarp can provide some protection against the elements. Ensure that the tarp is securely fastened to prevent water or snow from seeping in.

Using Anti-Theft Devices

Invest in anti-theft devices designed specifically for snowblowers. These devices can include wheel locks, steering locks, and other mechanisms that make it more difficult for thieves to steal the snowblower.

Removing Recurring Snow Buildup

If you must leave the snowblower outside, make a habit of regularly removing any snow or ice buildup from the machine. This will prevent excess weight and potential damage to the snowblower. Use a brush or a plastic shovel to gently remove the snow without scratching or damaging the surfaces.

Long-Term Effects of Leaving a Snowblower Outside in Winter

Leaving a snowblower outside in winter can have long-term consequences on the machine’s performance, lifespan, and value. Here are some effects to consider:

Decreased Lifespan

The constant exposure to winter elements can significantly reduce the lifespan of a snowblower. The accumulation of snow, ice, and moisture in various components can cause premature wear and tear. As a result, the snowblower may require more frequent repairs and replacements, ultimately shortening its overall lifespan.

Reduced Resale Value

A snowblower that has been left outside in winter may not fetch a high resale value. The visible signs of rust, corrosion, and other damage can deter potential buyers, leading to a lower selling price. Furthermore, the compromised performance and shorter lifespan may also negatively impact the perceived value of the snowblower.

Higher Maintenance Costs

Leaving a snowblower outside in winter can lead to more frequent and costly maintenance. The need for repairs and replacements due to the effects of exposure to harsh winter conditions can add up over time. The cost of addressing these issues can far exceed the cost of proper storage and preventive measures.


In conclusion, leaving a snowblower outside in winter can have detrimental effects on its performance, durability, and resale value. The decreased performance, damage to components, and corrosion caused by exposure to winter elements can significantly impact the functionality and longevity of the machine. To prevent damage, it is crucial to choose the right storage location, provide adequate security, and perform regular maintenance. By following these tips and considering alternative storage options, you can ensure that your snowblower remains in top shape and ready to tackle the winter snowfall.