BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) – Before any snowflakes had fallen, Jim Olsen was busy in his garage Thursday evening. He changed in the oil in his snow blower and gave it fresh fuel, giving him a calm confidence that his trusty winter tool would be ready.
“If you’re running the proper fuel in it, most of the time you’re not gonna have an issue,” he said, referencing how he uses non-oxygenated gas to extend the blower’s life. Sure enough, it started right up. “I just don’t want to be stuck here in the garage (Friday) pulling away at a snow blower that doesn’t start.”
That’s the type of phone call Maxwell Holly knows he’ll get this weekend.
“Hey, my snow blower doesn’t start, can you fit me in today? And I’ll have to say no,” the small engine mechanic said. He runs Wellington Motors and has a shop full of snow blowers getting tuned up or repaired.
Despite having a certain skillset that keeps him busy, he said there’s several small fixes owners can do themselves. He suggests people change the oil and spark plug every season, stick to non-oxygenated fuel to protect the carburetor, and monitor the skid shoes on the sides of the blower to make sure they’re not worn down.
“Once this (skid shoe) pad is worn off, then you just have to replace them, they’re like $12 bucks a piece,” he said.
But if that all sounds difficult to manage, such as checking the belts in the engine to make sure they’re not worn down, Holly will always suggest to call a small engine repair shop. The only problem is it might take days, if not weeks, to get an appointment scheduled.
While he focuses on repairs, Minneapolis plow trucks be timing out the impending snow and pre-treating roads until then.
“We’ll probably have about 50 trucks out on the streets during the day as it’s snowing hard, we’ll also be out trying to treat trails and bike lanes,” said Mike Kennedy, Director of Transportation Maintenance and Repair for the city’s public works department.
With several inches expected to fall, he suggests people avoid unnecessary trips and work from home if that’s an option. He anticipates the peak of the snow storm will be in the evening. “The evening commute could be pretty tough,” he said.
If you park in the street, be ready for a possible snow emergency. Kennedy anticipates one could be declared Friday or Saturday in Minneapolis. And don’t forget to shovel sidewalks. Homeowners have 24 hours to clear a path in Minneapolis or face a possible ticket. All other properties like businesses and apartment complexes have to clear sidewalks within four hours of sunrise, he said.