So you’re probably wondering, “Can I use a snowblower on a gravel driveway?” Do you want to know if you can use a snowblower on gravel? If you don’t know what type of snow blower to use, clearing a snow-filled gravel driveway can appear to be a daunting task. Many people with gravel driveways end up spending a lot of money purchasing the wrong snowblower. For example, they discover that they have bought a snowblower machine meant for paved surfaces and they later find out that they need a different model. You can avoid making this expensive mistake. Discover whereby to select the best snow blower for your gravel driveway.
When shopping for a snow thrower, you must pay close attention. For example, you could look for a snowblower that has a variety of features and works well in a coarse dredged driveway. You’ll need something which can throw snow a little further than the others. Perhaps you want a machine that does the best job possible regardless of extras like warm grips.
While shovels and other tools can remove snow from driveways, they are time-consuming and inefficient. It could also be exhausting if you are attempting to clear a large area. And this is where the snowblower comes into play. It is an efficient snow remover that operates similarly to a lawnmower. A snowplow will solve your problem if you have massive sheets of snow covering your driveway. Snowblowers are far more effective and convenient to use than other alternatives.
If you’ve never used or purchased a snowblower before, you’ll be blown away by the modern models. High-end snowblower features such as heating grip (to keep your hands warm while working), push-button power steering, and airless tires have been made possible by ever-evolving technology. You can, however, work with basic snowblowers as long as they do the job. so if you are asking, Can I use a snowblower on a gravel driveway? Pay attention.
Why it pays to choose the right snowblower
If you go to any online retailer that sells snowblower machines, you will quickly become overwhelmed by the variety of options available to you. How can you possibly make the best decision? If this is your first time purchasing a snowblower, the options may well be overwhelming. We’ve compiled a comprehensive snowblower machine guide to help you choose the best snow blower for your needs.
It is critical to purchase the best snow blower for your needs rather than the cheapest one. Yes, affordability is a factor to consider, but it is not the only factor to take into consideration when selecting the right snowblower for your gravel driveway. Other more important considerations must be made.
You don’t want to waste your money on a machine that won’t do the job correctly. For example, if you buy the wrong snowblower, you might end up slinging gravel into your neighbors’ doors and windows. So, if you’re looking for a snowblower to remove snow from specific surfaces, such as gravel driveways, price should not be the first consideration. Single-stage snowblowers, for example, are cheap but ineffective at removing snow from gravel driveways.
Single-stage snowblowers are available in both electric and gas models. Although their work is to clear snow from driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and porches, they are only suitable for clearing light snow that does not exceed 2 feet in height. These machines’ bottoms make contact with the ground from which they are removing snow. As a result, they are also ill-suited for removing snow from uneven terrain.
Because you are specifically looking for snow blowers that can clear snow from your gravel driveway, avoid purchasing these machines because they can damage your property as well as the property of your neighbors. Given the fact that these snowblowers can throw gravel and stones 20 feet or more, you can imagine the amount of damage they can cause. You run the risk of damaging your neighbors’ car screens, windows, or other delicate items. The machine should not be used on a gravel driveway.
What is the best type of snowblower for a gravel driveway?
Gas-powered snow blowers outperform electric snowblower machines on gravel. To avoid contact with the ground, raise the scoop of the machine. It may also include adjustable snow gear or skis to improve performance and reliability. These features enable the device to pick ice, snow, and muck while leaving rocks, stones, and gravel on the ground. To put it another way, it acts as a buffer. You can choose between a three-stage and a two-stage snowblower. Any of the two ought to be able to do the job more effectively than the single-stage snowblower.
However, a distinction must be drawn between a two-stage snowblower and a three-stage snowblower. It is essential so that you can make informed choices.
Let us compare and contrast the two snowblowers.
The most popular among homeowners are two-stage snow blower machines. They are available in a variety of prices, sizes, and engine power levels. They typically come with two augers. The augers’ job is to scoop snow, grind it, direct it to the propellers, and blow it out. A two-stage snowblower can blow freezing rain up to 50 feet away. The main benefit of this snow blower is that it will not blow stones or pebbles, making it more suitable for use around the house.
Another significant benefit of a two-stage snow blower is it’s more impactful than a single-stage snowplow. As a result, two-stage snow impellers are better suited for wet or heavy snow. Even though the machine’s bottom is low, it does not touch the ground. As a result, it can only grab snow and ignore gravel and other non-snow materials. It also has an adjustable height to make it easier to adjust to the proper height when dealing with larger than average gravel.
There is very little difference between a two-stage and a three-stage snow blower machine. However, some minute differences are worth noting. These differences, though small, result in differences in the functionality of the machine. These differences result in differences in pricing as well. So what are the differences?
The three augers on the three-stage snow blower give it its name. Two augers are in the front, and the third is in the back. The third auger serves as an accelerator as well. When you turn on the machine, the first two augers scoop the snow, turn it, and push it to the back, where the third auger spins it through the snowblower further. The bottom of the three-stage snowblower, like the bottom of the two-stage snowblower, does not come into contact with the ground. It is raised above the ground in comparison to the two-stage snowblower. It means that when scooping snow, the three-stage snowblower machines can avoid rocks and gravel.
The three-stage snow blower’s pneumatic drive is specially designed for the machine to move snow. As a result, they are easier to work with. It could explain why three-stage snow blowers are more costly than two-stage snowblower machines. Three-stage snow blower machines are more powerful and easier to use than one-stage and two-stage snowblower machines. They can scope snow from the ground without using a single pebble or piece of gravel. They are also much larger than the other two, necessitating more storage space for them. However, if you are working in shallow snow, a two-stage snowblower is preferable. One thing with the three-stage snow blower is that it is harder to handle than the others.
How high should you adjust the snowblower for gravel driveway
Clearing snow on a gravel driveway will necessitate some modifications to your snowblower. You must adjust the height of your auger’s clearance. It is significant because it allows you to remove. It is critical to adjust the auger height to ensure that you are removing as much snow as possible from the surface without removing the gravel.
There are no specific guidelines on how high your discharge length should be. It all comes down to experimentation and simply trying out different heights to see which one works best for you. You want a length that will remove the most snow while leaving no gravel or stones behind. If you’re unsure where to begin or how to get started, it’s best to commence as high as possible and adjust the height downwards.
Depending on the thickness of your gravel, You are likely to pick a few stones from time to time, but that should not worry you. Make sure that the snow is thrown into a safe place because chances are there could be a few stones in the mix.
How can I improve the performance of my snowblower?
If you’ve already purchased a snowblower for your gravel driveway, you might be wondering if it will function as well as it was advertised. You don’t have to be concerned about anything. Certain things must be done if you want your snowblower to grip better, blow faster, scoop snow better, or throw it farther. Of course, your snow thrower may have those features when it is new, but over time, you will notice that they become inefficient.
The main reason for this is that many of its parts become degraded. As a result, the proper approach to enhance your machine’s effectiveness is to ensure that its performance is sustained through regular adjustments. So, the next time you’re disappointed by decreased functionality and performance, check to see if any adjustments have gone out of place and make the necessary changes. These are things you can quickly resolve in your garage without having to run around.
Below are some of the steps to take to improve the performance of your snowblower machine.
Read the user manual carefully
The first step, as with any machine, is to ensure that you operate and maintain your machine exactly as the manufacturer intended. Each device comes with a user guide that details the installation, operation, safety, and maintenance procedures. Each model has its guideline. Do not assume that a user manual for one snowblower model will apply to another.
How to make your snow blower scrap better
Every snowblower has a scraper blade at the bottom of the auger housing. This blade’s purpose is to scrape and remove snow from the surface. Because of the friction between the surface and the scraper blade, this blade wears off with each clearance. After a few seasons, the scraper blade may become worn. When this happens, you’ll notice that the snowblower isn’t scraping off all the snow from the ground, leaving some behind.
If you have a single-stage snowblower, you won’t have to worry because these models come with self-adjusting scraper bars and spring-loaders. That is, they will adjust themselves to compensate for their wear. If you have a two-stage or three-stage snow blower, you will need to manually adjust the scraper bars. If the material on your three-stage or two-stage blower is too worn out and you need it to scrape the snow more effectively, try repositioning it.
To adjust the blade of the snow blower, follow the instructions in the user manual. For the avoidance of doubt, below is what you need to do.
The first thing is to loosen the scraper blade. You can locate the scraper blade at the bottom of the housing of the snowblower. Once you have loosened the blade, now adjust it down to the appropriate level and tighten the scraper blade. Make sure that it is tight enough.
You must remember to adjust your skid shoes as well when you alter the scraper blade. The procedure will not be complete without changing the skid shoes.
If your scraper blade is too old to be adjusted any further down, then it is time to replace it. Just walk to your local snowblower retailer and ask for a new snowblower blade replacement or order online.
How to adjust the clearing height
Each two-stage snowblower has a couple of steel plates attached to the external housing of the snowblower. The two steel plates are known as skid shoes. Since you are snow blowing a gravel driveway, you need to adjust your skid shoes by lowering the height of the skid shoes. The purpose of lowering the height of the skid shoes is to increase the height between the snowblower housing and the scraper bar. Since you don’t want your snowblower to pick gravel and stones from the ground surface, you have to ensure that the machine has higher snowblower clearance.
What would happen if you raised the height of the skid shoes? If you lift the height of the skid shoes, the height between the clearance surface and the scraper bar will decrease. So you end up achieving a lower clearance height for the snow. It will not be ideal for a gravel surface but will be the most recommended height for paved surfaces.
Skid shoe height adjustment is made every time you adjust the height of the scraper blade. It is crucial to maintain the right clearance height at all times. Failure to maintain the correct height can lead to problems when clearing snow.
Like the scraper blade, you also need to read the manual that comes with a snowblower carefully. If you haven’t read the user manual, below are the steps to take when adjusting the skid shoes.
Ensure that the position of the space between the left and right sides of the scraper bar is correct. The recommended spacer for clearing gravel surface is 1/2 inches. The clearing space of a paved surface is 1/8 inches.
Once that is done, now loosen the skid shoes and adjust the position accordingly. Finally, tighten the skid shoe hardware.
Some surfaces are delicate. For instance, pavers or brick surfaces can get destroyed if you use abrasive skid shoes. It is better to use non-abrasive skid shoes for smoother surfaces rather than the usual steel skid shoes. If so, you can also use composite or polymer skid shoes. It will make your snow-blowing process even much better.
How to make your snowblower drive straight
The condition of your snowblower wheel can determine the effectiveness of your snowblower machine. Maybe the tires are not well aligned; hence, they are not driving straight. The other possible reason could be due to differences in tire pressures. Either one tire is more inflated than the others. When this happens, the machine can have an imbalance and lean on one side while in use. Underinflated tires can negatively affect how your snowblower drives or grips. Put uniform pressure on all your tires to avoid the differences. Check the label on your tire to see the recommended pound-force per square inch (PSI). Ensure all the tires have been inflated to their recommended PSI for uniformity.
Adjust the snowblower tracks
Make sure that there is no tension between the right and the left track of the snowblower. Such tensions can make the snow blower pull in one direction when driving. For instance, if there is more tension to the left, the snowblower will pull to the left. Ensure that the track tension is equal. If it is not uniform, you should make adjustments accordingly. Check the adjuster at the backtrack of the snowblower carriage. So if the machine is pulling towards the left, reach the left track adjuster and tighten it. If it is pulling towards the right, use the right adjuster to adjust. You can also do a combination of both.
How to make your snowblower to throw further
If the snowblower has become less powerful and can no longer throw snow as far as it used to be, it is time to make some adjustments. You could start by checking if the auger drive is applying sufficient tension to the auger drive belt. Remember, the auger drive belt has to grip the auger pulley well enough to turn the belt fast enough to achieve a more powerful throw. Another reason why the snowblower is not throwing the snow further is that the belt could be old. In other words, if the snowblower is not clearing the snow well, it could mean that the belt is not gripping the auger drive pulley well.
The best way to fix this issue is to adjust the auger clutch cable and the auger driver idler. If all of those fails, you need to replace the auger drive belt. Inevitably, your belt is gradually going to wear out. But you need to try and make the adjustment before you can replace the belt. You can adjust the tension of the auger drive belt in two ways.
- Tighten the clutch cable
- Adjust auger idle position
To adjust the auger belt tension using the clutch cable entails adjusting the clutch lever to apply enough tension to the auger drive belt. It reduces the looseness of the auger clutch cable. A loose clutch cable makes the clutch lever not apply enough pressure to the drive belt. If you have checked and ascertained that the auger clutch cable is loose, you need to loosen the jam nut. The jam nut is located on the barrel. After you have loosened out the nut, make adjustments to the cable until it is no longer slacking. Once it is tight enough, tighten the jam nut.
If you have just adjusted and fastened the auger cable, you also need to make adjustments to the auger drive as well. The auger drive idler needs to be repositioned on the attachment arm below the cover of the belt if the auger cable has been fastened. Moving the auger idler closer to the belt creates enough tension in the belt immediately after the clutch lever is attached. As a precautionary measure, ensure to check idler arm roller clearance before you make adjustments to the idler position. You should go through the user manual of your snowblower while making these adjustments. If you are not sure or you cannot get the right adjustments after several attempts, you can consult an expert.
How to increase the speed of your snowblower machine
If you have been using your snowblower for some time now, there is a high possibility that it has lost some of its power. The constant friction disc of the snowblower could be worn out. We have already mentioned that the belts can wear out with time. It is the same with a friction disk. You should expect that because any machine is bound to experience wear and tear in its parts. It affects the speed of the equipment because the friction disk loses its ability to contact the wheel drive as firmly as it used to when it was new. This problem can be resolved by increasing the friction to the wheel drive pulley. When you increase the tension of the wheel drive pulley, it increases the speed.
The same way you increase the tension of the wheel drive clutch cable is the same way you adjust the auger drive cable. However, there is a small difference because the wheel drive clutch cable runs from the level of the clutch on the left to the left side of the handlers of the machine and the rear of the frame of the snowblower. When making adjustments to the cable of the wheel drive, you first need to loosen the jam nut which can be found on the drive cable’s adjustment barrel. Tighten the cable to remove the slackness by turning down the adjustment barrel. Once this is done, tighten the jam nut on the adjustment barrel.
If the above efforts do not improve the performance of the machine’s drive speed, it is probably time you replaced the friction disk. Read the user manual that came with your equipment to ensure that you have followed the correct steps. If you miss any of the steps, you are likely to have problems.
If your snowblower seems to be slowing down, then some adjustments are necessary. Snowblower machines come with pre-engineered speeds. So you will not be able to make adjustments to the gear ratios of the machine. However, once the pre-set drive speed reduces, you need to make a simple adjustment to the adjustment pin. The adjustment pin is located at the shift rod end.
Through the back of the frame of the snowblower machine, disconnect the shift rod from the shift arm. Next, you need to place the shifter or speed selector lever in the fastest forward position. Next, the shift arm should be turned as far down as it can go to allow you to turn the adjustment barrel around the shift rod. Do this until it aligns with the shift arm.
Things you need to consider when buying a snowblower machine
If you are dealing with snow on gravel that is heavy, there are things you need to consider before selecting a suitable machine. As we have already mentioned, you need a snowblower whose auger and impeller are set higher up from the ground to prevent it from scooping stones and gravel.
Choosing the most suitable snow blower can be a daunting task if you are confronted with a huge selection of snow blower models. If this is the first time you are trying to purchase a snowblower, you will take time before you understand the important features you need to look at. The information above has already given you a hands-on approach to identifying the right snowblower for the gravel.
Having said that, let us look at some of the things you need to consider before purchasing a snowblower. The aim is to enable you to select the best possible model for your needs with a small budget.
Winter is fast approaching, and the earlier you purchase your snowblower the better. Most retailers are fully stocked with the latest models at the beginning of the season. The best thing is not to wait. The longer you wait, the less likely it is that you will get the best model. If you buy early, you can get a chance to grab attractive discounts. The retailers would want to warm up the season with some attractive discounts. So waiting is risky because you will pay a lot of money and end up with a machine that doesn’t fit your needs. The best time to start shopping is around September and early October.
Asses the surface you are going to snowblower
The nature of your driveway is going to determine the type of snowblower you are going to purchase. For example, a single-stage snow blower is a perfect choice for a gentle, flat concrete driveway. However, it is not a good choice for gravel or dirt-filled driveway. Using a single-stage snow blower on a gravel driveway can cause a disaster because it will scoop gravel and throw it all over the place. At the same time, the rubber auger will be destroyed.
Assess the average snowfall depth
Did you know that the type and depth of snow you have is a big factor when it comes to determining the type of snowblower you choose? If you have deep snow, then the best snow blower is a two or three-staged self-propelled snowblower. It is easy to use because it has a more powerful engine than the single-stage snowblower.
Choose a snow blower with a power steering feature
A snowblower with a power steering feature is easier to use and gentle on your back. Most two or three-stage snow blowers are very heavy and are not easy to turn around. The power steering feature of a snowblower allows one to turn the machine at the end of the path without much effort. You can turn 180% without taxing your back. The latest models let you instantly turn very easily.
If you can afford it, this is a great feature to have. This is especially helpful if you’ve got very tight corners on your driveway. A power steering feature allows you to make easy and sleek turns. Be ready to part with an extra $100 to have this feature in your snowblower machine.
Consider the chute speed and rotation
Every time you come to the end of the path or the wind changes directions, you also have to adjust the direction of the snowblower. Low-end snow blowers come with cranks in the chute rotation. It means that as soon as you come to the end of the path and you want to change direction, you have to stop and manually turn the crank before you can proceed. Moreover, you also have to make adjustments to the chute pitch if you want to change the range of the snow throw. However, with the more expensive, high-end snow blowers, the control panel of the operator has a feature that allows the operator to change the pitch and direction electronically. Those features are suitable for those who want to operate the machine faster.
Consider the width of your driveway
Different driveways have different widths. How wide and how long is your driveway? How long are you planning to be snow blowing out in the cold? You don’t fancy spending a lot of time in the cold trying to get snow out of the way. Look for a snowblower with a wider blade that can shift as much snow as possible. Choose the one with a wider width so that you can shift the maximum amount of snow in one trip.
An important consideration to be made here is that the wider the blower the more it will cost. Also, wide snow blowers will occupy more space. So as you decide on the width of the snow blower, also consider your budget. You also need to consider the available storage.
The other thing you need to consider is that wider snow blowers come with bigger engines, and are more powerful. If your driveway is made of gravel, it is best to get a snow blower that is more powerful and wider. You want to be done with clearing the driveway within the shortest time possible.
Choose plastic chutes
Did you know that plastic chutes are better than steel? Does this make sense? Well, the fact is that plastic chutes work better and tend to last longer than steel chutes. Because of the nature of the material, plastic chutes will throw snow without the snow sticking because they are slippery. Another thing that makes plastic chutes to be better than steel is the fact that plastic doesn’t dent, chip, or crack when exposed to extreme weather conditions. Its flexibility and rust resistance make them better than steel.
Do you really need headlights
Some snow blowers come with headlights while others don’t. Now the question is, do you need your snow blowers to have headlights? You might think that you will only need to work with the snowblower during the day. However, the truth is that you might have to clear the snow at odd hours. Sometimes it will still be dark outside when you are clearing the snow at the driveway very early in the morning. Therefore you need the headlights. The headlights are important because they will help you to clear the obstacles that may jam and destroy the machine.
Choose the right tires
Inflatable tires can cause a real headache. They are constantly in need of refilling and repair. Sometimes the pressure in one tire is not the same as the other tires. It causes the snowblower to lose balance. For example, if the tires on the left side have more pressure than those on the right side, the snowblower will pull in the right side and vice versa. Airless tires are good because they will never go flat. Airless tires work just like the traditional pressure tires except that they are made of a special polymer material.
They can shed snow and have good traction. They are the best choice for gravel driveways because they don’t need any maintenance. Working on gravel can cause your tires to go flat. The main reason for this is the constant friction between the sharp stones and the tires. So airless tires are the best choice for gravel driveways.
Choose the right powered-snowblower
Gasoline-powered snow blowers are not easy to start in cold weather. It can take several ropes pulls to get the engine started. It is also not good for your back and shoulders. With an electric start, all it takes is to push a button, and the machine starts. If you care for your back, choose a snowblower that has an electric start.
Clearing snow on a gravel driveway is the most challenging task among all other surfaces. While shovels and other tools can remove snow from driveways, they are time-consuming and inefficient. It could also be exhausting if you are attempting to clear a large area. And this is where the snowblower comes into play. It is an efficient snow remover that operates similarly to a lawnmower. A snowplow will solve your problem if you have massive sheets of snow covering your driveway. Snowblowers are far more effective and convenient to use than other alternatives.
Choosing the correct snow blower machine for the gravel driveway is very important. The best snow blower for this type of surface is a two or three-stage snowblower because it is more powerful, and its height is appropriate for clearing snow on gravel. Three-stage or two-stage snowblowers are also preferable because their impeller and auger are set high above the ground. This prevents them from picking stones and other unwanted materials from the ground when clearing snow from the driveway. If you have thick snow, these are the best options.
Single-stage snowblowers might be less expensive, but they are not the best options if you want to clear snow from the driveway. Their impeller and auger are set very low from the ground. Therefore, they can pick stones and gravel when clearing snow from the gravel driveway. Their blades can also get destroyed in the process.