STORM WATCH: Will your snowblower start? Here's what to check

For most of Connecticut, this weekend will be the first plowable snow in at least a year – and in some cases, two years.
If your snowblower has been collecting dust in the garage, will it even start? And if it doesn't, is there time to get it fixed?
The answer to both questions might be "no."
"WE ARE BUSY"
At Brandman's Equipment in Norwalk, it's quiet on the outside. But in the garage, things are buzzing.
"We are busy," said co-owner Edgar Torres.
Busy with almost a dozen snow blowers in need of repairs – and calls from nervous homeowners.
"Their snowblower won't start, and now they're panicking because a storm's coming," he said.
TOO LATE TO GET IT FIXED?
If your snowblower is stalling, Torres said they probably can't fix it by Saturday night's snow.
"It is very, very slim," he said. "It really depends on what it needs."
Simple fixes like cleaning out a fuel pump might be possible, but larger repairs will have to wait – thanks to a parts shortage.
"I have some snowthrowers that are from the end of November still being worked on because we were waiting for parts," said Torres.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Before you start your snowblower, Torres suggested looking carefully for damage. He said mice are your biggest enemy.
"There are times where they will chew on this drive disc," he said. "They will lock up the gears. They'll have acorns in here. They'll have all this bedding material. It'll actually get jammed in between these gears."
Even if you get your snowblower to start, it may not be safe. Mice can also chew through your gas cap, which could cause a fire.
"You will get fuel running down into the hot engine," said Torres.
Also check for frayed cables and missing bolts by the blades.
PREPARE, DON'T PANIC
For most areas, this weekend's snowfall should be manageable. But even if you don't need your snowblower this weekend, Torres urged people to check it now – so you have enough time to complete critical repairs before a major snowstorm.
"I think people are now getting used to no snow," he said. "So now that we have a storm that might be substantial, everyone's panicking."