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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I'm new here and have a question that is as old as time: do I need tracks? Bare with me though since I do have some options and a pic included in case that helps.

First winter at our new house and we’re looking to get a snowblower (first snowblower). Interior of BC Canada so I'm assuming a reasonable amount of snow...apparently 11' is an average year.

We aren’t sure what type to get. We have a fairly long gravel/dirt driveway (about 350’ per a measurement on Google) that has a decent slope to it as well (see attached…that is the steepest part of the driveway). We aren’t sure if we require a snowblower with tracks or maybe some chains with suffice.

We do have an old ATV with a plow that the previous owner of the house left behind (providing I can repair the mounts for the plow lol) but they said that the ATV alone was not enough if the snow was very heavy or to throw the snow further off the driveway (since with a plow alone it will get narrower and narrower.)

We have a few options as well.

1) We can park at the top of the steepest pitch so the steeped part only NEEDS to be walkable. Technically we can even park at the top of the driveway but that would be annoying.

2) I can store the snowblower closer to the top of the driveway so it would mostly only need to do a downward slope when actually plowing (I don't know if that even makes a difference)

Specific model suggestions would be nice but step 1 is figuring out what I NEED. We don't want to spend so much to get a Honda but I've after doing some research I've heard some good things about Arien. Or if you have a diamond in the rough company that no one else knows about ;)

I'm going to ask the suggestion of a "local" dealer (about 45 minutes away) but I don't have any exsiting relationship with them yet so not sure if they'll try to upsell me.

Tire Car Plant Sky Vehicle
 

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Welcome to SBF. 🍻

You're going to want something heavy-duty for sure... what exactly will depend on your ability (or desire) to manhandle the machine.

My market here is a little different than Canada's, but someone will be along with more specific recommendations.
 

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I'm going to stick my head into the dragons mouth and suggest you DONT want a Honda. That's a lot of gravel, you want an old heavy built blower that will spit gravel without breaking a shear pin. My suggestion would be old ariens, old silver craftsman, or old toro. Beyond that, a track would be best so you can blow both uphill and down, but only the craftsman will fit that particular bill.
(Ducking back into my foxhole)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm going to stick my head into the dragons mouth and suggest you DONT want a Honda. That's a lot of gravel, you want an old heavy built blower that will spit gravel without breaking a shear pin. My suggestion would be old ariens, old silver craftsman, or old toro. Beyond that, a track would be best so you can blow both uphill and down, but only the craftsman will fit that particular bill.
(Ducking back into my foxhole)
LOL interesting points! Thanks for the input
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
350 feet.....is a blower for the front of the atv an option?
Oh! I hadn't even thought of thought. I'll have to look it up and see if that is an option. A quick google search looks like it exists but not sure the costs or the compatibility with my old ATV.

UPDATE: Not cheap lol
 

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You need a Honda 1132 if you can find an older unit in good repair. Best start shopping Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace now as the demand goes up throughout the fall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You need a Honda 1132 if you can find an older unit in good repair. Best start shopping Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace now as the demand goes up throughout the fall.
Thanks! I'll keep an eye out for this model. I've heard getting an older Honda isn't a problem reliability wise. Only Honda I've seen so far was a 24" and I figure that would be too small.
 

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A twenty-four (24) inch blower would not cut it for your snowfall and driveway size. Maybe a 28", but I think you would be much better off with a 32".

With your slope and the gravel, you definitely want a tracked unit. My 2 cents with a Honda bias tossed in for free.

Diggin the ski avatar. Where exactly are you in BC?
 

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See the link to an older post with a situation similar to yours (without gravel).

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A twenty-four (24) inch blower would not cut it for your snowfall and driveway size. Maybe a 28", but I think you would be much better off with a 32".

With your slope and the gravel, you definitely want a tracked unit. My 2 cents with a Honda bias tossed in for free.

Diggin the ski avatar. Where exactly are you in BC?
Good to hear that a 28" might work. 28 was the smallest I was thinking.

I think I knew that track would be better but I was trying to save some money and seeing if I could get away with tires and chains (particularly if I stored the snowblower higher up on the driveway and only plowed going downhill...but I might regret trying to same money a year or two from now.)

Just moved to this new place. I'm about 35 minutes west of Kamloops.

See the link to an older post with a situation similar to yours (without gravel).

I'll check out that older post and see if I can gather any tips!
 

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you could possibly get away with a wheeled machined but a tracked machine would likely be better because of the hill. if your handy you could always search for a cheap wheeled machine that could always become a backup machine if you find something better. definitely the bigger the better for a driveway that big but bigger snowblowers can sometimes be easier to find cheap since most of the times big machines are just too big for the average driveway. most of the snowblowers that i pick up free or very cheap are generally 28-30" machines.
 

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TRACK ARE NOT BETTER in icy situations. If your driveway develops ice in the tire tracks you should consider V-bar style tire chains. Not the standard cross chains. When it comes to snow blowers, very dangerous to have a heavy blower slide down a steep incline on ice.

Tire Bicycle tire Automotive tire White Black
 
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But tracks (crawlers) ARE better if you want to be able to lift the augers slightly on demand to keep them out of the gravel...
Toy Automotive tire Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive design
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Auger Height Control: Variable auger heights for unbeatable clearing ability.
The all-new auger height control lever allows you to easily adjust auger housing height with just the press of a thumb. Variable positions let you choose the best height for different surface conditions. Raise the auger for uneven clearing surfaces. Or lower the auger to clear down to the pavement or cut through hard packed snow - without riding up on the snow being removed. The auger height control gives you the ability to match the snow blower to your needs.

Pneumatic gas strut
Honda's addition of a pneumatic gas strut to the auger height control system gives the user smooth and accurate auger housing adjustment.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
you could possibly get away with a wheeled machined but a tracked machine would likely be better because of the hill. if your handy you could always search for a cheap wheeled machine that could always become a backup machine if you find something better. definitely the bigger the better for a driveway that big but bigger snowblowers can sometimes be easier to find cheap since most of the times big machines are just too big for the average driveway. most of the snowblowers that i pick up free or very cheap are generally 28-30" machines.
Oh! Here's to hoping I find someone looking to unload their larger machine!

Maybe an unpopular opinion here but, similar to what you said about getting a backup wheeled machine, I've thought about getting one of Costco's largest machines (28" currently) because if there are reliability issues then they have a great return policy. I wouldn't abuse it for stupid maintenance issues but it reduces the worries of getting a used lemon. I guess the issue is that I wouldn't know what to look out for buying second hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
TRACK ARE NOT BETTER in icy situations. If your driveway develops ice in the tire tracks you should consider V-bar style tire chains. Not the standard cross chains. When it comes to snow blowers, very dangerous to have a heavy blower slide down a steep incline on ice.

View attachment 180562
Super good to know about the V-style!! Was researching chains a bit for the ATV even and wasn't sure what style was for what. Thank you!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
But tracks (crawlers) ARE better if you want to be able to lift the augers slightly on demand to keep them out of the gravel...
View attachment 180563 View attachment 180564
Auger Height Control: Variable auger heights for unbeatable clearing ability.
The all-new auger height control lever allows you to easily adjust auger housing height with just the press of a thumb. Variable positions let you choose the best height for different surface conditions. Raise the auger for uneven clearing surfaces. Or lower the auger to clear down to the pavement or cut through hard packed snow - without riding up on the snow being removed. The auger height control gives you the ability to match the snow blower to your needs.

Pneumatic gas strut
Honda's addition of a pneumatic gas strut to the auger height control system gives the user smooth and accurate auger housing adjustment.
Oh yeah! That would be super handy!! If I were always leaving it at a higher height then is that any different than adjusting the skid shoes to the max height (on a wheel blower)?
 

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Oh yeah! That would be super handy!! If I were always leaving it at a higher height then is that any different than adjusting the skid shoes to the max height (on a wheel blower)?
I find myself constantly adjusting the auger height on my HSS1332AATD. I use the height adjust virtually every time I turn at the end of a pass (I can spin in place) and whenever I get to the end of a run where I then back up. It's just super handy. I also have an asphalt driveway, granite walkway/patio blocks, gravel drive in front of and beside my barn, and several long walks across the lawn to the oil fill and the back doors. It's great to be able to adjust the height on the fly.
 
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I've thought about getting one of Costco's largest machines (28" currently) because if there are reliability issues then they have a great return policy.
ya i have heard really good thing about the return policy at costco so it definitely wouldn't be bad to go new from somewhere like that. buying used can be a bit of a gamble but generally i am only looking when they are cheap cheap. the 28" machine i got for my aunts rescue was $20 and the muffler needed new bolt and it had a flat tire but it ran and worked. it even had electric start. picked up another machine a couple months ago for free that just needs a new drive cable and if i really wanted to i could red neck repair it for under $5 but i have dealt with enough machines to know what i am getting myself into.

my only advised whatever route you go is try to find a local supply of ethanol free gas. shell or canadian tires 91 octane gas is ethanol free. the ethanol free gas is better for the fuel system long term and you are less likely to have issues with the carb if you run it.
 
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