Like any great piece of power equipment, Honda’s HS521 snowthrower must be carefully maintained during the winter months to ensure that it functions perfectly each time there’s a bit of snow to clear. The equipment requires regular oil changes, spark plug checks and much more, as described in the included instruction manual. For those homeowners who are new to the HS521 or to snowthrower in general, there are a few key pieces of information to keep in mind as maintenance proceeds throughout the coldest months of the year.
The Maintenance Schedule: An Essential Guide for Snowthrower Owners
The maintenance schedule is an important part of the HS521 snowthrower’s instruction manual that should never be ignored. The maintenance schedule shows exactly when to perform key types of maintenance, including oil checks and changes, spark plug checks, and many other common requirements that will help keep the snowthrower running smoothly and efficiently.
The schedule splits each task into a “check” of the part’s quality and a “change” of it entirely. Maintenance intervals are broken down by the number of hours that have elapsed since the check or change last took place. This is much like scheduling a car’s oil changes based on its mileage. A brief rundown of required maintenance tasks can be found below.
1. Engine Oil
The engine oil is perhaps the single most important component of the engine. Without the proper amount of fresh oil, the engine will lock up, burn up, and require full replacement. As a result, Honda recommends an oil check prior to each use of the snowthrower. If the snowthrower is brand new, a full oil change should occur after the first 20 hours of use.
After the initial oil change at 20 hours, equipment owners should make sure to perform an oil change each year prior to the snowthrower’s first outing after a winter storm. Generally, most people prefer to complete this oil change when they remove the equipment from storage in the late autumn months. As with all equipment used in colder weather, 5W30 engine oil is recommended for maximum effectiveness.
2. Spark Plug
The key to easy engine ignition and operation is a properly gapped spark plug. For the HS521 model, the proper gap is between 0.7 and 0.8 millimeters. Honda recommends checking the spark plug gap before each outing. The company also recommends checking the spark plug for excessive dirt or carbon residue buildup prior to each snowthrower use. To clear away any built-up dirt or residue, simply use a stiff wire brush to clear the area around the spark plug. Do not use detergents, hot water, or any other liquid, as this could cause serious complications and risk injury.
The scraper is a key part of the snow removal process, since it connects directly to the ground and removes snow and ice from the surface of the pavement. This area of the snowthrower should be checked regularly to make sure that there aren’t any defects or damage that might prevent proper contact with the ground. Honda recommends a ground clearance of no more than 0.2 inches for the scraper. If the ground clearance exceeds this amount, then the scraper is excessively worn and requires adjustment or replacement.
In addition to checking the scraper itself, it’s important for equipment owners to check the scraper housing for any dents, warping or bending. Any damage to the housing is just as bad as damage to the scraper itself, and should merit full replacement of any damaged parts to ensure proper snow removal during the rest of the winter season.
4. Drive Belt
The drive belt should be checked each year when the snowthrower is removed from storage. Additionally, the drive belt can become clogged with snow and is often the first place to look if the snowthrower has begun operating erratically during snow removal. Checking the belt is easy: Simply remove the six belt cover bolts holding the cover in place and set the assembly aside. Check the belt for damage and clogs, and make sure that the belt is properly tensioned. Make any adjustments to the belt as instructed in the operator’s manual and then replace the cover.
5. Paddle Inspection
Paddles should be inspected once per season, though it might be necessary to inspect them more often during a particularly stormy winter season. The best way to determine whether or not the paddles have become excessively worn is to simply measure their clearance of the auger housing. Honda recommends that this clearance be greater than 0.6 inches. If the clearance exceeds this amount, paddles should be replaced.
Get the Best OEM Parts for Maintenance Needs at HondaLawnParts.com
Adhering to the HS512 snowthrower’s maintenance schedule is an essential part of equipment ownership and the best way to make sure that the equipment is functioning in like-new condition for many years to come. Sometimes, maintenance requirements also mean having replacement parts on hand. HondaLawnParts.com can help, with an online parts lookup tool that filters available options by the snowthrower’s model number, the part number required, or the engine model found under the hood. With easy sorting and excellent parts quality, this is the best option for all Honda snowthrower owners maintaining their equipment throughout the winter.