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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Syonyk on September 06, 2017, 10:25:35 PM

Title: Tracked vs Wheeled snow blowers: How much difference does it make?
Post by: Syonyk on September 06, 2017, 10:25:35 PM
I'm considering a snowblower to augment my tractor for this winter (last winter... went poorly, and I put about 10 hours on a neighbor's tractor since we were utterly underequipped for snow removal).

I've got 1/8 mile of 20' wide driveway to clear, (with about another 3/16ths that has to be clear by spring for my inlaws to get back in) and while the bulk of that can be done with my tractor and rear blade, the windrows left from that were a serious problem last winter in terms of drifting - one side is high from terrain, and the windrow on the other side meant that I was pretty much hosed if there was wind and snow (couldn't get a truck out when the tractor stopped starting without an awful lot of digging).

I'm considering picking up a blower to deal with the windrows, and figure a good three stage unit is worth the cost for our needs (dealing with packed tractor-dragged stuff and tossing it deep into the rest of the property where it can't make drifts worse).

My options are wheeled and tracked.  I've got a gravel driveway, which is quite traction limited once it builds up a layer of ice.  Is a tracked setup going to be much better in those conditions vs wheeled, or should I just go with a wheeled setup and chains?

... and, yes, I know the normal answer here is "A shovel," and if I'd tried that last winter, I would have either had to basically quit my job for a month or spend all evening, pretty much every evening, ignoring my family.
Title: Re: Tracked vs Wheeled snow blowers: How much difference does it make?
Post by: Lake161 on September 06, 2017, 10:31:58 PM
Learned this one the hard way.  The wheels of my blower lost grip then gained grip on one side and plowed right into my car door. All of my mountain neighbors have Hondas with tracks. I should have looked around before I bought.
Title: Re: Tracked vs Wheeled snow blowers: How much difference does it make?
Post by: Syonyk on September 06, 2017, 10:47:56 PM
I wouldn't be doing much plowing around anything else - just dealing with the windrow left by the tractor and attempting to toss it off into the "I don't care" distance.

We don't normally get that much snow, and it usually melts before the next snowfall, so last winter's "It snows 3-4x the average, and it never melts" thing was just brutal.  Towards the end of the winter, when we were just getting hammered, if we could get a vehicle out, it was a case of, "Go buy food because we don't know when the next grocery run will be."  We eventually just abandoned the car (it sat for about a month and a half), my wife and daughter took the truck, and I took the Ural (sidecar motorcycle rig).  Even with that, we had trouble getting out of the driveway, because it's a pretty good uphill slope, and about halfway through the winter, after I'd plowed down to gravel (of course), we had an ice storm.  So the rest of the winter was defined as "traction problems."

I figure a good snowblower is a 20+ year investment that, even if I don't need it in a particular winter, will be worth having around on the winters I need it.  And a useful thing to build goodwill with the neighbors if we have more nasty winters.

By the time we realized it was a nasty winter, I couldn't find a snowblower or tractor tire chains anywhere within about a 500 mile radius. :(