I hope you guys can help me.
I bought the Craftsman 88694 snowblower at the end of last season. No further snow occurred, so I couldn't test it then.
A general description of my home is that I live on top of a very steep hill. I also have an extremely steep slope of yard from my shed to the sidewalk. With the previous snowblower, I would often spend more time getting it from the shed to the sidewalk than actually doing the snowblowing. I never timed it, but it often felt like half an hour. However, this snowblower had no trouble going up and down the sidewalk when I got it there.
So far this year, I've used it three times:
1. Was a light snow and did what it was supposed to do, although this wasn't much of a test.
2. A moderate amount of light snow on a slightly slippery day. It had trouble going up the sidewalk. It also was very difficult to clear the tree belt area for the garbage cans.
3. Another moderate amount of light snow, but with heavy plow crap at the end of the driveway. It clogged almost constantly on the plow material. Even after clearing out the chute, it would clog right up again as soon as I pressed the impeller. It would do this even when I backed up to the area that had just been cleared. Although the old machine would clog on heavy snow, it was never so bad that I had to unclog it ten or whatever number of times before being able to make progress. The old one made at least some progress before clogging again, even if not enough.
I'm very concerned about how it will perform when the actual snow itself is heavy. I don't want to think of how long it would have taken if the snow itself had been heavy. I have read about spraying the chute with Pam or WD-40, but (1) should this be necessary on a brand new snowblower and (2) how well does Pam or WD-40 improve it? Does it completely solve the problem?
I also hope I don't have any further trouble with going uphill. Should I get snowblower chains? And would they rip up / damage the yard while getting it to the sidewalk?
I'm just not sure this should happen with a brand new machine. I'm also very surprised that it did happen, since numerous review sites list this as one of the best models to buy. I hope these issues can be rectified, because if not, I don't have money to buy another even if I sell it. I'm also trying not to sell the old one until I can see how the Craftsman handles truly heavy snow.
Thanks for reading this. I hope it wasn't too long, and I would greatly appreciate any information or assistance.