Whether to buy a Snow Plow or Not. (Saving Money when it doesn’t feel like it.)

When living in snow country, snow removal becomes a real issue.  If snow is left to sit, it eventually becomes impassable even with the best 4 x 4 vehicle.  Over the past 4 years, I invested in a “good” deal plow truck that has been nothing but repairs and headaches.

This “good” deal has cost me an estimated $5,600.00 over the past 4 years, and that’s not calculating gas and oil for each season.  Last year, the F-250 threw a rod and blew a hole through the oil pan, clearly seen in the video.  The engine needs to replaced.  For a rebuilt, I was looking at over $3,000.00, and since no shop is on the property and time is not in abundance, I would have to spend the grand to install it.  At this point, I have given up on this truck that has too many other problems to list, such as a a gas tank that it is held up by tow straps, and an electrical wiring gremlin that dims the lights at odd times making it seem like we’re living a bad episode of Star Trek.  Yes, the F-250 is done.

Enter the F-150, our 4×4 wood gathering truck purchased 6 years ago.  The same truck that I rebuilt the carburetor on and replaced the radiator.  The F-150 has a strong engine and has been cared for by the previous owner, unlike the the F-250.  So, time to move the Myers plow to the F-150.  Being a half ton, I can tell this truck is not as strong as the F-250, but it does the job if I can stay up on it, meaning plowing every 6-8 inches of fresh snow fall.

Since the creation of this video, our beautiful 27″ of powdered snow has turned to 17″ of slush.  The road has become a slush bog, so deep that I dare not to attempt to plow it for fear of destroying the F-150.  I instead have placed the chains on the Kioti tractor and used the front bucket to clear the heavy slush from the middle of the drive way, slow work.  The F-150 would have done fine in a typical winter, but snow melting this fast is not normal in January.  Another crazy Sandpoint winter where normal is unpredictable.  We should be up to 5 ft of powdered snow now, but instead we are up to 17 in. of slush.  In the future, I hope to purchase a PTO snow blower attachment for the tractor.  I would like a front mount, but that cost increases by a few thousand to create a front PTO that could run it.  If I could purchase it in stages, I might buy a PTO snow blower that could function on the rear PTO, then move it to the front when I can afford the conversion costs.  Eventually, I would sell the plow truck to help cover the costs. Yet, the plow truck in a pinch is much faster than a snow blower in the right conditions.

Before I even decided all the above costs to own and maintain a snow plow. I called a local snow removal place and a snow plow service runs for a little more than $100 per hour.  At an average of 3 hours to remove snow for the mile drive to the county maintained road, the cost would be $300 per plow out.  At an average of 8 plow outs a year, I am looking at $2400 per year while waiting on someone else to do it.

  • Hiring a Snow Removal Service:  Average per year = $2,400 x 4 years = $9,600
  • Owning & Maintaining a Plow Truck = Average per year = $1,400 x 4 years = $5,600
  • Not counting all the headaches, I save an average of $1,000 per year owning and maintaining my own plow truck.

In the future, I think a snow blower, tractor attachment may save me more repair costs and headaches, but the cost is so much more than the plow and truck combined at this point.

One thought on “Whether to buy a Snow Plow or Not. (Saving Money when it doesn’t feel like it.)

  1. Pingback: PTO Snow Blower Repair | Living a Sustainable Dream

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