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.

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