A snow plow is one of the fastest ways to clear snow off your driveway. Unlike shoveling snow or using a snow blower, it doesn’t require much effort other than driving your truck or UTV up and down the driveway.
In this guide, we explain how to snow plow a driveway, what kind of equipment you need, and a few tips for a successful snow plow.
What You'll Learn Today
- What Can You Attach A Snow Plow To?
- Can You Attach A Snow Plow To An ATV or UTV?
- Can You Attach A Snow Plow To A Tractor?
- What Kind of Snow Plow Is Best For A Driveway?
- How To Snow Plow A Driveway
- How To Snow Plow A Gravel Driveway?
What Can You Attach A Snow Plow To?
Most homeowners attach their snow plows to a truck such as a Chevy Silverado or a Ford F-250. That’s because trucks are heavy and powerful, so they can easily handle the weight of a snow plow and have no trouble pushing thick snow.
In addition, many trucks come or are compatible with a front hitch receiver, which you’ll need to attach a snow plow.
What if you have an SUV, crossover, or a minivan; can you also attach a snow plow to one of these?
Many SUVs can also be fitted with a front hitch receiver, and they are powerful enough to plow snow.
Smaller vehicles have the power to plow snow. The problem is finding a front hitch receiver for it.
Luckily, there are a few companies that make universal car snow plows that don’t require a hitch. The most notable one is Nordic Plow.
They make lightweight snow plows that can be fitted on smaller SUVs and passenger cars. But keep in mind that a crossover doesn’t compare to a burly truck. Go slowly and plow a thin layer of snow at a time.
Can You Attach A Snow Plow To An ATV or UTV?
If you have an ATV or a side by side (UTV) at home, there are snow plows designed for these off road vehicles.
ATV/UTV snow plows are usually 60 inches wide. A UTV is the better of the two for plowing snow since it’s heavier and more powerful.
You can still plow with an ATV but you may need to weigh it down with sandbags or something else to improve traction.
For best results, only use an ATV or UTV that has a minimum 400cc engine to plow snow. Anything smaller than this will be too light.
Can You Attach A Snow Plow To A Tractor?
Tractors, even compact tractors, are designed to haul heavy equipment. So attaching a snow plow to one is a no brainer.
Many tractor manufacturers like John Deere, Bobcat, and Kubota sell sub-compact tractors that are perfect for use around your home. Simply get a compatible snow plow for it and you can clear thicks now off your driveway.
Some people also attach snow plows to riding lawn mowers. But unless the manufacturer specifies that you can use the lawn mower for plowing snow, it’s not a good idea to add a snow plow to your lawn mower or lawn tractor.
It could damage your lawn more or reduce its lifespan.
What Kind of Snow Plow Is Best For A Driveway?
There are three kinds of snow plows you can attach to your truck or UTV:
- Straight blade plows;
- V plows and box plows; or
- Snow pushers.
Of these three, straight and V plows are the most common. Snow pushers are typically used on tractors and machinery like skid steers.
Straight blade plows are cheaper and simpler to operate. They work by pushing snow ahead of the vehicle and creating piles. Straight blade plows are more suited to small driveway.
V blades are more expensive but they offer a lot more versatility. The ability to adjust the angle of each blade lets you direct the snow where you want it to go.
You can angle both blades inwards to scoop and push snow, angle them outwards to create windrows on each side of the driveway, or angle just one blade to direct snow to one side of the driveway.
On the downside, V blade snow plows are heavy. You’ll need a heavy duty truck to handle one. However, you can still find lightweight V blade plows designed for UTVs.
V plows are also expensive and have more complicated controls.
You may also come across expandable snow plows, but these are pricey and typically used only by pros.
Here’s a great video summarizing the different kinds of snow plows for trucks.
How To Snow Plow A Driveway
Now that you have the right snow plow, here are some tips on how to use it to clear your driveway.
Mark Your Driveway Before It Snows
Once it snows, it’ll be difficult to identify where your driveway ends and the lawn starts. That’s why it’s important to make your driveway ahead of time.
Buy a set of reflective driveway markers and stake them every 10-15 feet along the driveway.
Also take this time before it snows to make sure your snow plow is in good condition. Also check that your truck or UTV/ATV is ready for work (fuel, fluids, snow tires, lights etc.).
Prepare A Gameplan
Before you start plowing, figure out how you are going to tackle the snow. Decide if you are going to pile it or form windrows.
Piles are ideal for short driveways or if you have a basic straight blade snow. Plan where you are going to place the piles, making sure they are not on the street or in your neighbor’s property.
For longer driveways, windrows are better. This is where you push snow to the sides, forming rows along the driveway.
A V blade snow plow is excellent for making windrows. But you can still make windrows with a straight blade snow plow. You’ll just have to angle it to one side either manually or with controls (if you have hydraulic controls).
Don’t Let The Snow Build Up
Don’t wait until you have several inches of snow to bring out your snow plow. Not only will it be a lot more work to clear the driveway, you may push the snow plow and your vehicle beyond its capability.
Letting snow sit for too long will also cause it to harden, making it more difficult to clear.
It’s best to plow during a storm and then once again when the storm passes. That doesn’t sound very cozy, but it’ll save you a headache later.
If The Snow Is Thick, Make Several Passes
If you didn’t manage to plow the snow in time and it builds up, don’t try to clear all of it in one go. Instead, clear a small layer at a time.
Not only is it easier that way; you also protect your equipment from strain and potential damage.
If you are making piles, start the first pile as far away from the end of the driveway as possible so you have space for additional piles.
If you are making windrows, create the first one a good distance from the edge of the driveway so that there’s still space for additional rows.
Visibility Is Crucial
You’ll not always be able to plow during the day. If a snowstorm falls in the middle of the night, that’s the best time to clear the driveway.
Make sure you have clear visibility so that you can see where you are plowing and also for safety. You don’t want to accidentally run over someone or a pet.
And even during the day, visibility may not be so great especially if it’s snowing.
The best way to improve visibility is to turn on your headlights and add a couple of lights at the top of the truck or UTV.
Not only do lights let you see what you are doing; they also make sure anyone around can see you and stay out of the way.
For Short Driveways, Try Backdragging
If you have a short driveway, back dragging will work better compared to pushing snow in front of the vehicle. It’s especially handy if the driveway ends at a garage.
Drive the vehicle as far as you can into the driveway then lower the plow and drag the snow backwards. Then find a suitable place off the driveway and off the street to pile the snow.
How To Snow Plow A Gravel Driveway?
Gravel driveways are tricky to plow since you might push or drag gravel off the driveway along with the snow.
The solution is to put shoes on your snow plow. Adjust the shoes such that the blade of the snow plow is half an inch to an inch above the ground.
If you don’t have snow plow shoes, you can also try keeping the blade about half an inch above the ground.
Remember to go slow and stop if you hear a scraping noise. You won’t be able to clear all the snow, but the remaining thin layer will melt easily. You can also apply de-icing salt on it to melt it away faster.