Sumo Gardener

Common Snow Blower Problems & How to Troubleshoot Them

Are you experiencing some snow blower problems? Snow blowers have multiple moving parts and are not immune to the woes of the cold weather. What happens when your snow blower goes on a work strike?

Sure, you can go manual and shovel your way through but be prepared to lose your whole day to the task, which you could have better utilized in something more productive in addition to the frigid cold and unforgiving winds.

In this article, we will go through some common snow blower problems and how to deal with them without visiting the repair shop.


Snow Blower Problems & How to Troubleshoot Them

1. The Snow Blower Won’t Start

Snow Blower Won't Start

One of the most common snow blower problem is it won't start. The reason your snowblower won't start could be as simple as an empty fuel tank and this is common than you think. However, if you are confident that the gas tank is full, the underlying issue may be ethanol.

If your last refuel was more than 30 days ago, then chances are ethanol in the gas caused a buildup of moisture which can cause you trouble starting the snow blower.

The solution is to siphon all the remaining gas from the tank and refill it with stabilized gasoline. Then try to restart the engine again. If you are using electric models, recharge the battery and plug in the blower before resuming.

Another common reason with a simple solution is when you need to remember to turn on the fuel shutoff valve. You should also check whether the throttle is positioned to the correct speed of three-quarters or higher, or the engine won’t start.

2. The Discharge Chute Is Clogged

If the discharge chute is clogged, first unplug the snow blower or remove the batteries if it is an electric snow blower. Then use a broom handle or clearing tool to remove clogs or debris.

Never use your hands, even if you wear gloves. This is because the impeller or stationary auger can still have enough force to injure your hands, even after unplugging. You should also wear a mask to protect yourself against flying debris and dirt.

3. The Snow Blower Wheels Aren’t Turning

Several issues could hinder our blower wheels from turning. One of them could be that the wheels are flat or the wheel rim is damaged, in which case they need to be replaced.

If the wheels aren’t the issue, examine your cogged or V-belt, which can undergo wear and tear from repeated use. The cogged V-belt connects the engine to the gearbox, which is essential for the wheels to turn.

They are prone to damage with regular use over time so if you notice a rip, replace them immediately. The third issue could be the driver disk, a rubber cover to help grip the drive plate.

The drive disk is likely greasy or worn out. A quick wash can easily tackle the greasiness whereas a worn-out disk needs to be replaced.

A man experiencing some snow blower issues

4. The Snow Blower Is Difficult To Maneuver Or Lurches Forward

The wheels receive power for turning through the cable lines. This is why the cable line needs to be tightened if your snow blower lurches forward when you squeeze the drive handle. 

You will need to remove the clip from the handle and then snug up the cable line’s threaded adjustment, which is usually located at the base of the snow blower. Then you need to reattach the clip and switch it on to check whether the machine works. 

Keep readjusting the cable line and keep testing until the snow blower stops jerking forward. Make sure that you apply some lubricant over the pivots of moving parts to allow the machine to run smoothly.

5. The Snow Blower Isn’t Blowing Snow

The machine operates with the help of a flat metal bar at the bottom, which chisels ice and snow off the ground into the auger. Over time, the metal bar may wear out as it passes over asphalt, gravel, and concrete.

In these cases, you will simply need to replace the metal bar with a new one. However, make sure to adjust the metal bar at least ⅛ of an inch above the ground to avoid this issue in the future.

If you have a single-stage snow blower, avoid running them over gravel or your aesthetic rocky landscape garden. This is because augers of these types directly touch the ground, so you risk flicking gravel at windows or passersby.

Another reason your blower isn’t blowing snow is that the chute is clogged. Turn off your machine and unclog the chute. If this snow blower problem persists, the reason could be your impeller which pushes the snow through the chute. Simply replace it to solve the issue.

6. The Auger Won’t Turn

The most common reason behind this is due to a chunk of snow, debris, or rock inside the auger. Simply turn off the machine, unplug the auger after removing the key, then remove the block.

Ensure also to check the delicate shear pins, which are often prone to break from the debris and need to be replaced for the auger to function. It is a good idea to keep a few extra pins on hand.

Snow Blower Issues

7. The Snow Blower is Leaking Gas

If you have been using your snow blower for a while, chances are the carburetor gasket and carburetor bowl gasket is dried or even missing.

This can cause your snow blower to leak gas, replace them as necessary to resolve gas leaks. You should also add a stabilizer to the fuel to combat the volatility issue.

However, if there is no improvement after the change, check the fuel filter and housing for any cracks in the connection. Then get them replaced with new parts accordingly.

8. The Belt Breaks During Use

For single-stage snow blowers, the auger belt tends to wear down faster than its two-stage counterpart. This is because the auger belt is in direct contact with the ground, so the friction is greater.

Remember to inspect the belt and replace it if required periodically. Pull off the wheel, then replace the cracked belt with a new one. In the case of the two-stage blower, a professional should be called in since the whole unit needs to be dismantled to access the flywheel.

9. The Snow Blower Runs Rough

A shaky or jittery gas blower is a sign of an issue with fuel combustion. First, drain and refill the fuel tank with new gas. If this doesn’t work, inspect the spark plug.

Remove the plug with a ratchet wrench after disconnecting the attached rubber boot. Replace the plug with a new one and get a special spark plug for the home department section of the store.

If the spark plug isn’t dry, run the engine to dry it and then clean it before plugging it again. If all the above methods fail, contact a dealer to take a look at the snow blower.

Common Snow Blower Problems

10. Starter Doesn’t Work

This is a common snow blower problem in both manual and electric starters. Hence, it is a good idea to have an optional electric starter as a backup in case one of them does not work.

A quick solution is to apply safe heat, but the problem may recur once it gets colder again. If you have a manual starter, remove the metal tab or starter that is susceptible to freezing to reach the dog.

Then adjust the center screw without removing the pulley to allow the lubricant to access the pivoted areas. Refrain from using grease, which hardens when the temperature drops.

When you hear the spinning sound but there is no engine turnover, the starter gear has likely frozen to the shaft. The first step is to use safe heat to let it thaw, then apply a light coat of lubricant over the starter gear.

Now You Know How to Deal with these Common Snow Blower Problems

With this season of the polar vortex on a rampage throughout the country, you need your trusty snow blower to save the day. However, issues with a snow blower are common and, in most cases, can be quickly resolved with a few simple tricks.

Regularly maintain your snow blower, ensure the tank is full, and avoid direct contact with gravel and debris; otherwise, you risk damaging the auger and belt line and even seriously injuring passersby.

A good quality snow blower is a lifesaver to get through those tough snowy days that clog up your entire entryway. There you have it! Now you know how to troubleshoot these common snow blower problems. 

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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