Troubleshooting Common Snow Blower Problems

When winter comes, snow blowers become essential machines for removing snow from driveways, sidewalks, and other surfaces. These powerful tools are designed to make snow removal easier and more efficient, but like any machine, they can experience common problems that may hinder their performance. Troubleshooting common snow blower problems is crucial to ensure that your machine is in top condition and ready to tackle any snowstorm.

One of the most common snow blower problems is difficulty in starting. This can be caused by a variety of issues, such as a dead battery, clogged fuel filter, or dirty spark plug. Another common problem is the snow blower not throwing snow properly, which can be due to a worn-out auger belt or impeller, or a clogged chute. Other problems include the snow blower being difficult to maneuver or lurching forward, which can be caused by loose cables or improper wheel adjustments.

To troubleshoot these snow blower problems, it is important to perform regular maintenance, such as checking and changing the oil, inspecting the spark plug, and cleaning the chute and impeller. If problems persist, it may be necessary to adjust or replace parts, such as the auger belt, cables, or wheels. By following these troubleshooting tips and performing regular maintenance, you can ensure that your snow blower is ready to tackle any snowstorm this winter.

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Understanding Snow Blower Components

As someone who has worked with snow blowers for years, I have come to understand the importance of knowing the different parts that make up the machine. Understanding the components of a snow blower can make troubleshooting and repairs easier. Here are some of the essential parts of a snow blower:

Auger

The auger is the part of the snow blower that moves snow from the ground to the discharge chute. It is a rotating mechanism that consists of a central shaft and several blades. The auger blades are usually made of metal or hard rubber and can become damaged or worn over time.

Spark Plug

The spark plug is an essential component of the snow blower’s ignition system. It creates a spark that ignites the fuel in the combustion chamber, which powers the engine. A faulty spark plug can cause the snow blower to run poorly or not start at all.

Carburetor

The carburetor is responsible for mixing air and fuel in the correct ratio and delivering it to the engine. A dirty or clogged carburetor can cause the engine to run poorly or not start at all.

Discharge Chute

The discharge chute is the part of the snow blower that directs the snow away from the machine. It can become clogged with snow or ice, which can cause the snow blower to malfunction.

Impeller

The impeller is the part of the snow blower that moves snow from the auger to the discharge chute. It is a rotating mechanism that consists of several blades. The impeller blades can become damaged or worn over time.

Fuel Tank

The fuel tank is where the snow blower stores gasoline. It can become dirty or contaminated, which can cause the engine to run poorly or not start at all.

Starter Assembly

The starter assembly is responsible for starting the engine. It can become damaged or worn over time, which can cause the snow blower to not start.

Electric Starter

The electric starter is an alternative to the pull cord starter. It is powered by electricity and can be easier to use than the pull cord starter.

Fuel System

The fuel system includes the fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel filter, and carburetor. It is responsible for delivering gasoline to the engine.

Shear Pins

Shear pins are designed to break if the auger becomes jammed with snow or ice. This helps prevent damage to the auger and other components of the snow blower.

V-Belt

The V-belt is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the auger and impeller. It can become worn or damaged over time, which can cause the snow blower to not function properly.

Drive Disk

The drive disk is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels. It can become worn or damaged over time, which can cause the snow blower to not move properly.

Drive Handle and Cables

The drive handle and cables are responsible for controlling the snow blower’s movement. They can become damaged or worn over time, which can cause the snow blower to not function properly.

Lubricant

Lubricant is used to reduce friction and wear on moving parts. It is essential for keeping the snow blower running smoothly.

Drive System

The drive system includes the drive disk, drive handle, and cables. It is responsible for controlling the snow blower’s movement.

Ignition Coil

The ignition coil is responsible for creating the spark that ignites the fuel in the combustion chamber. A faulty ignition coil can cause the snow blower to run poorly or not start at all.

Drive Control

The drive control is responsible for controlling the speed and direction of the snow blower. It can become damaged or worn over time, which can cause the snow blower to not function properly.

Ignition Key

The ignition key is used to start the engine. It can become lost or damaged, which can prevent the snow blower from starting.

Common Starting Issues

When it comes to snow blower problems, one of the most common issues is difficulty starting the machine. There are several reasons why a snow blower might not start, but some of the most common culprits include a defective spark plug, old fuel, or a clogged carburetor.

If you have an electric model, make sure that the battery is charged and that the electric starter is functioning properly. For gas snow blowers, ensure that there is enough fuel in the tank and that the fuel valve is open. If you have a primer bulb, press it a few times to get fuel into the carburetor.

Before starting the snow blower, make sure that the choke is in the correct position. If the engine is cold, the choke should be fully closed. If the engine is warm, the choke should be open. Additionally, make sure that the ignition key is inserted properly and in the right position.

If you have tried all of these steps and the snow blower still won’t start, it may be time to seek professional repair. A qualified technician can diagnose and fix any issues with your snow blower’s ignition or fuel system.

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Dealing with Operational Problems

When using a snow blower, you may encounter some operational problems that can hinder its performance. Here are some common operational problems and how to troubleshoot them:

Not Blowing Snow

If your snow blower is not blowing snow, check the impeller and auger to ensure they are turning properly. If they are not, check the shear pin to see if it is broken. A broken shear pin can cause the auger and impeller to stop turning, preventing snow from being blown out of the chute.

Clogged Chute

If the chute becomes clogged, turn off the snow blower and wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop. Then, use a clean-out tool or a broom handle to clear the chute. Make sure to wear gloves and eye protection when doing this.

Defective Impeller

If the impeller is not working properly, it may need to be replaced. Check the impeller blades for damage or wear and tear. If they are damaged, replace the impeller.

Broken Shear Pin

If the shear pin is broken, it will need to be replaced. Check the shear pin to see if it is broken or missing. If it is, replace it with a new one.

Leaking Gas

If your snow blower is leaking gas, check the carburetor gasket and carburetor bowl gasket to make sure they are properly seated. If they are not, replace them.

Cogged Belt

If the belt is worn or damaged, it may need to be replaced. Check the belt for signs of wear and tear. If it is worn or damaged, replace it.

Cable Line

Check the cable line to ensure it is properly adjusted. If it is not, adjust it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Direction and Pitch

Make sure the snow blower is pointed in the right direction and that the pitch is set correctly. Adjust the direction and pitch according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Adjustable Chutes

If your snow blower has adjustable chutes, make sure they are properly adjusted. If they are not, adjust them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Auger Control

Make sure the auger control is properly adjusted. If it is not, adjust it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

By following these troubleshooting tips, you can keep your snow blower running smoothly and efficiently all winter long.

Preventive Maintenance and Care

As a snow blower owner, I know that preventive maintenance is key to keeping my machine running smoothly during the winter season. Regular maintenance can help prevent costly repairs and ensure that my snow blower is ready to handle even the toughest snowfalls.

One important aspect of snow blower maintenance is fuel management. Whether you have a gas or electric model, it is important to properly maintain your fuel system. For gas models, be sure to use fresh fuel and add a fuel stabilizer to prevent old fuel from clogging the carburetor. If you have an electric snow blower, make sure to keep the outlet and cord in good condition.

Another important aspect of snow blower maintenance is oil management. Check your oil level before each use and add as needed. Change the oil at least once a season or after 50 hours of use, whichever comes first. If you have a two-stage snow blower, be sure to lubricate the bearings and inspect the scraper blade and skid shoes.

In addition to fuel and oil management, it is important to perform regular winter maintenance on your snow blower. This includes clearing any snow and ice that may have accumulated in and around the machine, checking the spark plug with a spark tester, and inspecting the broom handle and other equipment issues.

If you are unsure about how to perform any of these maintenance tasks, consult your snow blower’s manual or contact the manufacturer or dealer for assistance.

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Safety Measures

As someone who has used snow blowers for years, I know first-hand how important safety measures are when operating these machines. Here are some tips to keep you safe while using a snow blower:

  • Protective Eyewear: Always wear protective eyewear when using a snow blower. Snow and debris can easily fly up and hit you in the face, causing serious injury. Make sure your eyewear is rated for impact resistance.
  • Safety Gear: In addition to protective eyewear, you should also wear gloves, sturdy boots with good traction, and warm clothing. It’s important to stay warm and dry while using a snow blower, but make sure your clothing doesn’t get caught in the machine.
  • Hands: Never put your hands near the auger or impeller while the snow blower is running, even if it’s clogged. Use a clearing tool or broom handle to clear any clogs, and make sure to turn off the machine and unplug it before doing so.

It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and any potential hazards. Keep children and pets away from the area where you’re using the snow blower, and be cautious when operating the machine on uneven terrain or near obstacles.

Finally, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings when using a snow blower. By taking these safety measures, you can help prevent accidents and injuries while using your snow blower.

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About the Author Madison Meyers

Madison Meyers is a Minneapolis native who knows what it takes to survive in the land of 10,000 lakes.

She’s made it her mission to make sure people never have to shovel again by combining her love for snow with the entrepreneurial skills she picked up at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

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