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How To Troubleshoot Snow Blower Problems

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Man using snow blower

Like any piece of outdoor power equipment that you own, your snow blower requires regular maintenance if you want to get the most out of it and extend its life for as long as possible.

That upkeep includes knowing how to identify what’s causing issues with your snow blower when it isn’t working properly and how to correctly address those issues once you’ve discovered them. Below we’ve outlined steps you can follow to troubleshoot a trio of common snow blower problems: starting problems, auger and drive loss, and a clogged chute.

If you want to learn more about proper snow blower maintenance, check out this helpful maintenance schedule from Cub Cadet.

Important: Make sure you are familiar with your snow blower operator’s manual before operation, including best safety practices.

Snow Blower Won’t Start

Snow blower starting trouble is most common after your machine has sat unused for a long period of time, usually when you try to start your snow blower for the first time each season.

If you’re having problems getting your snow blower started, follow these instructions to troubleshoot the problem:

  • Remove old fuel from the tank and replace it with fresh fuel.
  • Check the snow blower’s oil and change if necessary.
  • Remember to set the choke to full and push the primer bulb three times (if your snow blower is equipped with these features).
  • Inspect the spark plug to ensure it’s properly connected and in good condition. Reconnect, clean or replace the spark plug if necessary.

Snow Blower Lost Drive and/or Auger Control

If your snow blower has lost drive or auger control, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take your machine to a professional to get it fixed. There are inspections you can complete yourself to find the cause of the issue and possibly repair it yourself.

Let’s start with the augers. If the augers in your snow blower are no longer turning when you press the auger control, follow these instructions to troubleshoot the problem:

  • Examine your snow blower’s auger cable and adjust if the cable has stretched or replace it if needed.
  • Check the belt that operates the auger drive system. It’s possible the belt has broken and needs to be replaced.
  • Inspect the shear pins located on the main auger shaft and replace any that have broken.

If your snow blower’s wheels aren’t engaging when you press down the drive control, follow these instructions to troubleshoot the issue:

  • Examine your snow blower’s drive cable and adjust if the cable has stretched or replace it if needed.
  • Check the belt that operates the drive system for the wheels. It’s possible the belt has broken and needs to be replaced.
  • Inspect the friction wheel rubber. If the ring has worn down to around 1/8 inch, then it likely needs to be replaced.

Clogged Snow Blower Chute

A clogged snow blower chute will stop even the most seasoned of operators dead in their tracks.

Thankfully, it’s easy to diagnose the problem and cleaning out a clogged chute is straightforward and safe if you follow these instructions.

Important: Never use your hands to unclog your snow blower’s chute assembly as it could result in serious injury.

  • Let go of the snow blower’s auger and drive controls, shut off the engine (remove the ignition key) and stay in the operator’s position until all parts have stopped moving.
  • Use the shovel-tipped end of the chute cleanout tool to remove snow, ice or other debris from your snow blower’s chute.
  • Once the chute is cleared out, step back into the operator’s position and restart your snow blower. Press down the auger control for a few seconds to clear out snow still in the chute.

Zander Chance is a technology nut who is always first in line to try out the latest tech gadgets. He also has been an active affiliate marketer for the past 15 years, and he writes about his adventures in that on his blog.

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