Taking care of Snow Blower Problems
Snow blowers are complicated machines with a lot of moving parts, so it's only natural that problems sometimes occur. However, some problems are easy to avoid and others, if done quickly, will help you avoid major and more expensive road repairs of snow blowers.
The good news is that if you're handy and have the right parts, most of these repairs take less than an hour.
Snow throwers are available in several configurations: single, two or three-speed, as well as compact models and those powered by mains or battery. Our guide to buying snow blowers is a place where you can learn about different types. You can also go to our reviews and find the best models.
Here are seven of the most common problems you may encounter with your snow thrower in the winter.
- Problem: The blower does not start
If you have a gas model, first check that there is gas in the tank. If the gas fan is equipped with an electric starter, make sure the fan is plugged in. Otherwise, if the gas is more than 30 days old, ethanol in the fuel could cause moisture to accumulate in the fuel system. Use the gas siphon to drain the gas from the blower, then add new stabilized petrol and try again. For electric models, make sure the tool is plugged in or the battery is fully charged.
- Problem: The auger or hopper is clogged
For the electric model, turn off the throttle motor or disconnect the cable or remove the battery. Use a cleaning tool or a broom handle to remove clogging - never your hands or feet, even if you have gloves: The stationary auger and impeller are often under sufficient belt tension to damage your hands and feet, even with the motor or electric motor off.
- Problem: The snow thrower is difficult to maneuver or tilts forward
Over time, the cables that transmit power to the wheels need to be adjusted so that the two-stage snow throwers can be properly tensioned. If you press the drive handle and the snow thrower jerks forward, you will need to tighten the line. Unclip the cable from the handle and push up the threaded adjustment of the line on the base of the machine, then reattach the clip and test the handling. Adjust again as needed until the movement stops. After adjusting the cables, be sure to spray some grease at the pivot points of the moving parts.
- Problem: The machine leaves too much snow behind
A flat metal bar on the underside of the machine cuts snow and ice from the ground and into the auger. Running on concrete, asphalt and gravel can wear the metal and leave snow furrows behind. Place the snow throwers on top and remove the screws that hold the rail to the cabinet and replace it with a new one. (Consult the store where you purchased the machine, or search for the brand by Snow Blowers Direct and order it online.) Adjust the new bar so that it is approximately an inch above the ground. Caution: Keep in mind that you should not run a single-stage snow thrower over the gravel, as it could collect gravel and throw snow, which could damage the windows or injure passers-by. The problem is unique to single-stage blowers because their augers have direct contact with the ground, unlike two-stage or three-stage blowers, which have augers that do not touch the ground.
- Problem: The belt breaks during use
The friction required to actuate the auger belt on a single-stage snow blower tends to wear the belt faster than on two-stage machines. Remove the cover between uses and check for belt cracks. Replace the suspect belt by pulling the wheel, then the belt and adding the spare part in reverse order. Replacing the belt on a larger two-stage machine involves disassembling the unit to gain access to the flywheel, which is best left to the service professional.
And if you want to avoid walking to the store in a snowstorm, it's a good idea to have a spare belt (and other shear pins) on hand throughout the season.
- Problem: The snow thrower runs roughly
If your gas fan is shaky or nervous when it is turned on, there may be a problem with burning fuel. Check the fuel or spark plugs - each is relatively simple. First drain the fuel from the tank and top it up with fresh gas. Then try replacing the spark plug by disconnecting the rubber sleeve attached to the plug and removing it with a ratchet wrench. You will need a special spark plug socket, which is available at the home center or car shop. Replace the plug with a new one. If none of these options work, you will need to take the snow blower to a dealer for repair; Call the manufacturer and find one near you.
- Problem: The motor is running, but the auger does not turn
With the engine off and the wrench removed, inspect the auger and / or impeller for obvious problems, such as rock or a piece of ice, that is preventing moving parts from rotating. Also check the shear pins, usually located near the auger. See the manual for the exact location. These pins break when your blower hits an obstacle - like a rock - and then the auger stops working. By replacing these pins, your snow blower should work again. You can buy them online or in stores; it's always smart to have a few more on hand.
- Check tires and chains
Check tire pressure and add air if necessary. Visually inspect the tires for wear; replace if necessary. If you have tire chains, either wear them in advance or make sure they are easily accessible.
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