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How To Snowblower Troubleshoot At Home & Save Money

Do snow blower troubleshooting at home:

  1. Replace the spark plug or refuel the gas tank if the engine won’t start.
  2. Unclog the chute and impeller if the snow blower doesn’t blow.
  3. Replace the shear pin or cogged cable if the auger fails to turn.
  4. Change the carburetor gaskets if the machine is leaking gas.

Did you know a snow blower tune-up costs $180 on average? Fixing a snow blower at the small engine repair shop isn’t cheap. That’s why I personally decided to learn basic snowblower troubleshooting at home. To my surprise, it was easier than I thought

I want to share my easy fixes for common snow blower problems with you. These quick solutions will help you lower your annual home maintenance bill. Pretty amazing!

Problem: Snow Blower Won’t Start

Replace The Spark Plug 

Used spark plugs with soot

If your snow blower won’t start after sitting, it is likely that your spark plug is defective. Check your spark plug for carbon deposits, cracks, and other damage that could be causing the starting problem.

The condition of a spark plug can be easily checked with a spark tester. If your spark plug doesn’t produce a sufficient spark or fails to do it completely, you should replace it

I have made it a practice to replace the spark plug once a season. I find that spark plugs don’t have a long shelf life if you use your snow blower often. Here are other things I do to winterize my snow blower.

While you are at it, you can check out these storage ideas for snow blowers to keep your unit safe and dry in the off-season. 

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Change The Fuel

Old fuel in the system is the most common reason why snow blowers won’t start after sitting. Luckily, this problem can be easily fixed by draining the old gas and adding fresh fuel to the tank. 

What you need to do is drain old fuel through the fuel line or siphon it out of the gas tank. Once the fuel system is drained, you can add fresh fuel to it. I highly recommend you add fuel stabilizer Star Tron or Sta-Bil to the fuel tank. It will dissolve any remaining sticky residue and keep the new gas from breaking down

Clean The Clogged Carburetor 

Cleaning a clogged carburetor
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I have learned the hard way that if you leave your fuel sitting in the machine for too long, it turns into a sticky mess. This varnish-like substance clogs the carburetor and leaves your snow blower lifeless. 

The best solution is to clean and rebuild the carburetor. From my experience, carburetor cleaner works wonders. If it is ineffective, you will have to buy a new one. 

Here’s how you clean and rebuild a carburetor:

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Problem: Snow Blower Not Blowing Snow

Remove The Clog 

Snow blowers often fail to shoot snow because of a clogged discharge chute. To check this, shut off your snow blower and remove any build-up with a clearing tool. If the discharge chute is clean, inspect the blades for blockage. You’d be surprised how often people run over a newspaper hiding under the snow. 

Replace The Impeller

Impeller replacement for snowblowers
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The impeller is responsible for blowing the snow through the chute. If your machine fails to eject snow, it is only right to look at the impeller. It could be jammed or, in the worst-case scenario, broken.

Problem: Auger Doesn’t Turn

Replace Shear Pin Or Bolt

Shear pin or bolt of a snowblower machine
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A common reason why an auger won’t turn is a broken shear pin or bolt. You see, shear pins and bolts keep the augers fastened to their drive shafts. These connecting parts snap when you hit a rock or hard ice when blowing snow. They instantly break and disengage the turning blades to protect the engine from damage

I’ve had this happen to me one time. Once I replaced the broken shear pin, my snow blower was up and running

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Replace Defective Cogged Or V Belt

Defective cogged belt
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The Cogged belt or V belt, depending on what your snow blower has, connects the engine to the gearbox. If this part is worn out or broken, the auger won’t turn. It makes perfect sense to inspect the cogged belt and replace it with a new one if you notice any damage to it.

Replace The Auger Cable 

Auger cable replacement for snowblower machine
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It could be that your auger cable is loose or unattached. The auger cable connects the control lever to the engagement level. In other words, the blades won’t turn if the cable is disconnected. 

Your auger cable could also be worn out, damaged, or broken. Replace it if you see any defects on it.  

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Problem: Snow Blower Leaks Gas

Replace Carburetor Gasket 

Carburetor gasket set
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If the fuel leaks from the carburetor, you should check the carburetor gasket or carburetor bowl gasket. One or both may be dried out or be missing. Luckily, replacing these parts is not expensive. 

Replace Fuel Filter Or Fuel Line 

Fuel filter and housing

The reason for the leaking fuel may lie in the fuel system itself. I highly recommend you inspect the connections to the fuel filter and the housing. Replace the whole thing if you see any cracks. In addition, you should check the fuel lines. They tend to degrade with time. The same goes for the fuel pump and cables connected to it. 

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How do I know if my snowblower auger belt is bad?

You know when your snowblower auger belt is bad when you see cuts and cracks on the surface. Fraying and shiny coating on the sides also indicates the need for replacement.

What causes the auger not to spin?

The auger fails to spin if the shear pin or bolt is broken. This damage typically occurs when the machine hits a rock. The auger also won’t spin if either a cogged belt or V belt is worn out. Inspect the belt and replace it. 

Should a snowblower auger be turned by hand?

A snowblower auger should not be turned by hand like snow blower wheels can. It is normal for the mechanism to move slightly, but it should not turn freely. If the blades spin, a shear pin has sheared or has fallen out.

Why does my snowblower keep stopping?

Your snowblower keeps stopping most likely because of a dirty carburetor. Clean the carburetor and refuel the machine with fresh gas and fuel stabilizer to fix the problem.

Should I spray my snowblower with wd40?

You should spray your snowblower with wd40 if the chute and intake housing often get clogged. Wd40 will lubricate the metal surface and prevent snow from sticking and building up. 

How To Snowblower Troubleshoot At Home & Save Money

You Got This!

Repairing an expensive snow blower without any prior experience sure sounds scary. But don’t worry! You got this!

With the help of my troubleshooting tips and recommended videos, you will learn how to become a jack of all trades. By doing snow blower maintenance at home, you will both save money and feel a sense of accomplishment
Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to share this article with others.

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About The Author

Brett Jones

Brett's the kind of guy you'd never peg as having such an amazing yard. He's shy and private, avoiding social media and the spotlight. By day, Brett works quietly as an electrician technician, helping folks with wiring and repairs. But get Brett home to his place in Raleigh, where Nadya's always dreaming up new landscaping ideas, and you see another side of him. Brett happily rolls up his sleeves to transform their modest backyard into a lush, cozy oasis. The yard's really a labor of love for them, a place to unwind on weekends, entertain friends, and make cherished memories together. Nadya might come up with all the creative concepts, but Brett's the one ensuring each vision comes to stunning life. They make a great team, even if Brett's content to operate behind the scenes. At heart, Brett's a simple man who finds purpose and joy in small things. Puttering in their garden under the sun or cooking out back in the evenings - these are the things that fulfill him. Brett cares deeply for crafting a space ideal for intimacy, nurturing a life well-lived away from fanfare. Follow him on Twitter.

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