Your snow blower is not working, and of course its the time you need it most – perhaps a foot on fresh snow has fallen and of course, the snow blower won’t start or work properly. Some common reasons and ways to get your snow thrower running again are below. For safety’s sake, never work on a snow blower while the engine is running.
Understanding how your snowblower works is important when diagnosing some of the reasons is currently not operational. You should have at your disposal your snowblower repair manual or owners manual, listing the model and manufacturer, and the date of purchase for warranty concerns. Not having the manual isn’t the end of the world, as manuals from major manufacturers such as Ariens, Toro, John Deere, MTD and other brads are just a google search away. Knowing the manufacturer can lead to other bits of knowledge, such as the engine manufacturer ( example: Briggs and Stratton, Tecumseh). If the model is a two stage snow blower, it is somewhat more complex then a single-stage snowblower, both in the snow removal operation and the type of propulsion employed. Many single stage machines use the turning of the auger as the method of locomotion, where the larger two stage snow blowers have a discrete drive mechanism that can have multiple forward and reverse speeds.
Some typical standard things to check when trying to repair a snowblower are not covered in this article- if its gas powered, use new gas or fill the tank. If its electric. make sure its plugged in. If the auger won’t turn, check your shear bolts to make sure they have not snapped.
Once you have exhausted the basics, its time to look at the less obvious causes of a snow blower not working.
If the Auger won’t turn and its not a shear bolt problem, try turning it manually. If it does not turn freely, look for obvious signs of a jam. If none are present, it may be due to ice buildup, so try and bring the snow blower into a warm area for a while. Similar issues with the impeller here, make sure that its not mechanically jammed or frozen.
If operating the engagement handle for the auger does not engage the snowthrowing action, take a look at the cable that connects the handle to the switch. It is possible that this cable is stretched, broken or simply frozen due to moisture entering the jacket. If it is stretched or broken, its best to replace the cable. If it is frozen, it needs to be thawed out. Sometimes a mechanical linkage is used instead of a cable, troubleshoot its action to determine the cause of the problem.
An issue may be seen with the drive engagement mechanism or throttle control that is similar to the auger engagement, use the same troubleshooting procedure here.
If snow blower jams happen consistently, there can be a few different reasons for this problem. First look for an obstruction. The type of snow can also cause jams, as wet heavy slush can pack in tightly. If this is the case, try taking a slower approach or smaller bites fo the snowpack. If your snowblower uses paddles to move snow, see if they need to be replaced. Another approach is to spray down the suger and chute area with a cooking spray like Pam. This allows the snow to slide through the machine with less chance of sticking. If there is a jam, turn the snowblower off and use a snow jam tool to make sure that you are not foolishly risking injury.