Snowblowers are built for use. Most of them are rugged and durable. Nevertheless, mechanical things have mechanical problems. Not every situation is a snow-stopper. Several issues have easy fixes that will get your snowblower going and keep it running well.
You spent quite a bit on your snowblower. While it was bright, shiny, and new, it was great. It did the work instead of your shoulders, back, and arms. Then, it got a little older, the new wore off, and one day it didn’t do the job as well – or it quit! If it did that in the middle of a snowstorm…ouch. Can you fix it?
Is It A Major Problem?
Here are a few things I would consider significant problems:
- Seized pistons in the engine due to rust or melting
- Burned engine valves
- Bad fuel pump, engine coil, or electric starter
- Bad drive disc
Unless you are mechanically inclined, such repairs will probably be beyond your ability. I know I wouldn’t be able even to diagnose such problems, much less fix them. The snowblower will be on its way to the repair shop.
Is It A Minor Problem?
A problem is a problem if your snowblower doesn’t work! Right? A simple fix could save you time, money, and snow-covered sidewalks, however. Think twice and don’t panic if things go wrong.
My Snowblower Won’t Start. How Can That Be A Minor Thing?
Is there gas in the tank? I know it seems stupid to ask, but I’ve tried to start more than one engine that was out of gas. It’s pretty easy to fix by putting gas in the tank.
Refer to your Owner’s Manual to ensure you follow the proper start-up procedure. The cart won’t work in front of the horse. Is the choke set properly? Is the fuel valve open? Is the start switch set to ON? Did you prime the carburetor? Most engines have a rubber bubble you press a few times, sending gas to the carburetor or “priming” it.
Just don’t press it too many times. If you do, you get a different problem. We say too much gas in the carburetor is “flooding the engine.” Still, it’s an easy fix. Just wait for a minute and try again.
All That Is As It Should Be, And It Still Won’t Start. What Now?
One of my friends couldn’t get his snowblower to start, so he called me. I asked if it had gas in it. He answered, “Duh! I’m not stupid! Of course, it has gas in it. I filled it up when I put it in storage last year.”
Movies about surviving an apocalypse might suggest it, but gasoline doesn’t last forever. It does well for a month or so. Then, it begins to degrade. It separates, forming a sticky, gunky substance that can clog fuel lines and impede starting. I told him to drain the tank and replace the gasoline with recreation fuel. He was patient trying to start the machine. It took a few tries.
Here’s an easy one to miss. Fuel caps have vent holes to allow air into the gas tank. If something obstructs the vent, the tank develops a vacuum, preventing fuel from flowing. If you can clear the obstruction, you’ll be good to go. Otherwise, you will have to replace the gas cap.
I Have A Gasoline Leak!
Never be indifferent to seeing or smelling a gasoline leak. A fire created by a leak is bad, but the gasoline tank exploding could be deadly. Check your gas cap. Is the seal broken, cracked, or worn? Does the cap fit too loosely on the tank? If so, replace the gas cap.
Bad primer buttons, old fuel filters, cracked fuel pumps, leaking fuel valves, dirty carburetors, and split fuel lines are other causes of gasoline leaks. In such instances, personally, I would be repair shop bound.
What If My Snowblower Runs But Won’t Blow Snow?
Your snowblower can clog up with packed snow or ice. Check your auger, impeller blades, and discharge chute. Remove accumulated ice and snow with a snow removal tool. A windshield ice scraper will work. Just don’t use your hands! Even when the machine is off, there is sharp stuff in it that will hurt you.
Treat the snowblower to prevent clogging. Commercial ice preventers, WD-40, PAM, vegetable oil in a spray bottle, or any non-stick product applied to the auger, impeller blades, and discharge chute will prevent clogging.
My Auger Stopped Turning. Can I Fix It?
Check your auger to see if anything, like sticks or stones, has jammed it. Check the impeller blades. Jams can occur there, too. Remove the thing causing the jam.
If that isn’t the problem, take a look at the belt turning the auger. Is it shiny, cracked, or loose? It may need replacing.
Check the auger axle. If it turns but the auger doesn’t, you may have sheared a pin. The auger is held to the axle rod by a pin through the auger and rod. If the snowblower hits an unmovable object, the pin will sever, allowing the axle to move freely.
Replacing the pin is reasonably easy if you have a spare pin. Do not be tempted to use anything other than the manufacturer’s pin. A bolt, screw, nail, or cotter pin might work – until you hit another obstacle, and then expensive engine damage may result from the lack of using the correct $1 part.
What If My Wheels Won’t Work?
Check the belt attached to the wheels. It may need a replacement if it is in bad shape. Also, check the disc drives where they make contact with the wheels. Bad contact does not mean a disc drive is bad. You may need to make a simple cable adjustment so the discs make better contact.
My Snowblower Doesn’t Clear Away All The Snow.
The easy fix is to check the air pressure in your tires. If the pressure is imbalanced, too low, or too high, the snowblower will not sit in proper relation to the ground, thus leaving a layer or trails of snow behind.
The scraper bar or cutting edge may be worn or damaged. This device scrapes up snow and directs it into the auger. Because it sets on or just above the ground, it can be damaged easily. If it is bent or gouged, it will not pick up the snow in places where it is damaged, leaving snow trails behind. If that is the case, replace it.