The big storm has finally come. A shovel won’t do. It’s time to fire up the snowblower and clear a path.
But wait! Why is the snowblower not throwing snow?
As with all mechanical things, sometimes a snowblower will stop doing what it’s supposed to do for various reasons. Here’s what to look for, what to fix or replace, and some tips on how to keep your snowblower in peak condition.
Caution: Before doing any of these things, make sure the snowblower is turned off, and disconnect the power if it’s electric or the spark plug if it runs on gasoline. Only examine the machine on a level surface. And if you ran it before discovering the problem, allow it to cool thoroughly before you begin inspecting.
Check the Blades
The snowblower’s blades are what grab the snow and throw it out of the chute. With time and use, they can get dull and lose their effectiveness. It’ll happen so gradually that you might not notice the subtle change. Inspect the blades. If they’re worn down, they should be replaced.
Examine the Belts
Depending on the model, your snowblower probably has two or three belts for the drive and impeller. They’re likely to have cogs (for better heat dissipation and fit) and go around pulleys. Check them. One or more of the belts slipping off the pulleys can be the cause of a snowblower not throwing snow. If they can be put back around the pulleys snugly, that might be all it needs. But if the belts are stretched or broken, they absolutely need to be replaced.
Other Possible Causes
There are a series of bolts, nuts and pins that hold everything together around the blade assembly, or auger. Check these. They can break if the auger hits rock or ice. In fact, they’re designed to do just that to keep from burning out the engine. If any of these are broken, the snowblower won’t throw snow.
And check the impeller — the part that blows the snow out the other end. It can get jammed with snow, ice and other debris. If clearing the impeller solves the issue, that’s great. If it’s broken, it needs to be replaced.
The best time to make sure your snowblower works for next winter is this coming spring. When you get ready to store the snowblower for the season, let it cool down, then inspect the blades, belts, bolts, nuts and pins. You should also check the spark plug for wear and tear and replace it if needed. Make sure to refresh the gasoline and add a fuel stabilizer to keep the gas good over the months in storage.
You should also treat your snowblower to a good cleaning. After it’s dry, keep it covered and protected from dust, debris and pests in a dry part of your garage or shed. It’s these minutes spent on extra care that will greatly increase the odds of a snowblower working perfectly when winter comes again.
Check out all the snowblower parts available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on snowblowers, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Mike Hagerty is an automotive journalist whose work has been featured on radio, TV, in print and online since 1997. He's the Publisher and Editor of MikeHagertyCars.com, and contributes car reviews to the Los Altos Town Crier and losaltosonline.com. Previous outlets have included KFBK and KFBK.com in Sacramento, California, the ABC television affiliates and Hearst-Argyle and Emmis radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona; AAA magazines for Arizona, Oklahoma, Northwest Ohio, South Dakota and the Mountain West and BBCCars.com.