January 5, 2023

Frequently asked questions about snowblowers

Snowblower common questions
Snowblower common questions

These common questions about snowblowers are the ones our experts hear the most often from our customers. You might also find the help you need by checking the common symptoms and solutions for snowblowers. When you’re ready to make a repair, find replacement parts for your snowblower by keying its model number into the search bar and finding the parts you need on the parts diagram for your model.

Sears PartsDirect has the part you need, no matter where you bought your snowblower.

Why is my snowblower hard to start?

Water or dirt in the fuel system can make the engine difficult to start. Stale fuel is also another cause. Remove the fuel from the fuel tank and add fresh gas.

If the snowblower has fresh gas and it is still hard start, a fouled or burnt spark plug could be the reason. Remove and replace the spark plug.  If the snowblower has fresh gas and the spark plug is getting spark and won't start, you might need to clean and rebuild the carburetor.

Why won't my auger turn?

A broken shear pin is the most common reason the auger won't turn. The shear pins are designed to break to protect damaging the gear case or belt when a hard object jams in the auger. If the shear pin breaks, it's easy to replace the shear pin.

Other causes include a worn auger drive belt. Replace the auger belt if it's worn. A gear case failure or too much slack in the auger control cable could also be cause. Inspect the auger drive components and replace any worn or damaged parts. Adjust the auger control cable if it isn’t pulling the idler pulley over far enough to tighten the auger drive belt against the drive pulley when you engage the auger drive lever. Our How to Adjust a Snowblower Auger Control Cable Video shows you how.

Why won't my snowblower propel itself?

A worn or loose drive belt, friction disc or slack in the drive engagement cable can prevent the snowblower from moving. Inspect the drive belt and the friction wheel for wear. If the drive belt and friction wheel are not damaged or worn, adjust the drive control cable. If the friction disc is worn, replace the friction disc.

Why won't my snowblower shoot out snow?

broken shear bolt connecting the auger to the shaft will prevent the auger from turning and pushing snow up into the impeller and discharge chute. If the auger drive belt is loose or worn, the belt will slip and prevent the auger from turning.  Replace the auger drive belt. Check the auger drive belt and adjust if needed. Follow the procedure in your owner's manual.

The auger control cable being out of adjustment could also prevent the auger from turning and discharging snow. This video shows how to adjust the auger control cable on a snowblower.

A two-stage snowblower has an impeller to discharge snow as the auger pushes snow into impeller housing. If the impeller is not spinning, it could have a broken gear in the gear case. If the auger and impeller are spinning, check for a blockage in the discharge chute.

A broken shear pin connecting the auger to the shaft will prevent the auger from turning and pushing snow up into the impeller and discharge chute. Replace the shear pin if broken.

Snowblower blowing snow

How do I adjust the skid shoes on my snowblower?

  1. Move the snowblower to an area with a flat, level surface.

  2. Lay down a sheet of cardboard or flattened shipping box that’s almost as wide as the shave plate and is about a quarter-inch thick. Place the cardboard so it’s under the shave plate but not under the skid shoes. The cardboard raises the shave plate to prevent wear on the plate.

  3. Use a wrench to loosen the skid shoe mounting nuts so the skid shoes rest flat on the surface and the shave plate rests flat on the cardboard.

  4. Tighten the skid shoe mounting nuts.

Check the skid shoe spacing often to prevent shave plate wear.

Are rolling skid shoes available for snow throwers?

Yes. Rolling skid shoes are available for these snow blower and snow thrower models:

You can use these skid shoes with rollers if they fit your snowblower.

Where is the air filter on my gas snowblower?

You won’t find an air filter on most snowblower engines. Snowblower engines typically don’t have an air filter because snow would quickly clog the filter and the engine wouldn’t get air needed for combustion.

For the rare snowblower engines that do have an air filter, it’s typically located in front of the carburetor. Check the owner’s manual for your snowblower to determine if it has an air filter and find its location.

Can I use E85 (ethanol) fuel in my snowblower?

E85 is a fuel combination of ethyl alcohol (ethanol) and gasoline. It contains 85% ethanol. Many snowblowers are not designed or certified to use E85 fuel or any alcohol blended fuel. Check your owner's manual your specific model.

How should I store my snowblower?

Before storing the snowblower, run the engine until the fuel tank is empty and the engine stops. Gasoline left in the tank can form gum deposits in the fuel tank, filter, hose, and carburetor during storage.

You don't have to burn off the gas if you treated it with fuel stabilizer when you filled the tank. Don't add fuel stabilizer directly to the tank; always mix gas with stabilizer in a separate container, so you mix the right proportions.

Never store your snowblower with gasoline in the fuel tank indoors or in an enclosed, poorly ventilated area. Combustible fumes from the snowblower could be sparked by an open flame, a nearby pilot light or another heat source.

Symptoms for gas snowblowers

Choose a symptom to see related snowblower repairs.

Main causes: dirty carburetor, clogged fuel filter, dirty spark plug, incorrect valve lash, leaky engine gaskets
Main causes: dirty carburetor, stale fuel
Main causes: loose drive clutch cable, damaged drive clutch cable, worn friction disc, scraper blade scraping the ground, engine problems
Main causes: punctured tire, damaged rim
Main causes: broken shear pins, worn or loose auger drive belt, auger drive cable failure, damaged auger, bad gear case
Main causes: stale gas, clogged carburetor, clogged or broken fuel line, dirty spark plug, bad rewind starter, incorrect valve lash
Main causes: clogged chute, snow build-up in auger housing, broken auger shear pins, auger drive belt needs adjustment, auger cable problems
Things to do: replace the spark plug, change the oil, rebuild the carburetor, adjust valve lash, adjust or replace the belts
Main causes: clogged chute, damaged auger blades, broken shear pins, worn auger belt, damaged gear case, engine problems

Repair guides for gas snowblowers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your snowblower.

How to replace a snowblower fuel filter

Replace the fuel filter on your snowblower if it's clogged or damaged.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to adjust snowblower skid shoes

To prevent snowblower auger and shave plate damage, adjust the skid shoes regularly to keep the shave plate ¼-inch high. It's an easy adjustment that you can handle yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to rebuild a snowblower carburetor

Rebuild the carburetor on your snowblower if the engine isn't getting fuel.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less

Articles and videos for gas snowblowers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your snowblower.

December 12, 2022

How to adjust the snowblower auger control

How to adjust the snowblower auger control

This video shows how to adjust a snowblower's auger control.

December 1, 2022

How to position drift cutters on a snowblower

How to position drift cutters on a snowblower

Learn how to set up and use drift cutters on your snowblower or snow thrower.

November 17, 2022

What are the major parts of a snowblower?

What are the major parts of a snowblower?

Learn about major functional parts of your snowblower and when to replace them.