November 1, 2014

Snowblower common questions

By Sears PartsDirect staff
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, search your model number to find replacement parts. Sears PartsDirect has the part you need, no matter where you bought your snowblower.

Why won't my auger turn?

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

Other causes include a worn auger drive belt. Replace the auger belt if 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.

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 is not damaged or worn, adjust the drive control cable. If the friction disc is worn, replace the friction disc.

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  your owner's manual your specific model.

Why is my snowblower difficult to start?

Water or dirt in the fuel system could cause the engine to be 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, it may need to have the carburetor cleaned and rebuilt.

What steps do I take to store my snowblower?

Never store your snow thrower with gasoline in the fuel tank indoors or in an enclosed, poorly ventilated area. If gasoline remains in the tank, fumes may reach an open flame, spark or pilot light from a furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, cigarette, etc. Gasoline must be removed or treated to prevent gum deposits from forming in the fuel tank, filter, hose, and carburetor during storage. It is best to run the engine until the fuel tank is empty and the engine stops before storing the snowblower.

If you do not remove the gasoline, use fuel stabilizer supplied with unit or purchase Craftsman Fuel Stabilizer. Add fuel stabilizer to any gasoline left in the tank to minimize gum deposits and acids. If the fuel tank is almost empty, mix stabilizer with fresh gasoline in a separate container and add some to the fuel tank.

Why won't my snowblower discharge 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.

Symptoms for gas snowblowers

Choose a symptom to see related snowblower repairs.

Main causes: stale gas, clogged carburetor, clogged or broken fuel line, dirty spark plug, bad rewind starter, incorrect valve lash
Main causes: broken shear pins, worn or loose auger drive belt, auger drive cable failure, damaged auger, bad gear case
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: snow build-up in chute, chute drive mechanism failure, bad chute control assembly
Main causes: clogged chute, damaged auger blades, broken shear pins, worn auger belt, damaged gear case, engine problems
Main causes: dirty carburetor, stale fuel
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
Repair guides for gas snowblowers

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

December 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a snowblower spark plug

You need a spark to fire up the engine of your snowblower, and that spark comes from a spark plug. You can replace one in minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
December 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a snowblower stop switch

Replace the stop switch on your snowblower if your engine won't start.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
December 1, 2015
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How to replace a snowblower skid shoe

To prevent damage to your snowblower auger, replace the skid shoes when both sides of the shoe are worn. It's an easy repair that you can handle yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 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.

November 1, 2014
How to lubricate a snowblower auger shaft video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

This video shows how to how and where to lubricate the auger shaft on a snowblower.

November 1, 2014
How to adjust a snowblower shift cable video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

This video shows how to adjust a snowblower's shift cable.

November 1, 2014
How to adjust snowblower skid shoes video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

See how to periodically adjust the skid shoes on a snowblower so they are flush with the ground.