The invention of the snowblower is attributed to Arthur Sicard, a Canadian inventor. Sicard developed the first practical snowblower in 1925 in response to the heavy snowfalls common in Quebec, Canada. Sicard’s snowblower was initially a large, truck-mounted machine designed to clear snow from roads and railroad tracks. It featured a series of rotating blades and an auger mechanism that could pick up and throw snow to the side, allowing for more efficient and quicker snow removal compared to traditional shoveling or plowing methods.
Today’s snowblowers are, essentially, more compact versions of the machine Sicard initially developed. You depend on this equipment to effectively clear those snowdrifts from your driveway and walkways during the winter months. But what do you do if your snowblower isn’t blowing any snow? Repair Clinic believes you can solve this problem yourself with a little troubleshooting, and we’re ready to explain how.
What makes the snowblower throw snow?
So how does a snowblower, or snow thrower as they are sometimes referred to, actually throw the snow? That depends on the type of equipment you’re using.
Single-stage snowblowers vs. dual-stage snowblowers
Most snowblowers are classified as either single-stage or dual-stage. Single-stage models use an auger to both collect and throw the snow, working best on snow that is six inches deep or less. Dual-stage snowblowers will use an auger to collect the snow and an impeller to throw it. These models can handle snow as deep as one foot or more depending on the size of the auger housing.
A single-stage snowblower will have only one drive pulley
The crankshaft of the snowblower’s engine extends out the side of the engine and one or more drive pulleys are attached to it. A single-stage snowblower will have only one drive pulley attached to the crankshaft. To engage the auger, a spring-loaded idler pulley and belt are used. When the bail arm is engaged, the idler pulley tightens the auger drive belt around the drive pulley causing the auger to rotate. The auger blades will then collect the snow and throw it out of the chute in one motion.
A dual-stage snowblower will often have multiple drive pulleys
A dual-stage snowblower often has multiple drive pulleys. One or more belts are used to drive the auger transmission (consisting of both the auger and the impeller), and another belt is used to drive the self-propelled wheels. When the auger drive handle is engaged, a pulley applies tension to the auger drive belts. The transmission engages the auger which rotates much slower than the impeller. As the auger rotates, it forces the snow towards the back of the auger housing where the spinning impeller will propel the snow out of the chute.
The 4 causes of a snowblower not throwing snow
Ready to start troubleshooting? If your snowblower isn’t blowing or throwing that snow, here are the four most likely causes you should investigate:
- Broken shear bolt or pin – Snowblowers will have one or more shear bolts or pins inserted through the auger axle sleeve to lock the sleeve in place with the auger drive axle. The bolts or pins are designed to break in half if the auger hits a large rock or a chunk of ice to prevent damage to the engine or transmission. Once the bolt or pin breaks, the axle will be unable to rotate the auger and the snowblower will be unable to throw the snow. Installing a new shear bolt or pin will fix the problem.
- Worn auger assembly – If the shear bolts or pins are intact, it’s possible that some part of the auger assembly has worn out. This problem can be more common on smaller single-stage snowblowers where worn auger paddles may no longer come in contact with the ground, or the inner metal portion of the paddle is exposed through the rubber. On some snowblower models, the auger paddles or blades can be replaced individually, while other models will require the entire assembly to be replaced before the snowblower will be able to blow snow again.
- Damaged belt – Cogged or non-cogged V-belts or flat belts drive the auger when the drive pulley or pulleys are engaged. If the belt or belts are worn, stretched, or broken, the auger won’t be able to rotate and no snow will be thrown. Inspect the belt or belts for any sign of wear or damage. Even a small amount of belt wear can impact the snowblower’s ability to work properly, so replace any worn or damaged belts with new ones to keep the equipment operating optimally.
- Defective impeller – As noted earlier, dual-stage snowblowers use an impeller in addition to the auger to help propel the snow through the chute. If the auger and belts are all in good shape and working as expected, inspect the impeller to determine if the component is jammed or damaged. The impeller may be unable to rotate due to an ice obstruction. Try clearing the obstruction to see if that resolves the issue. If the impeller is clearly damaged, you should replace the old impeller with a new one.
Free snowblower repair help courtesy of Repair Clinic
Want to learn the right way to replace a shear bolt on an Ariens model 921022 snowblower or a Cub Cadet model 31AM63TR756 snowblower? How about installing an entire auger assembly on a Craftsman model 247887801 snowblower? You can get free snowblower repair help like this courtesy of the “Videos & Articles” section of the Repair Clinic website. Click around and you’ll find thousands of “How To” videos, schematics, and instructional articles on all major outdoor power equipment as well as home appliances and heating and cooling systems. Free repair help is just another advantage Repair Clinic provides as your repair partner.
Once you know what snowblower part needs to be replaced, you can purchase that part at Repair Clinic. You can count on Repair Clinic to provide you with genuine original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts direct from such known manufacturers as Craftsman, Toro, Ariens, Honda, MTD, Troy-bilt, and Cub Cadet, among many others. OEM replacement parts are specifically designed to work with the model you need to repair, so you can be assured the fix will be a long-lasting one. To find the exact part you need, enter the snowblower’s full model number in the Repair Clinic website search bar to see a complete list of all compatible parts. You can then use the “Part Category” navigation filter (examples: “Auger”, “Belt”) and the “Part Title” filter (examples: “Auger Blade”, “V-Belt”) to refine the list to locate the specific matching part you’re looking for.