Snow Blower Maintenance and Repair

Snow Blower Repair and Maintenance Tips for Ensuring a Tip Top Snow Blower this Winter

By Mark J. Donovan

Before the snow flies it’s a wise idea to pull out the snow blower and perform a bit of snow blower maintenance on it.

Otherwise you may find yourself in a situation with a foot of snow blanketing your driveway and a snow blower that won’t start.

Typically the snow blower user manual explains what type of snow blower maintenance is required. In most cases you can perform the maintenance on your own. 

Only in the event of damage to the frame or auger blades, or if the engine refuses to start, may you have to bring it into a snow blower repair shop.

Usual basic snow blower maintenance involves inspecting and servicing the following items:

  • Check and clean or replace the spark plug
  • Check and clean the air filter
  • Replace the oil if it is a 4-stroke snow blower
  • Make sure all the nuts and bolts are tight
  • Check the shear bolts and replace if needed
  • Adjust the snow blower’s auger skid shoes
  • Check the Muffler
  • Fill the snow blower with its recommended gas or gas/oil mixture
  • Make sure the gas cut off valve is turned to the on position
  • Apply a gas stabilizer
  • Check the Pull Cord
Adjust / Replace Snow Blower Spark Plug

Cleaning and adjusting the spark plug, or replacing the spark plug altogether, is probably the most important snow blower maintenance task that is necessary for ensuring an operational engine. A spark plug often becomes fouled over time and can cause the engine to run rough or not at all. With 2-stroke engines, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that they burn a combination of oil and gas. Consequently addressing the snow blower’s spark plug is of utmost priority in basic snow blower maintenance.

Clean Air Filter

It is also important that the snow blower’s air filter is clean. A dirty air filter can effectively suffocate the engine causing it to run poorly.

Change Oil

If the snow blower engine is a 4-stroke, changing the oil is another major item that should be performed on the snow blower. Clean oil will help the engine run more efficiently and will protect the engine from wear and tear.

Check for Loose Nuts and Bolts

Snow blowers have a lot of moving parts and they tend to vibrate fairly dramatically when operating. Consequently nuts and bolts can loosen up over time.

As a result, it’s important to make sure all the nuts and bolts are tight so that you don’t have pieces of the snow blower falling off in the driveway as you snow blow.

Snowblower maintenance and repair tips.

Check Shear Bolts

Also check the shear bolts to make sure they are in place. They ensure the horizontal auger blade turns properly and protects the snow blower from damage in the event the auger blade gets jammed in anyway.

Never replace missing shear bolts with standard bolts as this could severely damage your snow blower if the auger gets jammed.

Check Auger Skid Shoes

Next inspect the snow blower’s auger skid shoes to make sure they are adjusted evenly and close to the level of the driveway. This will help to ensure you don’t leave any snow behind when snow blowing the driveway.

Inspect Muffler

Then take a look at the snow blower’s muffler to make sure it is in good working order and not all rusted out. Snow blowers can be extremely loud and even with a good working muffler it’s a wise idea to wear ear protection when using one.

Inspect Pull Cord

Also make sure the pull cord is in good working order and that it retracts properly after pulling on it. Replace it if it looks frayed.

Fill Gas Tank and Check Shut-off Valve

Next fill the gas tank with gas, or the appropriate gas/oil mixture if it is a two stroke engine, and make sure the gas shut off valve is in the on position. Also add a fuel stabilizer to the engine to make sure the gas does not go stale during significant periods of non-use.

Test Snow Blower

Finally, adjust the choke and pull the pull cord. With any luck your basic snow blower repair and maintenance efforts will result in a smooth running snow blower that will get you through the winter season.

If after repeated attempts to start the snow blower it refuses to fire up, then either adjust the carburetor per the snow blowers user manual, or take it to your local snow blower repair shop.

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