Six (6) Common Problems when it comes to your Snow Blowers
I am going to try and just hit on the basics to help you keep that machine going when it needs to be.
Won’t Start – You pretty much have fuel, spark, and compression. Follow the directions given by the manufacturer. Every brand is different and how they want you to start that snowblower. Some have a fuel shut-off that needs to be turned on, a primer bulb that varies from 3 pumps to 7 pumps depending on the machine you have. Some need that plastic key that needs to be in place and many have a choke system of choke, half choke and run by turning a dial by the plastic key.
Let’s say the key is in place, the fuel is turned on, you primed it based on the directions and the choke is on and it still will not start.
- Is it summer or winter fuel? There is a difference in that fuel bought during the winter months is a hotter fuel and fires easier during cold weather. If you are getting fuel, you should be able to smell it. So let’s say the fuel is good.
- Time to get the spark plug wrench and take out the spark plug. Is it wet? A good spark plug tester or placing the bottom of the plug against any metal surface on the snowblower and turning it over should show a good blue spark. If not…replace the spark plug after you gap it correctly based on the manufactures settings.
- If the spark plug is dry and is firing a good blue flame….then it is either a fuel issue or compression or the lack of I should say. The majority of the time it is that old fuel was left in the snowblower from the prior year and has allowed it to go bad and in many causes a varnish inside the carburetor.
- Drain all the old fuel out, clean the needle and seat in the carburetor and also completely drain that as well by taking the bottom bowl off, cleaning it with carburetor cleaner. Use the carburetor cleaner to flush out all the orifices inside the carburetor. Put the needle and seat back in and place the bottom of the bowl back on.
- If you are not using 91 octane fuel…then it has ethanol in it that draws moisture (water) and we all know that small engines do not run well on water alone.
- The last thing to check if none of the above worked is compression. This is usually the older machines where a lot of wear and tear has been placed on the rings inside the engine and now not allowing it to build up enough compression to fire properly. You really want it above 100 psi to run correctly. If you are not getting the manufactures PSI settings, then its time to either get the engine rebuilt or time to invest in a newer machine.
Starts but does not move – three common issues are the worn drive belts, broken drive cables and the rear disc that allows it to move forward or backward may be worn or out of adjustment.
- First, check the belts for wear…replace if needed.
- Then check the disc to make sure it is moving freely.
- If not, it may be a simple cable adjustment or its time to either replace the drive cable and or the drive disc.If you send it to us prior to the season for its yearly service, we check all for ware and replace anything we feel will fail during the season causing breakdowns.
Starts and moves but will not blow snow –
- The most common issues are that the auger belts are worn or the shear bolts did its job of breaking before allowing anything major to happen to the snowblower.
- Please do not replace the shear bolt with a common everyday bolt that fits the holes. The shear bolts are there for a reason and if you place a standard bolt where the shear bolt should be and it damages the machine… it will void all warranties if they are still in place.
- Check for stones or debris caught in the paddles that may have caused the shear bolts to break.
- Replace worn auger drive belts. This usually requires the machine to be split in the front and on most, there are 2 cogged belts that drive the augers and blowers.
- Blower paddles are worn or bent. On the bigger machines with metal paddles, we can usually bend them back to the proper place to blow snow. Smaller machines have rubber paddles and after awhile they get worn down and blow less and less snow. Replacement paddles can be purchased and replaced.
- Also, check the shear bar for ware and replace when needed.Again…if it comes in for its yearly service, we check to make sure everything is as it should be.