How To Troubleshoot A Clogged Snowblower

Is your snowblower refusing to throw snow?  Single stage snowblowers are particularly prone to clogging when snow gets packed in the housing.  As the auger spins, a layer of snow may be slipping between the paddles and the housing and building up.  There are a few measures you can take to prevent this buildup from clogging your snowblowers chute.

Over-worn parts are the number one reason why single stage snowblowers clog.  The condition of your snowblowers scraper blades, rubber paddles, and belts directly translate to its performance throwing snow.  Observe the following photographs of new and worn components.

New rubber paddle with wear marker highlighted
Completely worn rubber paddle

Snowblower augers operate with a tight clearance between the paddles and the housing.  A small gap ensures the snow is scooped and thrown out of the chute efficiently.  As paddles wear down, the gap between the paddles and the housing increases.  More of the snow entering the snowblower slips underneath the paddles and packs in the housing.  Some paddles have a wear marker, highlighted above, to help you determine when you many want to replace them.

New scraper blade on the underside of the snowblower
Scraper blade worn completely off

The scraper blade forms a protective edge where the underside of the snowblower housing meets the ground.  It helps shovel snow off the ground and up into the auger.  A worn or missing scraper blade will increase the clearance between the auger and the housing and make clogging more likely.  It will also create a coarser pass over the ground, and leave more unthrown snow behind.  Observe the highlighted photographs above and note if the scraper blade is worn down or missing.

Snowblowers have a maximum capacity that should not be exceeded or the machine may strain.  Know the forecast and how much snowfall to expect from an upcoming storm.  If the predicted accumulation will be greater than the recommended operation limit, you can make multiple passes during  the storm to keep snow levels from becoming unmanageable.  In general, single stage snowblowers operate best when throwing 6″ of snow, and can handle up to 1′ of light accumulation.  For larger and denser accumulation, look into using a two-stage model.

Follow this helpful buying guide for a more detailed chart on snowblower capacities.

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