Snow Thrower Troubleshooting

Winter can be filled with intense weather conditions that place snow removal at the top of many to-do lists all season long. While snow throwers are often used to clear snow quickly and easily, unanticipated equipment issues can occur, setting you back on time, as ice and snow continue to build up outdoors.

The two most common snow thrower equipment problems individuals run into are starting issues and clogged chutes; however, both can be resolved with the proper maintenance and tools. Consider these troubleshooting tips to help get your snow thrower up and running to take on all that winter will bring.

Starting Trouble

After sitting unused throughout the warmer months, revving up your snow thrower at the start of the snow season may require some coaxing. Begin by emptying out any fuel left in the tank from the previous winter, and replace it with clean, fresh fuel.

Next, check the dipstick to make sure you have adequate oil - running your snow thrower with little or no oil can damage your engine. It's also important to set the choke and push the primer bulb a few times before your first pull (if your snow thrower is equipped with those features).
Some models, like the single-stage Squall 208E Snow Thrower, have push-button electric start, which eliminates pull-starting.

Lastly, check your sparkplug to see if it's unplugged, corroded or covered in buildup. If you spot one of these issues, try cleaning or replacing your spark plug by following the instructions in your owner's manual.

Chute Clogging

Many snow throwers, like the two-stage FLEX Snow Thrower attachment, have adjustable chutes that enable you to control the direction and pitch of snow as you clear. Depending on your snow thrower model, objects and particularly heavy, wet snow can clog your snow thrower's chute, prompting you to make a quick fix on the fly.

In these instances, release both the auger control and drive control, shut off the engine and remain behind the handles until all other moving parts of your snow thrower have stopped.
Next, use the shovel-shaped end of the clean-out tool to break down and remove any snow and ice that has formed in and near the chute assembly. (On most Troy-Bilt snow throwers, the chute clean-out tool is fastened to the rear of the auger housing with a mounting clip.) Once you've cleared the chute, simply refasten the clean-out tool to the mounting clip.  

When the clearing is complete and all tools are safely put away, reinsert the ignition key and start your snow thrower. While standing in the operators position (behind the snow thrower), engage the auger control for a few seconds to clear any remaining snow and ice from the chute assembly.

Whatever the maintenance task may be, you should always read your owner's manual and wear protective eyewear and other necessary safety gear.