Are Snow Blowers Hard to Push?

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Is your snow blower requiring too much effort to push? Perhaps you used to have an easier time but for some reason the machine is harder to move around now. Could that be a sign of serious damage? This post explains what you need to do.

A loose blade, damaged friction disc and debris clogging the wheels can make a snow blower hard to push. The driver lever cable might also be too loose or the machine could be in the wrong gear. Any of these can hinder a snow blower’s movement.

How Snow Blowers Move

Before we look at the various fixes, you have to understand how snow blowers are propelled forward. This way you will know if there is a problem and where it is likely coming from.

Today’s snow blowers need very little pushing. In fact, what you do mostly is to guide the blower in the right spot. There is a lever for forward and reverse.

There is also speed option in the controls. Set it to what is appropriate for the snow. All you have to do is squeeze the handle and the blower should start running. If it does not move along, then there is a problem that you need to look into.

Should Snow Blowers be Easy to Push?

if you have never used a snow blower before and decided to buy a Power Smart Snow Blower, it will have some weight. It should not be difficult but you will feel its weight.

However, you should not be straining to push a snow blower, even the gas-powered ones. If you are huffing and puffing just to get it to move, there is probably something wrong with the blower. You might need to make some adjustments or repair.

The bottom line is that even a large snow blower should not require too much force to push. If that is the case, check the following for the reasons why this is happening.

Damaged Friction Disc

The friction disc is what enables a snow blower to move forward. When the disc touches the spinning drive wheel, it turns its axle. A damaged or worn out disc causes a snow blower to move in an unpredictable manner or very slowly.

If the disc is damaged or worn out, it must be replaced. The following procedure works for Craftsman snow blowers as well as Snapper, Husqvarna, Troybilt, MTD and others.

How to Replace a Snow Blower Friction Disc

This video shows you how to replace a friction disc. If you prefer written instructions, just follow these.

You will need the following:

  • New friction disc (manufacturer approved for your snow blower)
  • Anti seize compound (our pick is the Permatex 80078 Anti-Seize Lubricant}
  • Ratchet
  • Hammer
  • Socket set
  • Adjustable wrenches (or 13/16 inch open-end)
  1. Turn the snow blower off. Disconnect the spark plug.
  2. Turn the snow blower so that it sets on the auger casing. Between the wheels is the frame panel held together by screws. Unscrew the panel.
  3. Take out both of the wheels. Store the bolts and screws you remove in a safe location for easy retrieval later.
  4. Use an adjustable wrench to keep the hex shaft steady. Use a ratchet to take the mounting nut off.
  5. Tap the hex shaft’s left end until the bearing is pushed from the frame’s right side. Pull down the shaft and take the friction disc out.
  6. Add some anti-seize compound on the shaft and remove the debris and rust.
  7. Once the shaft is cleaned you can install the new friction disc. Set the friction disc in the right position and set the hex shaft into the frame’s bearing on the right. Put the nuts back on.
  8. Put the wheels back on. Reinstall the mounting nut and washer and secure the axle nuts.
  9. Put the spark plug back on. Fill the snow blower with fuel and give it a try.

Loose Blade

A snow blower blade is normally secure. But it can come loose if it hits something hard in the snow. It can be ice or some other object. Either way when that happens, the blade could come loose or even get damaged.

To fix this, turn the snow blower off. Check if the blade is still in the right position or it has come loose. If you stuck something hard and the snow blower suddenly stalled, the blade probably hit something and came off.

If the blade just came loose you can tighten it again. If it is broken, get a replacement that is compatible with the blower. This is true not just for the blade but for all parts. No matter the make and model, the replacement must be compatible with it.

Clogged Wheels

Debris can get trapped in the wheels, and if that happens the blower will slow to a crawl no matter how hard you push it. This can occur if there is a lot of snow and ice. If there are other debris in the snow, those can also block the wheels. This can take place too if you use a snow blower on leaves for example.

The solution is to unclog the tires. Turn off the blower and turn it upside down. If the tires are clogged with snow and other objects, remove them using a stick or similar tool.

Check the tires if they are punctured or worn out. Replace if necessary. Turn the snow blower over after you have cleared the tires. Start it up and try again. If the blower is easier to move now, it means clogging was the issue.

Loose Tires

Under heavy snow, it is possible for the tires to come loose or be misaligned. This can cause the snow blower to move in a haphazard manner, which is dangerous in snow.

To fix this problem, check the tires if they have come off or clogged. This might be easier to do if the blower was turned over so you have easier access. If the tire is misaligned, position it back. You might have to remove the tire and put it back on. Once the tire is back on, turn on the snow blower and try it.

If the tires are flat they have to be replaced. This video shows how it is done.

Driver Lever Cable is Slack

In many snow blowers, you use both levers. One to move the blower forward, and the other for clearing snow and ice. In general that is how snow blowers work.

If you do not press on the lever for movement, the blower will remain still. If there is a lot of snow, it might take some force to get the blower moving. This will definitely be the case if the tires are clogged.

It is also possible that the driver lever cable is too slack. A slack cable means the friction wheel will not push against the friction disc tight enough. That is going to cause the blower to move unpredictably. Even if the blower does move, it will be difficult and require a lot of effort.

Mechanical Failure

Another thing you should do is check if the snow blower is in the right gear. If the machine is in the right gear but movement is limited, there is a problem with the drive.

With modern snow blowers, there is very little actual push needed. What you do mostly is sort of guide the blower where to go. The exception is deep snow where pushing is needed to move the snow blower in the right direction.

If you are facing very deep snow, it is normal for snow blowers to struggle somewhat. You have to give it a good push or even clear some of the heavy snow. If you already did that and the blower is still experiencing mobility issues, there is hardware failure somewhere.

In most cases you just need to replace a broken part and install the new one. As long as the new component is compatible with your snow blower, there will be no issues. Is it possible to repair it instead? Yes, but it is time consuming and only if you are familiar with these systems.