How to Replace a Snow Blower Drive Belt

As machines age, belts can crack or degrade. Replacing a snow blower belt is a common maintenance task for owners. Fortunately, replacing the drive belt on a snow blower is not as daunting as it sounds. After going through a few basic safety precautions, and the removal of some hardware, you’ll be able to replace the snow blower belt in no time. 

Obtaining the Parts

The first step in performing any repair work is to obtain the necessary snow blower parts. The visual parts lookup tool makes online ordering easy.  Customers should only use original equipment when servicing their snow blowers. OEM parts are made to factory specifications and will handle the stresses of daily operation without damaging the machine. Improperly strengthened or weakened parts can malfunction or damage other components. For the best results, use only proper OEM parts.

Powering Off the Machine

The next step in working on any machine is to shut off the machine. Remove any keys from the ignition.

Powering the snow thrower down includes more than turning off the motor. Spinning the drive pulleys while replacing the belt can inadvertently start the motor. Changing the belt can be hazardous if the machine is powered. To prevent any problems, disconnect the spark plug before changing the belts. Ground the wire to the engine.

Uninstalling the Old Drive Belt

To uninstall the previous drive belt, locate the panel nearest to the belt. On most machines, this will be adjacent to the auger on the outside of the machine on the sides or the back. Owners who are unsure of what panels to remove should consult their owner’s manuals for parts diagrams and service guides. Once the correct panel has been located, remove the screws holding the panel in place and remove the panel from the machine. Retain all screws, washers, and the side panel. This will expose the drive belt.

Block the auger from moving before touching the drive belt. Placing a wooden shaft down the snow chute is one way to block the auger from rotating. In addition, if the belt is not visibly cracked or broken, owners should once again consult their owner’s manuals to verify that they intend to remove the correct belt.

Once the drive belt is exposed, unscrew the nut that secures the main pulley. Remove any washers that may be present. Retain the nut and the washers. Next, release the brake. Pull the auger pulley off its hub with the drive belt still attached. Once the drive belt and pulley are removed from the machine, remove the drive belt from the pulley.

In the event that the belt physically breaks, uninstalling the old drive belt may not be necessary. Follow the remaining steps and discard the broken belt.

Installing the New Drive Belt

To install the new drive belt, perform the installation steps in reverse. First, take the bare auger pulley and wrap the drive belt around the circumference of the pulley. Next, wrap the free side of the belt around the drive pulley and idler. While maintaining tension on the belt, slide the auger pulley with the drive belt attached onto the auger pulley hub.

Ensure that everything is properly aligned while the belt is still free. Misalignment or slippage can indicate that the belt is incorrectly installed. If everything appears to be satisfactory, place any washers back onto the hub and thread the nut back onto the hub over the washers. Tighten down the nut to secure the auger pulley. Inspect the pulley once again for signs of misalignment or slippage. If all appears to be satisfactory, replace the cover and screw it back on. Reinstall the spark plug and remove the obstruction preventing the auger from turning.

The machine should be ready for operation. When first operating the machine after changing the belt, use the machine for light duty tasks at first. If the machine begins making any squealing sounds or if the machine is not functioning properly, stop operating the machine immediately. Remove the panel once again and check for belt misalignment.

Since 1984, Shank’s Lawn Equipment has provided thousands of people with the best outdoor power equipment on the market. If you’re in the Gettysburg, PA,  Boonsboro, MD or Mercersburg, PA area and need service for your Snow Thrower, be sure to stop by Shank’s Lawn Equipment.


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