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How to Improve Snow Blower Performance

1/10/2019 6:00:00 AM

Are you getting everything you want from your snow blower, or is something lacking? Maybe your snow blower isn’t throwing well or maybe your snow blower isn't scraping the driveway properly. But before you become frustrated and rush to the snow blower repair shop, we suggest making some quick, easy adjustments. In many cases, performance issues can be solved by completing an adjustment in your own garage.

As always, review the safety information and the instructional details in your operator’s manual before performing service or adjustments.

1. Adjust snow blower scraper blade

Depending on frequency of use, contact with your pavement can wear a scraper bar. As it wears, it won’t clear snow as effectively, however, it can be adjusted to compensate for wear.

  1. Carefully tip your snow blower back so its weight rests on the handlebars and secure the unit so it will not tip unexpectedly. [see photo of service position]
  2. Loosen scraper blade hardware at the bottom of housing.
  3. Pull the scraper blade down as far as possible.
  4. Tighten the scraper blade hardware.

After adjusting your scraper blade, you'll need to adjust your unit’s skid shoes. If your scraper blade is worn too far, you can get a replacement at your local Ariens dealer or online at

2. Adjust snow blower skid shoes

The position of the unit's skid shoes regulates the gap between the scraper blade and the clearing surface. As the scraper blade wears or is adjusted, the skid shoes will need to be reset so an effective clearing gap is maintained.

  1. Position a spacer under the left and right sides of the scraper bar.
    • Use a 1/8-inch-thick spacer if clearing paved surfaces
    • Use a 1/2-inch-thick spacer if clearing gravel surfaces
  2. Loosen all skid shoe hardware.
  3. Position skid shoes against clearing surface.
  4. Tighten skid shoe hardware.

If you prefer non-abrasive skid shoes to standard steel skid shoes, you can find them at your local Ariens dealer or online at​.

3. Snow blower tire pressure recommendation

Underinflated tires can affect how your snow blower drives. To help ensure the unit maintains grip and drives in a straight line, inflate the tires to adequate, equal tire pressures. On Ariens® Sno-Thro® models, there is no tire pressure recommendation other than the pressure range listed on the tire sidewalls.

4. Adjust snow blower chute cable

Adjust chute deflector
All newer Ariens Sno-Thro models are equipped with an identical chute deflector, or chute cap lever that controls the height of snow discharge. If the deflector doesn't stay at its selected height, tighten the nut on the chute deflector lever under the dash panel.

If the deflector doesn't follow its full range of travel, adjust the chute cable nuts on the deflector.

  • To adjust the deflector lower, loosen the lower nut and tighten the upper nut.
  • To adjust the deflector higher, loosen the upper nut and tighten the lower nut.

After adjustments are made, test the lever to make sure the deflector follows its full range of travel.

Adjust chute rotation
If the discharge chute doesn't remain in the desired direction while throwing snow, adjust it. Depending on the snowblower model, the discharge chute rotation will be adjusted in one of two ways.

Ariens Compact and Deluxe models:

  1. Tighten the nut under the discharge chute gears.
  2. Test discharge chute rotation and repeat adjustment, if necessary.

Ariens Platinum and Professional models:
If discharge chute does not stay in position:

  1. Remove chute gear cover.
  2. Loosen rear adjustment nut and tighten forward adjustment nut until lock arm engages gear teeth.
  3. Test discharge chute rotation and repeat adjustment, if necessary.
  4. Reinstall gear cover.

If discharge chute does not rotate freely:

  1. Remove chute gear cover.
  2. Loosen forward adjustment nut and tighten rear adjustment nut until there is no cable slack and lock arm engages gear teeth.
  3. Reinstall gear cover.

5. Adjust snow blower auger cable

If your snow blower's throwing ability is diminished, the issue could be resolved with one or two simple adjustments. Remember, details and illustrations for the procedures can be found in your operator’s manual.

Check auger clutch cable

  1. Check for slack in auger clutch cable that extends from the right clutch lever to the rear of the frame.
  2. Loosen the jam nut on the cable adjustment barrel and turn barrel down until slack is removed.
  3. Tighten jam nut against adjustment barrel.

Adjust idler position

If the auger cable is already taut or has just been adjusted, you may need to reposition the idler on the attachment arm.

  1. Rotate unit into the service position and remove the bottom cover. [See photo of service position]
  2. Check the distance between the attachment idler arm roller and the frame.
  3. Loosen the adjustment nut on the attachment idler (located under the belt cover) and reposition the idler.

6. Adjust snow blower drive cable

If your snowblower isn't driving correctly, it could be corrected by adjusting the drive clutch cable, which extends from the left clutch lever to the rear of the unit’s frame.

  1. Loosen jam nut on the adjustment barrel of the drive cable.
  2. Turn the adjustment barrel down to shorten cable slack.
  3. Tighten the nut against the adjustment barrel.

7. Adjust snow blower track

Snowblower track tension should be within specification and equal. If your track snow blower is pulling to the left or right, adjust the track tension.

  • If snow blower drives to the right, tighten the left track adjuster
  • If snow blower drives to the left, tighten the right track adjuster

If these adjustments don't correct the issues you're experiencing, you can always get help from your local authorized Ariens servicing dealer. Replacement parts like new scraper blades or skid shoes can be ordered online at or ​from a snow blower repair shop like your local Ariens dealer.