You made a good investment when you purchased an Ariens snowblower. It’s important to protect that investment and keep it running at its best by servicing it annually and performing routine checks throughout the winter season.
An Ariens snowblower is serviced by checking the safety system, tire pressures, fuel system, auger blades, scraper bar, and belts; changing the engine oil; and replacing the spark plug. The gearcase oil level is checked and the shafts are lubricated on 2-stage and 3-stage Ariens snowblowers.
Take caution when performing maintenance on your Ariens. This includes removing the key and the spark plug wire; waiting for all parts to stop moving, and allowing the engine to cool down.
This article refers to servicing an Ariens snowblower with a 4-cycle engine. While 2-cycle snowblowers are not being manufactured, you can still find old ones on the market. 2-cycle snowblowers require a gas and oil fuel mix and do not have separate fill ports for gas and engine oil.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
Checklist to Service an Ariens Snowblower
An Ariens snowblower should be serviced annually and maintained throughout the year.
- Collect tools and supplies
- Check the safety system
- Change engine oil and filter
- Replace the spark plug
- Inspect the fuel system
- Check tire pressures & lug nuts
- Check the gearcase (2-stage & 3-stage models)
- Check the condition of belts and pulleys
- Inspect the condition of the auger paddles and scraper bar (single-stage)
- Inspect the condition of the auger blades, scraper bar and skid shoes (2-stage & 3-stage models)
- Tighten and replace loose or missing parts
- Lubricate the traction drive and auger shafts
11 Steps to Service and Maintain an Ariens Snowblower
1. Collect Tools & Supplies
It is best to get all of the materials together before you start servicing your snowblower.
- Engine Oil and Filter
- Spark Plug
- Socket or Spanner Wrenches
- Drain Pan
- Gear lube for the gearcase if needed (2-stage & 3-stage)
- High temperature grease / oil (2-stage & 3-stage)
2. Check the Safety System
Refer to your Ariens operator’s manual for all the safety features provided on your snowblower. Make sure they are operating correctly.
Single-Stage Snowblower: The auger should stop after you release the auger bar. The engine must stop running when the engine switch is set to the off position. Do not operate the snowblower if the auger fails to stop after releasing the auger bar.
2-Stage and 3-Stage Snowblowers: The auger and impeller should stop within 5 seconds after releasing the attachment clutch lever.
The wheels (or tracks) must stop within 5 seconds after releasing the traction drive clutch lever. Do not operate a snowblower when these two items are not engaging or disengaging as designed.
Go through all of the safety features on your Ariens snowblower to ensure they are functioning properly. Double-check your operator’s manual for additional safety components as it can vary by model.
Do not use the snowblower if these items are not functioning properly.
Snowblowers can be dangerous to use. Taking the time to understand the dangers and safety components of your snowblower is a must.
3. Change the Engine Oil and Filter
The engine oil and filter on most Ariens residential snowblowers should be changed every 50 hours or annually to keep your engine lubricated with clean oil. If you are running a new engine, you should complete an initial oil change at around 5-10 hours.
Not changing your engine oil regularly can have damaging effects to the engine.
- Prepare Work Surface: Lay covering over your work surface to prevent spilled oil from penetrating the ground. Cardboard and newspaper work well.
- Warm Engine Oil: Start your snowblower, park it on top of work surface cover, and let it run for 2 to 3 minutes to warm the engine oil. Warm oil flows better than cool oil. Take caution when working around the hot engine.
- Remove the Key & Unplug the Spark Plug Boot: Remove the ignition key and spark plug boot to keep your snowblower from starting while servicing your snowblower. This is a necessary safety precaution to prevent serious injury.
- Remove Engine Oil Plug: Clean dirt and debris from the area around the oil plug or oil drain hose (depending on your model) so you don’t contaminate the engine when removing the oil plug. Place a drain pan under the oil plug, remove the plug and allow the oil to drain into the pan.
- Replace Engine Oil Filter & Oil Plug: Clean around the oil filter. Using a filter wrench, remove the oil filter and replace it with a new filter. Place a light film of fresh oil on the gasket of the new filter and place it on the engine. Once all of the oil has drained, reinstall the drain plug.
- Fill with Engine Oil: Fill the crankcase with 5W-30 engine oil. You must make sure you have a sufficient engine oil level. It cannot be too low or too high as either level can cause damage.
- Start Engine and Check Oil Level: Reinstall the spark plug boot and start your engine for a few minutes. Turn the engine off and let the oil cool. Recheck the oil fluid level. Add more oil if needed.
4. Replace the Spark Plug
I prefer to replace the spark plug annually. It is an essential part to start and keep your snowblower running at its best. Remove the spark plug with a socket wrench, and install the new spark plug with the correct gap.
Do not reattach the spark plug wires until you have completed servicing your Ariens snowblower.
5. Inspect the Fuel System
Take this time to check the fuel components for leaks. Follow the fuel lines out of the fuel tank and check the lines, fuel pump (if your model uses one), and carburetor for leaks. Replace the fuel lines if they are dry, cracked, or leaking.
A leak coming from your carburetor can, most likely, be fixed by replacing the gasket or cleaning and fixing its components. Follow these instructions to stop the leak on the carburetor.
If you find your fuel is old, it’s best to replace it with fresh fuel to avoid problems caused by running old fuel.
Mix a fuel additive to fresh fuel before adding it to your snowblower to stabilize the gas, reduce moisture and clean the fuel system. I like a product called Sea Foam Motor Treatment. Find out why here.
6. Check the Tire Pressures & Lug Nuts
Make sure your lug nuts are tight and your drive tire pressures are equal on each side if your snowblower uses air-filled tires. They should be filled to the recommended tire pressure listed on the tire sidewall.
Uneven tire pressures can cause uneven conditions leaving a trail of snow. It can also cause premature wearing of the scraper bar.
7. Check the Gearcase Oil (2-Stage & 3-Stage Models)
The gears in the gearcase must be properly lubricated. Without sufficient oil, the gears can seize and the gearcase will have to be rebuilt or replaced. This can be costly.
To check the oil level, first, make sure your snowblower is parked on a flat surface. Remove the plug from the top of the gearcase and insert a clean item like a dipstick or screwdriver to determine the level of oil in the case.
Refer to the operator’s manual to determine how much oil should be in the gear case. Add Ariens L-3 Synthetic Severe-Duty Gear Lube until you reach that point and then reinsert the plug.
8. Check the Condition of the Belt and Pulleys
Take time to check the condition of your Ariens snowblower belt(s) and pulleys. Make sure the starting switch is turned off, the key is removed and the spark plug wire is not attached.
Wait for all parts to stop moving before removing the belt cover.
Inspect the belt(s) to make sure it is securely on the pulleys and is not worn or damaged. If it appears shiny, stretched, or cracked, it’s time to replace the belt.
Check the condition of the pulleys at this time as well. A pulley may be failing when there is extra play (wobble) in it due to a bad bearing. It may also present a squealing sound. A bad pulley must be replaced.
9. Inspect the Condition of the Blades, Paddles, Scraper Bar, and Skid Shoes
Confirm your snowblower is placed on a level surface and the tire pressures are correct (if air-filled) or the wheels are not damaged.
Do this prior to checking the auger paddle and scraper bar on a single-stage snowblower; and the auger blades, scraper bar, and skid shoes on a two or three-stage snowblower.
Single-Stage Snowblower: Check the auger paddles and scraper bar for wear. There are indicators on the paddles and bar to show when each of the items must be replaced.
When the items wear down to the indicator, they must be replaced. If the paddles and scraper bar are not replaced and allowed to wear too much, the auger housing can become damaged.
2-Stage and 3-Stage Snowblowers: Inspect the auger blades for damage and make sure shear pins are in place. Only use shear pins designed to be used on your snowblower.
Do not use standard bolts. Shear pins are designed to snap off when the auger impacts an object to prevent damage to the gear case.
I have seen many damaged gearcases because a standard bolt was used because that’s the only item the owner had on hand to keep the auger going after a shear pin snapped off.
Because of this, I recommend having extra shear pins/shear bolts on hand prior to the start of the season.
Look over the scraper bar. Some people refer to this as the cutting edge. This metal bar must be in good condition without much wearing.
A bar that has gouges will leave snow behind when using the snowblower. A bar that is very worn can damage the housing if it isn’t replaced.
Adjust the scraper bar if needed. In addition, adjust the skid shoes to allow a 1/8″ between the scraper bar and the ground for using the snowblower on a smooth level surface.
Allow a 1/2″ gap when using the snowblower on gravel or unleveled surface. The scraper bar should not be touching the ground on a 2-stage or 3-stage snowblower.
10. Tighten Loose Parts & Replace Missing Components
Next, go over your snowblower and tighten any loose parts you find. Replace any missing or damaged parts. If you are unsure if you are missing an item, refer to a parts diagram.
You can find parts diagrams for most Ariens snowblowers on their website.
11. Lubricate the Traction Drive and Auger Shafts (2-Stage & 3-Stage)
Annually and after every 25 hours of use, lubricate the traction drive and auger shaft by wiping off the grease zerks, applying high-temperature grease, and wiping off the excess grease. Ariens recommends STA-PLEX high-temperature grease.
Refer to your operator’s manual for specific areas that must be greased or oiled. The items and places that grease need to be applied to differ by model. Be careful not to get lubricant on the belts, friction disc, and friction plate.
How Often Should You Service an Ariens Snowblower?
An Ariens snowblower needs to be serviced every 50 hours or annually, whichever comes first. In between performing a full service on your snowblower, you need to check it regularly.
This includes checking the safety features and for loose or damaged parts.
You should also check the engine oil to ensure it is at the right level before each use. If it is too low, confirm you don’t have an oil leak and top off the oil so it is at the “full” level.
Tighten hardware and replace missing hardware before operating the snowblower.