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A shear pin is a specially designed bolt that connects the auger assembly to the drive shaft on a snow blower. Its purpose is to break before the auger, drive shaft or gears get damaged when you plow into a rock, stick or other object buried in the snow. Here's how to avoid blowing a shear pin in the first place, and what to do if it happens.
  • Police your driveway: Just before the snow flies, inspect areas where you clear snow. Pick up sticks, rocks, garden hoses and anything that can get drawn into the auger.
  • Pick up your newspapers: Watersoaked frozen newspapers are the No. 1 shear pin killer. Don't let them lie around to become buried in the snow.
  • Beware of frozen slush in car wheel wells: Slush from the road builds up in wheel wells and falls off in big chunks. These frozen chunks are like rocks, and they'll easily take out a shear pin. Shovel them out of the driveway before starting the snow blower.
  • Don't substitute bolts for shear pins; regular steel bolts aren't designed to break. They won't break, leaving the auger and gear-box to take the hit.
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