I live in the northeastern US which just got pummeled with 3+ feet of snow.

I was out snowblowing all morning using my Cub Cadet and it did a great job. However when I turned it off and started gently knocking the excess snow off the blades/augers, I noticed that although three of them were tough to turn, one of them was spinning loosely.

When I say "tough to turn", I mean they felt normal. With each of the these three augers, trying to turn them manually was difficult but also resulted with the impeller spinning at the same time. This is normal given my experience with snowblowers.

But one of the augers you can spin easily and does not seem to be connected to the impeller at all.

Has something broken or shorn off here?

  • 1
    This is really not a home improvement question.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 17:21
  • 3
    It's frightening to see a question about a complex and dangerous machine from someone who clearly hasn't even read the manual. The machine comes with spare shear pins and instructions on why they break and how to replace them. If you haven't read that, you also haven't read any of the other important instructions on how to use the machine safely. Please for your own sake read the manual.
    – jay613
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


There are sacrificial bolts (shear pins) that break on purpose if you hit something solid (like a rock). Check for them.

It generally replaces just like a bolt (with a nut on one end, but it might use a cotter pin or similar). But DO NOT USE A BOLT. It needs to be able to shear, so get the right part (they are VERY common - should be no issue). Check the other end of the auger for one that's still intact for a sample.

Here's a close up of the installation of a shear pin/bolt that is designed to break. Each side of the gearbox will have at least one. If your snowblower is a three-stage unit, there will be more.

enter image description here

Here's a close-up of a replacement supplied with a Cub Cadet. You can see it uses a clip to install and the notches designed to break are obvious. They are 1/4" diameter and about 1-1/2" long. Even though my three-stage snowblower uses four in total, Cub Cadet only gave me three spares.

enter image description here

  • 4
    Whe you buy new shear pins (well, first check the toolkit, if the implement has such - there may be a few in there, or in the bag with the owner's manual - or sometimes there are places to clip the spares on the outside of the snowblower itself) buy a bunch and store them where you can find them again when you need another.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 23:17
  • 3
    In case it's not clear, the shear pin allows the augur to stop when it hits something hard, then shears off so the gear box can continue spinning. If you put a hard bolt in there, you'll lock the whole thing together and next time you hit something hard, it will either wrench the snow blower sideways as it tries to climb whatever you've hit, possibly injuring you, or it will stop dead while the motor continues to spin the gearbox, quickly turning the gearbox into a box of metal shavings. Replacing the shear pin is a much cheaper option...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 14:59
  • 2
    While they may be common, each make and model may be different. If you still have one intact, take it with you as a sample when looking for a replacement. The reason to have spares is to save you the trip to the store, where they often run out of stock in the winter.
    – DaveM
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 14:04

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