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Should a Snowblower Scrape the Ground? We need to fix this now!

By: Author John Cunningham. Published: 2022/09/02 at 8:03 pm

A snowblower dragging its ass across your yard spells trouble. But since you are wondering if it should drag the ground, you are well on your way to avoiding snowblower damage. I’m a mechanic, and shortly, we’ll have this minor issue sorted.

While snowblower shoes are designed to scrape across the ground, a snowblower scraper bar should not scrape the ground but skim across the surface.

In this post, you’ll learn why snowblower scraper bars should not contact the ground, what snowblower height is best for different yard surfaces, and how to adjust your snowblower scraper bar height. We’ll also cover replacing a worn-out scraper bar.


Why your Snowblower Shouldn’t Scrape Ground

A snowblower scrapes the ground, or its shoes do, but no other part of the machine’s body should rub the ground. So what are shoes, and why do they scrape the ground?

The shoes are metal (quieter nylon shoes are available), with adjustable blocks located on either side of the snowblower bin, and they serve to maintain the snowblower height.

Loosen skid shoes

Adjusting shoe height changes how much clearance there is below the bin and, consequently, how clean your pass is. Lifting the shoes lowers the bin and offers a tighter shave, but it comes with some risks.

The lower the bin, the more likely you are to scoop up something hard like a rock, etc. Such objects can cause an auger to jam, which breaks a shear pin.

You don’t often think a broken anything is good news, but a broken shear pin is. The pin is designed to break to prevent auger gearbox or engine damage.

I wrote a post recently on shear pin replacement, and you can check it out here – “Diagnosing broken shear pin.”

But there’s another good reason not to allow your snowblower to drag along the surface; it will wear out the bin. Luckily, snowblowers come with built-in bin protection called a scraper bar, and we’ll look at that next.

What is Snowblower Scraper Bar?

A scraper bar is a replaceable metal strip located along the leading edge of the bin. As your snowblower moves across the snow, your scraper bar skims the surface of the snow.

Scraper bar

Scraper bars in an ideal world wouldn’t make contact with the surface and, therefore, wouldn’t wear out.

But many of us simply forget to adjust the shoes at the beginning of the season, leading to scraper bar wear and obviously increased surface contact.

Increased surface contact or scraping is bad for your machine and you. The increased contact creates wear and tear; it’s harder on the bin, gas, belts, tires and much harder work for the operator. The increased contact brings increased vibration, and that causes fatigue.

Your scraper bar should be level, and while it’s possible your scraper fasteners have come loose, allowing it to drop and make contact with the surface, it is far more likely your shoes need adjusting. Yep, we’ll need to check and adjust your shoe height; I’ve covered the whole process here in this post, “Snowblower shoe adjustment.”

Yard Surface vs. Snowblower Ride Height

The surface or terrain type we’re clearing is the main consideration when deciding on the ride height for the bin. Too low, and we risk damaging the surface and the snowblower; typically, running a snowblower too low causes debris to enter the bin and jam an auger.

That often results in a broken shear pin; you can check out replacing a shear pin here – “Diagnosing a broken shear pin.”

Typically, you’ll find most set their ride height as follows:

Surface TypeRide Height
Hard sealed surface1/2 in
Loose surface (stone or pebble)1 inch
Timer deck1/2 inch

How to Adjust Snowblower Height

Lower the skid shoes

I’ve previously covered the whole shoe-adjusting process, including an easy-to-follow stepped guide with pictures.

You can check it out here “Snowblower shoe adjustment.”

How to Replace Snowblower Scraper Bar

I’ve previously covered the whole scraper bar replacement process, including an easy-to-follow stepped guide with pictures.

You can check it out here “Snowblower shoe adjustment.”


Sum Up

Snowblower shoes scrape across the ground, but no other metal part of the snowblower should make contact with the ground’s surface.

Adjusting the shoe’s height adjusts snowblower bin clearance. The replaceable leading edge of the bin is known as the scraper bar, and it protects the bin from wear caused by maladjusted or worn-out skid shoes.

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