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The A - Z of Snow Blower Terms

The A-Z of Snow Blower Terms

What's a snow cab? Do you know how drift cutters work?

It's always good to know the common terms and phrases associated with your equipment. Operating, performing maintenance, and understanding the features of your machine will be much easier.

So stop scratching your head! Use this reference guide to learn the popular terms, look up the meaning of a snow blower phrase, or even Quiz yourself so you can brag about how much you know snow blowers.

Snow Blower Glossary of Terms

  1. Augers - Rotating paddles or serrated metal blades. Single stage snow blowers use rubber paddles to collect and throw snow in one motion, while two stage models have metal serrated augers that cut through deeper snow to feed the impeller.

    Auger Housing - The structure at the front of the snow blower where the snow is collected and processed by the augers.
  2. Belts - Two stage snow blowers usually require at least two belts, one to help turn the auger and impeller, and the other for the drive system. A broken belt can stop the snow blower dead in its tracks.
  3. Chute - The chute extends out from the auger housing to discharge the snow.

    Clearing Width - A snow blower specification that states the maximum width of a path that can be cleared during each pass. Typically measured in inches.

    Clogging - A problem that occurs when too much snow builds up in the auger housing, putting stress on the augers and impeller. Serious clogging and overload will cause the shear pins to break.
  4. Deflector - Adjustable extension at the top of the chute that directs the angle of discharge for shorter or farther snow throw distances.

    Drift Cutters - Extension bars installed on both sides of the auger housing to cut through high snow drifts and direct the snow down to the augers.
  5. Electric Start - The easy alternative to a recoil starter. Plug in the extension cord and press the electric start button. Most two stage snow blowers feature both electric and recoil start options.
  6. Four-Stroke Engine - A 4-stroke (4-cycle) engine does not require the mixing of gas and oil. They provide more torque, cleaner emissions, and improved fuel economy over 2-stroke engines.

    Floor Mat - Snow blower floor mats keep your floor free from melting snow, and also protects it from scratches.
  7. Gear Case - The auger gear case uses durable gears to rotate the auger shaft in order to withstand heavy snow loads.

    Gear Oil - Gear oil is needed to lubricate the moving gears in the snow blower's auger gear case.
  8. Handwarmers - Installed on the handles of select two stage snow blowers, the handles heat up to keep your hands warm while you operate.
  9. Impeller - The spinning fan-like mechanism behind the augers that discharges the snow out of the chute.
  10. Joystick Controls - In-dash operator controls for chute rotation, deflector angle, and some for auger height.
  11. Kit - Many snow blowers have multiple accessory kits that can be installed, including weight kits, light kits, drift cutter kits, electric starter kits, and handwarmer kits.
  12. Lights - A headlight on a snow blower gives you the option to clear snow at night or in the early morning.
  13. Maximum Throwing Distance - Specification referring to how far the snow blower can throw snow. Usually measured in feet (eg. Max. Throwing Distance: up to 50ft).

    Melt Buddy - The Melt Buddy is a salt spreader attachment that can be installed on the back of your snow blower. Spread salt and clear snow at the same time.
  14. No Gas, No Oil - This phrase is commonly used to describe the benefits of an electric snow blower.
  15. One Hand Interlock - A feature that locks both the drive system and auger controls to free up one hand to adjust chute rotation or deflector angle while you move.
  16. Power Brush - Power Brush machines use the force of a rotating brush to sweep snow instead of blow snow. Strong flexible bristles can clear light to moderate snow falls.

    Power Steering - One wheel slows down to allow easier, tighter turns. Two stage snow blowers with power steering are much easier to maneuver in the snow.
  17. Quick-Stick Chute Control - Refers to the remote chute rotation controls on Toro's two stage Power Max snow blowers.
  18. Remote Chute Control - Joystick or crank control that rotates the chute from the operator's position. It allows you to rotate the chute on-the-go.
  19. Scraper Blade - Located on the bottom of the auger housing, a scraper blade scrapes the surface of excess snow left behind by the augers.

    Shear Pins/Bolts - Installed on the auger shaft, a shear pin's purpose is to break when the auger gear case is being over-torqued. This usually will occur when a foreign object or hard packed snow gets lodged in the auger housing. Shear pins are common replacement parts on two stage snow blowers.

    Single Stage - Snow blowers that collect and throw snow in one step. The fast rotating auger paddles scoop up snow and discharge it out of the chute in one continuous motion.

    Skid Shoes - Metal or polymer skids attached to each side of the auger housing to protect it from damage. Skid shoes are height adjustable and some are reversible for double the wear.

    Snow Cab - Protective enclosure that shields the operator from the wintry elements while snow blowing.
  20. Tire Chains - A collection of linked chains that are fitted to the tires to improve traction.

    Track Drive - Type of snow blower drive system that rides on rubber tracks instead of wheels.

    Two Stage - Snow blowers that use a two-step system to collect and throw snow. The augers collect and feed the snow to the spinning impeller blades, which then discharge the snow out of the chute at high speeds.
  21. Unpaved Surface - Ground that is not evenly paved with material, like asphalt or concrete. Be careful when clearing snow on unpaved surfaces, like gravel. Stones can enter and exit a snow blower with damaging speeds.
  22. Variable Transmission Speed - No specific gear speed settings. Snow blowers with variable transmissions can change speeds through an infinite number of gear ratios. Many professional snow blowers feature infinitely variable hydrostatic transmissions.
  23. Weight Kit - An accessory that can be installed on the front of the auger housing to provide additional weight for digging into snow. It also balances the snow blower if a snow cab is installed.
  1. 1 - 3 Year Warranty - Snow blower Consumer Warranties usually range from 1 to 3 years. If something goes wrong with your machine during the warranty period, contact your local dealer and manufacturer for further details.
  2. Zip Deflector - Toro's single stage Power Clear Zip Deflector chute control allows you to adjust snow throw height and direction anywhere you please.

If you have any comments, questions, or additional terms you would like to learn more about, feel free to email us at [email protected].