Are Snow Blower Shear Pins Universal

Are Snow Blower Shear Pins Universal?

Are you tired of replacing your snow blower’s shear pins every time they break? A question continuously tickling in your mind “Are Snow Blower Shear Pins Universal?” Shear pins are an essential component of a snow blower, and they protect the auger shaft and gear from damage.

You are not alone to face this issue. Almost every homeowner faces the same because of operating it multiple times. It is important that shear pins are not manufactured in equal sizes, and it’s made in different sizes depending upon the Snow blower.

As winter is approaching, many people are doing maintenance of their snow blowers. So, today, I will provide you with the complete information about snow blower shear pins, addressing questions about their universality and provide you with a valuable solution for selecting, maintaining and replacing them.

Are Snowblower Shear Pins Universal?

Snow blower shear pins are not truly universal. While some pins share common sizes and may fit multiple models, it’s crucial to use the correct shear pin for your specific snow blower due to various factors:

  • Shear pins vary in diameter, length, and threading. Using an ill-fitting pin can lead to improper functioning, potential damage, or safety risks.
  • Manufacturers often employ unique shear pin designs tailored to their models, which may not be compatible with others, even within the same brand.
  • Each pin is engineered with a specific breaking strength to safeguard your snow blower. Using a pin with different strength risks failure to shear when needed, potentially causing significant internal damage.

For the most accurate guidance, refer to your owner’s manual, which contains detailed information such as part numbers, sizes, and other essential specifications for identifying the correct shear pin. If you are unsure, reach out to the manufacturer or a trusted dealer who can help determine the appropriate part for your snow blower.

Additionally, consider purchasing model-specific replacement kits from retailers, as they are designed to ensure precise compatibility with certain brands or models.

Common sizes of shear pins in Snow Blowers

There are some general trends and standard sizes that are commonly used across different brands. Few common sizes of shear pins are:

1/4 inch diameter by 1-1.2 inches long:

This is a common size for many smaller single-stage snow blowers. The smaller size is suitable for machines with less powerful engines and smaller augers.

5/16 inch diameter by 1.5 inches long:

This size is often found in medium-sized two-stage snow blowers. It provides a balance between strength and the ability to break under a specific force to protect the auger.

3/8 inch diameter by 2 inches long:

Larger, more powerful two-stage snow blowers may use shear pins of this size. The increased diameter and length contribute to the durability needed for heavier-duty snow clearing.

How Shear Pins Work?

To understand this, imagine this scenario where you are clearing snow from your driveway with your trusty snow blower when suddenly, it encounters a hidden rock. Now, two opposing forces come into play, first, there is the rock’s resistance, which exerts a tremendous shearing force, attempting to twist the auger and its shaft. Then, there is the shear pin’s unique strength. It is designed to break at a specific force, deliberately weaker than other components.

The force from the rock pushes harder and harder on a tiny pin inside i.e shear pin. Eventually, the pin breaks like a toothpick under pressure. When this happens, it stops the spinning part of the snow blower, protecting the important parts from damage. So, even though the rock caused trouble, the rest of the snow blower stays safe!

Think of the shear pin as a safety valve—it absorbs the impact, shielding more vital and costly parts like the gearbox or engine from harm.

Spotting Signs of Broken Shear Pins in Your Snow Blower:

The following objects and materials can cause shear pins to break:

  • Rocks
  • Branches
  • Paper
  • Toys
  • Trash
  • Books
  • Sprinklers
  • Garden equipment
  • Gravel (although it’s possible to use a snow blower on gravel with the appropriate setup)

Here’s how you can tell if a shear pin is broken: First, check if the auger, the part that throws the snow, isn’t spinning despite the machine making noise. This could signal a broken shear pin.

Also, if you notice uneven snow throwing, with one side not working correctly, it’s likely due to a broken pin.

Listen for strange noises like grinding or clunking, and feel for unusual vibrations, as these can indicate a broken pin.

Look closely for a missing pin or any visible damage, like bending, which could suggest the pin is weakened.

Remember, if you suspect a broken shear pin, it’s best to shut off your snow blower immediately to prevent further damage.

Selecting the Right Shear Pin:

It is very important to select the right shear pin for your snow blower. If you wrongly choose the shear pin it will damage your machine and it will be worse when you are dealing with the snow all over the city and your snow blower stops working. These are the key Steps while selecting the right Shear Pin for your Snow blower:

Step 1: Check the Manual:

Check your snow blower’s manual. All information pertaining to the shear pin is written in the service / user manual.

Step 2: Visit the Manufacturer’s Website:

If you cannot find details in the manual, head online to the manufacturer’s site.

Step 3: Find Part Numbers:

Look for shear pin part may be written on the manual you can also visually check the shear pin for any part number.

Step 4: Be Model-Specific:

You can check online by giving the model of your snow blower. Online you can access thousands of relevant queries about your snow blower.

Ask the Pros:

You can also consult with the professionals and get the answer easily about the relevant shear pin.

Replacing and Maintaining the Shear Pin:

Regular inspection of shear pins is vital for detecting signs of wear or damage. Look for indicators such as bending, cracks, or excessive wear. Immediate replacement of damaged shear pins is important to prevent further harm to the snow blower.

Before Starting Work: Must Ensure Safety:

  • Always disconnect the spark plug wire before working on any snow blower components.
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from potential hazards.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Wrenches or sockets (sizes may vary depending on snow blower model)
  • Punch and hammer (if removing a broken shear pin)
  • New shear pins (correct size and specifications for your snow blower model)

Steps to Replace Shear Pin:

Step 1: Identify the Broken Shear Pin:

  • Locate the auger assembly, which consists of the spinning blades that clear snow.
  • Look for the broken shear pin. It is typically found near the base of the auger where it connects to the drive shaft.

Step 2: Remove the Broken Shear Pin (if applicable):

  • If the shear pin is completely broken, you may be able to simply pull it out from both sides of the auger.
  • If the broken piece is still embedded in the auger, use a punch and hammer to drive it out from the opposite side.

Step 3: Insert the New Shear Pin:

  • Slide the new shear pin through the holes in the auger and drive the shaft.
  • Ensure the shear pin is properly aligned and seated.
  • Tighten the Shear Pin Nut:
  • Use a wrench or socket to tighten the nut on the underside of the shear pin.
  • Do not overtighten, as excessive force can damage the shear pin.

Step 4: Inspect and Test:

  • Rotate the auger assembly by hand to ensure it spins freely.
  • If there is any resistance or binding, check the alignment of the shear pin and retighten the nut if necessary.

Step 5: Reconnect the Spark Plug Wire:

  • Reconnect the spark plug wire and start the snow blower to test the new shear pin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Shear Pins Are Always Breaking?

Shear pins encounter excessive force when the auger strikes a rock, hidden object, or hard-packed snow, causing them to break and absorb the impact to safeguard costly components like the gearbox or drive shaft. Additionally, wear and tear weaken the pins over time, making them more prone to breaking with less strain. Moreover, using a “universal” or incompatible pin can lead to premature breakage, as it may not be engineered to withstand the specific forces your snow blower encounters.

Are there different-sized shear pins?

Shear pins vary in size, diameter, length, and thread pattern based on snowblower power, specific function, and material composition.

Can you use bolts instead of shear pins?

Strongly avoid replacing shear pins with bolts! While it might seem like a quick fix, it can be dangerous and damaging: They might not break when needed, leading to significant internal damage to your snowblower. A malfunctioning snowblower due to an improper bolt poses safety risks.

What grade are snowblower shear pins?

Snowblower shear pins are typically classified as grade 2 bolts. These bolts strike a balance between hardness and softness: they’re sturdy enough to maintain auger rotation under normal conditions but are designed to shear if the auger encounters an obstruction, preventing damage to more critical components of the snowblower.


Shear pins are not universal, and using the wrong shear pin can compromise the performance and safety of your snow blower. Take the time to consult your owner’s manual, manufacturer’s website, or seek expert advice when selecting shear pins.

Regular inspection and prompt replacement of damaged shear pins are essential practices to maintain optimal snow blower performance and prevent costly repairs.

By understanding the specific requirements of your snow blower model, you can ensure a smoother and more efficient snow-clearing experience.

Naveed Aanjum author

About Naveed A Hashmi

In my childhood, I used to see my parents while working in the land, for these reasons today I have been serving the same as our own tradition and culture. I thus love to stay in it, because I want to learn something advanced and new so that I may improve my farm’s contour and help others with my experience.

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