Snowblower belts start to wear out after 5 to 7 years, and should be replaced. You can save money by doing the job yourself. Here's an overview of the procedure.
Remove the upper belt guard so you can get to the top pulleys. Use a 12-in. extension bar, ratchet and socket.
Slack off the belt tension by prying the tensioning rollers back, removing the tension spring or loosening the tension mechanism. Then slip the belts off the drive pulleys and wiggle them out.
Clean the pulleys and slide on the new belts. Then thread the new belts into place.
If you haven't changed the belts on your two-stage snow blower since the day you bought it, do it now. Factory belts typically last about five to seven years, depending on how hard you work your snow blower each year. Don't even think about replacing them with V-belts from the auto parts store. Even though they’re cheaper, you'll barely get one season out of them—they're just not heavy-duty enough. Get genuine factory belts from the dealer or online. You'll need your snow blower's make and model number and the engine brand and model number.
The belt removal/replacement procedures are different for each make and model, so refer to your owner's manual. If you don't have yours, try downloading a copy from the manufacturer's Web site. With the cover off, inspect the condition of the belts. If you see cracks or cuts anywhere on the belt, shiny glazing along the sides, or fraying, it's time to replace them.
Most two-stage machines have belt retainer bars and idler/tensioner rollers that have to be loosened before you can get the belts off (Photo 1). Then empty the gas tank and tip the entire machine up so you can remove the bottom access plate. Then slide each belt out, paying attention to which belt fits on which pulley. Reverse the procedure to install the new belts.
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.