Why is My Snow Plow Cutting Edge Blade Broken?

January 19, 2018

“Why is my snow plow cutting edge blade broken,” you ask? Cutting edge breakage typically occurs when blades repeatedly encounter road obstructions like bridge abutments, manhole covers, or drains. When drivers move too quickly over these road obstructions, the possibility of a break will increase. It can also occur when hardware is not installed correctly from the start.

Rather than focusing on driver training, in this post we’ll explore how to keep your cutting edge from breaking due to hardware issues. 

1. Loose Blades

Snow Plow bolts can break due to loose blades. It’s likely that the incorrect nut or bolt was used and that the necessary torque was not applied at the time it was installed. Torque refers to the tendency of a force to rotate an object about a pivot, fulcrum, or axis. Think of torque in terms of a twist to an object. For bolts to work properly, there needs to be an adequate amount of tightness to them. Check out our guide to snow plow blade torque for more information.

2. Bolt Quality

Using high quality bolts is necessary even though it might not be the root cause of the breakage. You should always use grade 8 bolts for your snow plow cutting edge and – while you’re at it – a lock nut.

3. Hardware Issues

Here are a few tips to help reduce snow plow cutting edge breakage from a hardware standpoint:

  • High grade and high hardness means high strength for your blade installation.
  • Remember, lock nuts are always hardened and won’t mushroom during use.
  • Check your snow plow’s moldboard. If it shows signs of wear and tear, it’s likely that backward torque will be increased, resulting in possible breakage or damage.
  • When installing or repairing, never weld nuts to bolts. The heat will destroy the treated properties and will cause fasteners to fail when the plow is in use.
  • Stay committed to cleanliness. Clear the machine of any debris (dust, rust, or sand) before any repairs, installations, etc. When the plow is in use the debris will grind away which leads to under-torqued bolts, causing them to break in two.
  • Don’t use lock washers. These hardened washers can cut through softer steel which can be found in plow blades or moldboards.
  • Be sure to calibrate your wrench at multiple intervals during the active winter season. The cold can mess with it!

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