The auger in an ice maker rotates and pushes ice cubes in the bin down into the chute. Over time, augers can rust. This rust will often taint the taste of the ice cubes and slowly deteriorate the part. A rusty auger should be cleaned or replaced.
Why Augers Rust
Many ice maker augers are actually created from rusting metal materials such as aluminum and tin. The auger is often plated in chrome. Once the chrome plating wears off from use, the vulnerable metal material underneath is exposed. This metal is under constant duress from water and will rust over time.
Some refrigerators come complete with a stainless steel or plastic auger, neither of which will rust. Contact the manufacturer directly or an appliance parts store to find a non-rusting auger that fits your model.
Cleaning and Preventing Rust
Remove the auger from the freezer and clean the rust off with baking soda, hot water and a scouring pad. Scrub the rust off the auger until it is gone. This is a temporary solution; the rust will eventually return, since the plating has not been restored. If the rust returns after within a few months of cleaning the auger, it may be due to your home's water hardness level. Hard water can cause more rusting. Install a wall-mounted water filter on the fridge's water line to help soften the water and reduce rusting.
Replacing the Auger
Locate the ice maker's power switch and turn it off. Lift out the auger bin assembly, pour out any ice in the sink, and set the assembly on a flat surface. Unscrew the clear shield sitting above the ice bin with a Phillips screwdriver. Turn the auger bin upside down and remove any additional screws from the underside of the bin. Then slide the face of the auger bin off. Remove the screws holding the solenoid lever from the underside of the bin. Lift the auger assembly out of the bin by hand and replace it.