Snow Blower Won’t Start: A Troubleshooting Guide

Snow blowers are essential when you have been hit with a blizzard. What to do when yours won’t start?

Consider yourself bravely navigating the arctic elements of bone-chilling winds and sub-zero temperatures to reach your snow blower. When you finally get to it out, you prime the engine with gasoline, close the choke, and then pull the cord hard and nothing happens. You try it again, but your snow blower simply won’t start.

How could this be possible? There are several plausible reasons why your snow blower failed you when you needed it the most.

In this article explains the problems that could cause your snow blower to stop working. We’ll also teach you how to troubleshoot these issues if your snow blower decides to suddenly stop working again.

Check the Basics

Before you start panicking, double-check that the fundamentals are in order.

First, you’ll need to locate a couple of switches. Check to ensure that the safety key switch is present and in the proper position for starting the snow blower.

Next, locate the red toggle switch and ensure it is set to “run.”

Some snow blower engines include fuel shut-off valves. Inspect the engine of your snow blower, and if it has a fuel shut-off valve, make sure it is in the “on” or “open” position.

A snowblower blowing away road snow

Check the Gas Tank

First and foremost, remove the gas cap and inspect the fuel tank. If it’s empty and you simply forgot to refill it, fill it up with new fuel and your problem may be solved.

However, if you find gas in the tank and it still won’t start, you’ll need to know one thing before moving on to the next possible cause: how old is the gas in the tank?

Because if that gas has been sitting for months while your snow blower has been idle in warmer temperatures, you’re probably dealing with bad gas. The gasoline has lost its ability to burn, and you must drain it.

You can drain the old gas from the tank by using a siphon pump or by accessing the fuel line. In any case, drain the old fuel into a container so it doesn’t soak into the ground or spill on the concrete.

Check that you’re using the correct type of new fuel (2-cycle or regular gasoline, depending on the snow blower’s engine). For good measure, mix in a fuel stabilizer with the new gas and run it through the fuel system to ensure everything is working properly.

Furthermore, old gasoline can cause gooey deposits in your fuel line and fuel filter. So go ahead and check them out, and if necessary, flush the line or replace the filter.

A red plastic gas container for snow blower refill

Inspect the Spark Plugs

Snow blowers are powered by a combustion engine. That is, the gasoline is ignited by the spark created by, you guessed it, the spark plug. Checking the spark plugs is a little less involved than some of the other troubleshooting you might have to do, so it’s placed here on the list of tasks.

So, unplug the socket plug connector cables and use a socket wrench to remove the spark plugs. Examine the electrodes of the plug for any carbon deposits. Spray some carb cleaner onto the electrodes and scrub them away with a wire brush to remove these deposits. Dry the spark plugs before reinstalling them in the engine and reconnecting the cables.

If the engine won’t start and the spark plugs are visibly burnt, it’s a safe bet that the spark plugs need to be replaced.

Take a Look at the Carburetor

If you’ve left gasoline in the fuel tank for an extended period of time, you may have accidentally clogged the carburetor.

As the old gasoline evaporates, it leaves behind a gum-like deposit. This residue can clog the carburetor, preventing the engine from starting.

To access the carburetor, you must first remove the air filter. So, whenever you remove the air filter, inspect it to ensure that it is clean and free of debris that could restrict air flow.

If the carburetor becomes clogged, spray it with carburetor cleaner to remove the gummy deposits. After cleaning the carburetor and filling the tank with new gas, use the primer bulb to inject gasoline into the carburetor before pulling the starter cord and cranking it up.

If cleaning the carburetor does not solve the problem and you are certain that it is the source of the problem, you will need to rebuild or replace it.

A red snow blower machine in some thick snow
Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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