Snow Blower Won’t Start: Recommended Tips

Snow Blower

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Getting rid of snow quickly and effortlessly is possible with the use of a snow blower.

What happens, though, when the snow blower won't start?

It’s possible to fix the issue yourself or at least check why it isn't starting.

Snow Blower Won't Start: The Things You Should Do

If your snow blower ran perfectly the last time you used it, the problem is likely minor.

Thus, you should be able to fix it yourself, and we can provide a few troubleshooting options that you can try.

1. Familiarize Yourself With the Snow Blower's Parts

Generally, every snow blower has the same components, including fittings, valves, carburetors, gas tanks, switches, and fuel lines.

However, configurations can vary by brand, so your manual is a good reference to help you identify and locate them.

So, it’s always a good idea to read the owner’s manual.

If you have lost yours or the tool didn’t come with one, consider downloading the manual from the manufacturer’s website.

Additionally, if you don’t have the required tools, you can go to an auto supply store to purchase or rent.

2. Check the Starting Position for Valves and Switches

Most modern snow blowers have a variety of buttons, switches, and valves that needs to be in the right position. Otherwise, the machine might not start at all.

The manual could require the throttle to be at the "high" position.

Likewise, you may need to put the shut-off valve for the fuel into the "open" position. Also, the choke might have to be in the "full" position.

Once all those things are met, you can set the switch to the "on" position.

Some appliances might use images rather than words. Either way, ensure that you set each valve and switch to the right position according to your manufacturer’s specifications.

3. Replace the Gasoline

Since the snow blower has been idle for many months, the gasoline inside might be gummy or contaminated, which will make it harder for the machine to start.

Siphon out the old fuel using a small siphon pump. Then, fill up the tank using fresh fuel and try to start it again.

Remember, you also need to dispose of the old gasoline correctly.

Here are the steps to do this:

Inspect the Gasoline

To check if the gas is contaminated or old, pour a little into a glass container.

Add fresh gasoline to another container and compare them.

  • Contaminated

If the older gas shows discoloration, dirt, or rust, it could be contaminated.

Don’t try to mix it with fresh gas. Instead, discard it properly.

  • Aged

Sometimes, old gas might smell a little sour or be darker than fresh gasoline, and this indicates that it’s aged and is starting to lose its efficacy.

Though ethanol is added to help make the fuel shelf-stable, it can lose combustibility when it sits for long periods.

It’s not going to hurt any engine, but it might cause it to fail to run or run inefficiently.

You can dispose of it, but you might be able to reuse it.

Using the Old Gasoline

Old gas might lose some potency, which means it might not fire up an engine.

Still, you can dilute it with your new gasoline and use it in vehicles and power tools.

Make sure you’re using the right proportions. That way, the old gas doesn’t lower the combustion ability for the tank.

If you’ve only got about a half tank of old gasoline, fill it up the rest of the way with fresh gas. This is often suitable to get your engine to fire.

Depending on how much snow you have, you may need to refill the snow blower with new gas to complete the project.

When you’ve got a full tank in the snow blower, drain it out into an appropriate container.

Mix a little less than half with new gas in the tank and reuse it.

Make sure that you store the old gas properly until it is all used.

Just make sure that the fuel isn’t dark like chocolate milk or rust-brown.

Otherwise, you run the risk of depositing impurities into the engine.

snow blower won't start

Dispose of the Gas Properly

If you aren’t sure, you should research a disposal center for contaminated and old gasoline. Search online in your state, county, or city.

You can also call the city’s waste management agency to ask where to take old gasoline.

Local fire departments might be able to suggest a location of where to put it. Otherwise, you can go to auto repair shops and ask.

They might charge a small fee and take it from you to discard it.

Transfer It to the Right Location

Use a funnel to transfer the contaminated or old gas to a gasoline container such as a plastic gas jug and a jerry can.

Only fill the container up to about 95 percent full so that the fumes have room.

Tightly seal up the container and place it in a rubber bin or cooler to prevent spillage in your truck or car.

Drive carefully to the disposal center. The professionals there will direct you on where to go and take the gasoline from you.

4. Add Fuel Stabilizers

Once you’ve drained and filled up the gas tank, the old gas might have left a residue, which can clog up the carburetor.

You can add some fuel stabilizer to help dissolve it. This gasoline treatment liquefies any residue.

Just put it in the gas tank while following the directions from the container.

Now, try to start your machine. It might not start immediately, so keep cranking it so that the fresh stabilizer and fuel can reach through the carburetor.

If it still doesn’t start with repeated cranking, wait a few hours to let the fuel stabilizer work.

Then, try starting the snow blower again.

5. Prime the Engine

Gas engines don’t like to start in cold weather even though you need it to get rid of the snow, but you can boost the engine’s performance by priming it.

There’s a flexible primer bulb located on the machine close to the carburetor.

Press that three to five times to force small amounts of fuel into the carburetor, which will make it easier to ignite and turn over the engine.

6. Clean and Replace the Spark Plugs

You’ve got to have compression within the engine, fresh fuel, and the spark to ignite your gasoline.

As such, you may need to replace or clean the spark plugs.

To do so, use a socket wrench to remove them or a spark plug socket.

Inspect the spark plugs for cracks and replace them if you find any.

Clean away the carbon deposits from your electrodes toward the threaded end. Use some carburetor cleaner with a wire brush.

Dry them out and put them back in the snow blower.

Final Words

There is a lot of troubleshooting that you can do to make your snow blower start, and one or more can work, depending on the specific issue.

However, if none of the suggested tips helped your snow blower, you might need to call a service technician.

That is because usually, at this point, it is best to disassemble some parts to determine and troubleshoot the problem.

Those with an intact warranty can call the store from which you bought it or the manufacturer.

You can bring older machines to any small engine repair shop.

It may be the only way to get the snow blower to work again unless you decide to buy a new one.

About the Author

Steve has been gardening for over 20 years now. He enjoys sharing his experiences with others.

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