Snowblower Won’t Work?

24 January 2024

Okay, the snow is falling and you have geared yourself up to running the snowblower but, alas, it won’t work.  You could haul out the trusty shovel or pay someone to do the work.  Or, you could try some the following tips.  If you are not handy or have any qualms about working with machinery, turn to a professional for service and repairs.

Check the fuel to be sure it is filled and the oil as well.  It may be that the gasoline is dirty.  If you didn’t start the season with a fresh tank, this could be an issue.  If you didn’t put a stabilizer in the gas the last time you filled it, the fuel could have lost volatility.  If you drain the gas (or oil) tank and start anew, you might be good.  However, if the old fuel has made its way into the carburetor, that needs to be cleaned and serviced by a professional.  At that time, have them check the fuel filter and lines so that you can be sure everything is okay.  If the blower starts but then dies a few seconds later, the carburetor is probably clogged.  There can also be jerking, sputtering, and even black smoke coming from the exhaust.

When you get ready to start the blower, be sure the fuel shutoff valve to the “on” position.

Some snowblowers have a safety key switch.  This is a precaution much like on a lawn mower.  Be sure the key is inserted properly and the red toggle switch is set for “run”.  If these two are not in proper sequence, not only won’t the blower start, you could flood the engine.

Use the “full choke mode” when starting the motor when the engine is cold, or hasn’t been started yet.  However, if the exterior temperature is above freezing, don’t prime the carburetor because this could also cause the engine to flood.  If the temperature outdoors is 33 or above, just use the choke and don’t prime.

If your model is equiped with a throttle, be sure it is set at three-quarters speed or higher.

So, the dang thing still won’t start.  Remove and examine the spark plug.  If the plug is wet, the engine has been flooded.  This is not good.  With the spark plug still removed, turn the engine over several times to expel the excess fuel.  Clean off the spark plug and return it to its place.  If the plug won’t clean up enough, put in a new spark plug.  Check to see that there is a correct gap.  If not, make adjustments.  If the spark plug is cracked, replace it.  There are also spark plug testers and ignition coil testers that are handy to have available.  If the spark plug looks good and is in proper position, try to start the blower without using the choke.

Probably the last thing on the list is the starter.  Some blowers have electric-start engines and those starters will wear out at some point.  This is a job for the repair shop not a home DIY.

If you need more or detailed information and you didn’t keep the owner’s manual, or can’t lay your hands on it, most manuals are online and can be downloaded or printed.  Most manufacturers also have toll-free numbers you can call for assistance.  These are more reliable than You-Tube episodes.

If none of this seems to work, you need to get the blower into a dealership or repair shop or consider purchasing a new model.  You can also hope for an early Spring.


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