Cue the eerie music because you’re about to hear about a nightmare. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with vampires and werewolves. In this nightmare, your driveway gets hit with a monstrous snowstorm and…
Your snowblower won’t start.
Here’s some tips for getting that necessary piece of power equipment running if it just won’t start.
First Thing’s First, Check the Gas
The classic mistake in this situation is a tank full of stale gasoline. If you forgot to empty your tank at the end of the previous snow season, chances are your snow blower won’t start because the fuel is stale. It might even be gumming up your carburetor. Even with stabilizer in your tank, fuel can go stale.
If you did forget to run your tank dry before putting your snow blower up for the season, empty the tank and hit the carburetor with some carb cleaner. Then add some fresh fuel and see if it starts.
While we’re on the subject of fuel, make sure you prime your snow blower properly. Most machines say you need to prime them two or three times to get them to fire, but I’ve known machines that need 8 to 10 primes to really get completely primed.
Use the Electric Start on Your Snow Blower First
Many snow blowers have two means of starting them. They’ll have a pull start as well as an electric starter. You really should be using the electric starter most of the time. The only time you should use the pull start is if the snow blower has been running and you’ve just stopped it to clean it or refill the fuel.
A faulty starter might be the reason you can’t get your snow blower to start. One typical problem is the gear inside the starter freezing up. Pull open your starter and wiggle that gear a bit. It should slide up and down against the spring and rotate around the threaded rod. If you can’t get it to move, grab some spray lubricant like WD-40 and spray the gear down. If you can get it moving again, you might have solved your problem. If not, you’ll probably have to replace your electric starter.
If your fuel is fresh and your starter is functioning properly, there are several other things you might want to check. There are three things a combustion engine needs to operate; fuel, spark, and air.
Pull your spark plug and make sure it isn’t corroded or blackened. If you’re unsure of whether it needs replacing, you might as well go ahead and replace it. Plugs are quite inexpensive and at least then you’ll know your spark plug isn’t the problem.
Test your fuel filter to see if it’s plugged. Obviously, if your fuel filter is plugged, fuel can’t get to your engine and it won’t start. If you find the filter is plugged, replace it with a new filter.
Is your air cleaner blocked? If it is, your snow blower’s engine can’t breathe. The engine needs air to operate and while it needs an air filter to keep that air clean, it also needs to have enough air passing through. Hold the filter up to a lighted bulb. If you can see light through the filter, it’s probably letting enough air through. If not, replace it.
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Repair Shop, Your Last Resort
If you still can’t get your snow blower to run, take it to a repair shop. It’ll cost you more than just your time and some parts, but at least you’ll be fearlessly prepared for that first big snow.