What to do when your snow blower won’t start
If the problems you have arise from a starting issue, you should first check to see if you have any fuel in the tank and if it’s fresh. Old fuel can create problems with the carburetor and needs to be cleaned out. Also check to make sure your switches are in the correct position, including fuel shutoff valves as well as any safety keys your model may have. Anything in the wrong position will keep your engine from firing up.
Using your machine in cold weather usually requires a bit of a warm up to the engine to make it run correctly. This is why the use of a choke and throttle is important: in order to get fuel where it is needed without flooding the engine. Priming the carburetor in winter occasionally causes flooding, so first put your choke to full and have your throttle at ¾ speed or higher.
Checking your spark plug is also good practice as they can gum up quickly and are easy and cheap to replace. If your spark plug is wet when you remove it, you flooded the engine and will need for some of that excess fuel to dissipate. Check the gap size and also check for cracks in the porcelain.
If you know it is clear of snow and ice, then you will need to check the belt and the shear pins (or bolts). The most common problem with augers is when the shear pins break or become compromised in some manner due to pressure placed upon them. The bearings can also go bad over time but are usually fairly easy to replace, although you may need to replace the entire auger along with them as one unit.
When your machine won’t throw snow your it is because the auger isn’t turning, or you have something blocking the chute. First, turn off your machine if the auger is turning and check to see what might be blocking the opening. Sometimes things are hidden in the snow and can get sucked up through the chute, or snow can become packed with ice and become too heavy to toss. If you know it is clear, and it keeps clogging, then check to make sure the auger is engaged. If it isn’t, follow the suggestions above.
Another problem that may occur with dual stage blowers is when the impeller stops working. The impeller (also called a turbine, or second auger) turns behind the main auger to help propel snow outwards through the chute. As long as this is turning you know the belt is good, but if it isn’t, the first thing to look for is if the roll pins are still intact.
A snowblower that keep stalling most likely has a carburetor issue. Overtime dust, dirt, oil, and grime can create a hot mess that inhibits air and fuel flow to the carburetor. To start, simply clean it all out, as well as everything around it. Sometimes this is all you need to get running smoothly again. If not, then go ahead and rebuild or replace it– these are inexpensive and easy to change out. Just make sure to get the right part!
Also be sure to check your fuel cap vent before getting too drastic. Air needs to enter the tank to make up for the fuel that is being used. If the vent is clogged it can stall out the engine. Try running your machine with a loosened fuel cap for a bit to see if that might be the cause. If so, then you may just want to purchase a new cap.