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What to do when your snow blower won’t start

Nothing is worse than getting yourself all set to clear fresh fallen snow, only to find that your snowblower won’t fire up or run correctly. Of course these things never occur right after summer when you are testing out your winter machinery and getting it primed and ready for the seasonal change- rather it always waits until you are stranded in your driveway with two feet of snow waiting to be moved. Although this may not happen too often, it can be rather problematic, especially if you are in the middle of the winter with plenty of snow clearing days ahead of you. So what can you do when your snowblower won’t start? The answer is simple, don’t panic and use the guide below to help troubleshoot your issue. A little bit of time spent checking a few simple things may save you a trip to the repair shop , and quite a bit of money (after you shovel out your driveway).

Trouble Shoot Starting Problems

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.

My Auger Won’t Turn

When your machine fires up, but you discover the auger isn’t turning, you aren’t going to get much done very quickly. Whether you have a single stage or dual stage blower, the first thing you should check is ice buildup around the inside of your machine. Using your machine over and over in cold weather, and then placing it in a garage can cause a series of melts and freezes that can initiate a buildup of ice within your machine that could keep the auger from turning.
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.

Machine Won’t Throw Snow

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.

My Snowblower Keeps Stalling

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.

Conclusion

A poorly running snowblower, or even one that fails to get started, doesn’t need to be a reason to panic. Many times there is a simple, and inexpensive solution to what might be going wrong. Gas powered engines need regular maintenance, and the time your machine spends sitting in the garage waiting for the next storage season can cause some issues if you haven’t properly maintained it. If you have any questions or helpful tips on how to keep your snowblower running through the season, please share with us below. And, as always, please spread the love!
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Read more about Starting Snowblowers

About The Author

Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod cuts a tragic figure in the High School English classroom teaching literature by day, and moonlighting as a writer and graphic artist by night. Published in a variety of travel magazines, and now a blog, Danielle enjoys coming up with home and garden projects to complete with her two young boys. A native of Michigan, she resides in Southeastern New Mexico with her variety of horses, poultry, and variable mix of rescue dogs (there’s a cat or two in there as well). In her free time she enjoys travel, art, photography, and a good book!

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