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My Snowblower won’t start: try this first (with video)

Imagine you wake up early on a chilly Sunday morning, sacrificing your sleep and dragging yourself out of the comfort of your cozy bed. You are determined to clear the snow on your driveway so you can drive to the grocery store.  You make it to the shed, and there it is, in a corner, covered with dust and cobwebs. It looks like it has been there for ages. You clear off the dust and debris and you are finally, in the middle of your driveway.  You try to start your snowblower but it doesn’t start, you try again but it just doesn’t start!

My Snowblower won’t start, what to do:

  • Solution 1: Drain out the old gas
  • Solution 2: Add the right type of fuel
  • Solution 3: Use the full choke mode
  • Solution 4: Check the flywheel key of your snowblower
  • Solution 5: Adjust the valve lash of your snowblower
  • Solution 6: Check the ignition coil of your snowblower
  • Solution 7: Check the spark plug

Well, don’t worry anymore. I am here to help. In this blog post, I will resolve the entire mystery one by one. I will answer the questions you might have like; How did this happen? When did this happen? And what’s the solution?

Why won’t my snowblower start?

One of the most unforgivable problems with the design of a snowblower is that the snow can build up in the auger of the snowblower. This results in the jamming of your snowblower. Thus, the motor of your snowblower stalls again and again.

This issue is further complicated by the fact that the auger of your snowblower could deform before you can apply enough resistance to its motor to turn it off. If you try to clear this jam with your hands, it can result in the auger returning to its original shape all of a sudden with a lot of force. You must never try this method, it is very dangerous and you can injure yourself in the process

The safest and most reliable way is to first of all,  turn off the engine of your snowblower, and then very carefully disengage the clutch of your snowblower. You can then clear the jam with a broom handle or any long and sturdy object. To improve safety, many manufacturers of the latest models of snow blowers now include a plastic tool accessory within the original price of your snowblower, for clearing jams.

This tool is usually mounted directly to the snowblower.

What do I do if my snowblower won’t start?

Here I will provide you with 7 different solutions that you can try one by one if your snowblower refuses to start:

● Solution 1: Drain out the old gas

If you are using a gas snow blower, Older gas in your snow blower can form clammy deposits in the fuel lines and the fuel filter. You will also realize that old fuel turns into a varnish-like coating inside the carburetor of your snowblower. In some cases, you may forget to add fuel stabilizer to the gas before you store it for the summer season and the fuel might lose volatility. In this case, you will have to drain it out of the carburetor.

After you have drained out the old gas, you can pour in fresh fuel along with a fuel stabilizer. If the old fuel has gotten into the carburetor of your snowblower, then it must be cleaned or replaced. Fuel lines and filters of your snowblower can get clammed due to dirty fuel and may also need to be replaced if they are cracked or damaged.

Ensure that your fresh gasoline does not contain any ethanol. When your snowblower has a clean fuel filter and fuel line, its carburetor will function properly.

● Solution 2: Add the right type of fuel

Always fill it up the tank of your snowblower with the right type of fuel, depending on the type of motor your snowblower has. There are two types of snowblower’s motors in this category; two cycles, and four cycles. If your snowblower has a four-cycle motor, it’s just straight gas that goes in your tank.

The current gas you buy contains a lot of ethanol in it, while this is eco friendly, it attracts moisture and after some time can separate and create a layer of water and alcohol at the bottom of your fuel tank. This can cause severe engine problems, and even damage your engine. For this reason, it is important to add a fuel stabilizer if you are using normal gas.

If your snowblower has a two-cycle motor, you must mix oil in with the gas.  You must make sure your mix ratio is right. You will find instructions for the mix ratio written on the gas cap or the engine housing. If you cannot find it, consult the user manual of your snowblower.

Many warehouses, auto parts, and even convenience stores have bottles of two-cycle proportioned for one or two-gallon gas cans. This is great because they take the stress of guessing until you get the right mix. With both two-cycle and four-cycle motors, it is best to get a minimum of eighty-seven octane gas with no more than ten percent ethanol.

When you are 100% sure that the gas tank of your snowblower is full of fresh fuel but its motor still won’t start, you might consider trying a can of starter fluid. But you must beware, most starter fluids have an ether base which makes it extremely flammable and can also ruin a two-cycle motor because it strips necessary residual oil off of cranks and cylinder walls. It is best to find a spray can of non-Teflon, petroleum-based lubricant, to use as a starter fluid.

To use this, you will need to access the intake of the carburetor. You will find it behind the air filter of your snowblower. You must give a couple of solid squirts into the throat of the carburetor of your snow blower and then start the engine. If your snowblower won’t start, it means the issue is with the ignition or spark plug.

● Solution 3: Use the full choke mode

Your snowblower won’t start if its engine is cold which is very common if you live in the North. You can resolve your problem by using the full choke mode. Measure the outdoor temperature so that you can determine whether or not your snow blower will need to prime.

If the outdoor temperature is below freezing point, you have to prime the carburetor of your snowblower to get it starting. But in case the outdoor temperature is warm you can skip priming, it can cause the flooding of the engine.

● Solution 4: Check the flywheel key of your snowblower

The flywheel key of your snowblower may have sheared in half if the engine won’t start. The flywheel key of your snowblower is a small rectangular metal piece that fits into the crankshaft. The flywheel is a fail-safe for when the engine stops suddenly after hitting a hard object, the flywheel key will break in half preventing damage to the engine of your snowblower.

To check for a broken flywheel key, remove the flywheel of your snowblower from the engine and inspect the flywheel key. If the flywheel key is broken, replace it immediately.

● Solution 5: Adjust the valve lash of your snowblower

Your snowblower valve lash is the amount of space between the top of the valve stem and the rocker arm. Incorrect valve lash prevents its valve from opening or closing properly. When the valve lash is incorrectly set, the engine will be hard to start, it will run poorly, or lose power.

Premature valve failure of your snowblower could also be as a result of improper valve lash. You need to check the valve lash after the first twenty-five hours of use and then every hundred hours. You need to adjust the valve lash if the engine won’t start or runs poorly.

● Solution 6: Check the ignition coil of your snowblower

The ignition coil of your snowblower sends voltage to the spark plug while the engine is running. If the ignition coil of your snowblower is defective, the engine will not start. Before replacing the ignition coil of your snowblower, you must make sure that the spark plug is working properly.

When you confirm that the spark plug is working properly, test the ignition coil with an ignition coil tester. If the ignition coil of your snowblower is defective, replace it with a new one.

● Solution 7: Check the spark plug

Inspect the spark plug of your snowblower for signs of wear or damage. If the porcelain insulator of your snowblower is cracked, or an electrode is burnt or damaged, or there is heavy carbon buildup at the electrode, you need to replace the spark plug.