Gas Snowblower: Why won't my snowblower start?
The snowblower engine needs gas, compression and spark to start, so if your snowblower isn't starting, focus on those. First, make sure the gas in the tank is fresh; older gas can form gummy deposits that interfere with starting. Gummy deposits clog the carburetor so clean or replace the carburetor if it's clogged. Check the fuel line and fuel filter and replace those components if clogged.
Another easy thing to check is the spark plug-if the spark plug is cracked or has a sooty electrode, replace it. Check the stop switch and replace it if it isn't allowing the spark plug to get current. A good engine tune-up that includes an oil change may help the engine start.
A failed rewind starter or electric starter won't spin the engine so replace those components if broken. For a quick compression test, remove the spark plug, cover the cylinder hole with your thumb and pull the starter rope. If you don't feel air against your thumb, you may need to adjust the valve lash. A damaged piston, piston rings, or cylinder could cause a compression problem—and it might be time for a service technician. Watch our snowblower engine won't start video for more troubleshooting tips.
Do a snowblower tune-up
A tune-up restores the snowblower to its peak operating condition. A tune-up includes changing the oil, cleaning the engine, replacing the air filter, checking the ignition system, inspecting the carburetor, testing the battery, adjusting the throttle and choke controls, and adjusting and lubricating all moving parts.
Clean and rebuild the snowblower carburetor
Rebuild kits are available for most carburetors. The kit contains the essential components such as jets, pins, seals and gaskets to overhaul the carburetor. You can sometimes fix a fuel supply problem by disassembling and cleaning a carburetor. Use the rebuild kit to rebuild the carburetor after cleaning it.
Adjust the snowblower valve lash
The snowblower valve lash is the amount of clearance between the top of the valve stem and the rocker arm. Incorrect valve lash prevents the snowblower valve from opening or closing properly. valve lash is incorrect, the snowblower engine is hard to start, runs poorly and loses power. Premature valve failure also results from improper valve lash. Check valve lash after the first 25 hours of use and then every 100 hours. Adjust the valve lash if the snowblower engine won't start or runs poorly.
Replace the snowblower fuel filter
The snowblower fuel filter screens particles from the gasoline as fuel moves from the fuel tank to the carburetor. Fuel won't flow if the snowblower fuel filter clogs. Replace the fuel filter if it's clogged or damaged.
Replace the snowblower fuel line
A cracked or broken snowblower fuel line leaks gas, creating a fire hazard. Inspect the snowblower fuel line regularly and replace it if it's cracked or damaged.
Replace the snowblower electric starter
The snowblower electric starter is a motor attached to the engine crankshaft, The electric starter includes a cord that plugs into an electrical outlet to provide the starter motor with power. Replace the snowblower electric starter if the motor won't spin when activated.
Replace the snowblower spark plug
The snowblower spark plug creates the spark that ignites the fuel, creating a controlled explosion in the cylinder to move the piston that drives the engine. The spark plug won't create spark if deposits build up on the spark plug electrode or if the ceramic insulation cracks. Replace the snowblower spark plug if it's fouled or damaged.
Replace the snowblower engine stop switch
The engine stop switch prevents the engine from starting unless you insert the key and stops the engine when you remove the key. Replace the stop switch if it won't allow the engine to start when you insert the key or doesn't kill the engine when you remove the key.
Replace the snowblower carburetor
Over time, varnish from stale gasoline builds up in the carburetor, decreasing the amount of air/fuel mixture reaching the engine. Replace the carburetor if it's severely clogged with varnish or if the orifices are clogged with debris and can't be cleared using carburetor cleaner and compressed air.
Repair or replace the snowblower recoil starter
Many snow blowers have a recoil starter with a pull rope. The pull rope can usually be replaced if broken. If the pull rope doesn't retract, it's likely the spring is broken. Because replacing the spring is difficult and usually impractical, replace the whole recoil starter.
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Get an overview of the main steps in a snowblower tune-up and click to videos with more details.