Snowblower Won’t Start After Sitting: What To Do?

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Starting a snowblower after summer is difficult when you have stale fuel in the system. To start a snowblower after sitting, you first need to drain the tank and add fresh fuel and stabilizer to it. If the engine still won’t start, clean the carburetor or check the spark plug for damage.

Snowblower Won’t Start After Sitting: What To Do?

Are you buried in snow, but your snowblower won’t start after sitting for months? Can you just not bring yourself to pick up the shovel? 

Before you head to the repair shop, you need to hear me out first. 

It is completely normal to experience a few hiccups when starting your snowblower after the summer.  This happens even to some of the best snow blowers. Your machine just needs a simple tune-up that you can do at home by yourself. 

I will take you through the troubleshooting steps that you can work your way through at home. By the end of this list, your snowblower should be up and running. 

How To Start A Snowblower That Has Been Sitting?

Check If All Switches Are In The Right Position

Snowblowers have an array of switches and valves that need to be positioned correctly for the engine to start. You will need to set the:

  1. Throttle to “High” 
  2. Fuel shut-off valve to “Open” 
  3. Choke to “Full”
  4. Run switch to “On” 

Don’t forget to check if the ignition key is inserted and positioned properly. If your snowblower has a red toggle switch, make sure it is on “RUN” mode

Last but not least, see if there is enough fuel in the tank. You’d be surprised how often people forget about this.

Here is a quick demo on how to start your snowblower: 

Change The Gas And Add Stabilizer To It

If you didn’t add a fuel stabilizer to your snowblower before storing it, you will need to completely drain the system and start anew. When gas sits for months, it develops a gummy consistency that can clog up the lines. 

This is the most common reason why snow blowers won’t start after summer. 

What you need to do is drain the old gas through the fuel line or using a siphon pump, just like this one 

Once drained, pour in the fresh gas with a fuel stabilizer. A fuel stabilizer, like STA-BIL Storage , will dissolve any sticky residue left behind and keep the new gas from breaking down. If the engine doesn’t start immediately, let it sit for an hour to let the stabilizer do its work.  

Prime The Engine 

If you haven’t primed the engine yet, now is the time to do it. Priming is especially important when working with a snowblower that has been stored in a cold place. 

When you prime the engine, you pump a little bit of fuel in the carburetor, where it can easily ignite. 

Simply push the rubber primer bulb three to five times in a row. Start the blower immediately after. It may take you a couple of tries to wake up the cold engine if it has been sitting for a while.  

Clean The Carburetor 

If the engine doesn’t start after you have changed the gas and added the stabilizer, chances are that old sticky gas is clogging the carburetor

The only way to solve this problem is to clean the carburetor thoroughly with a carb cleaner, like this one from Gumout 

You will first need to locate and access the carburetor with the help of the owner’s manual. Remove the fuel bowl to get to the main jet and emulsion tube. Spray the cleaner directly into the center opening and through the main jet to unclog every little hole. 

Screw all parts back into place, prime the engine, and you should be good to go. Take a look: 

Check The Fuel Line And Fuel Filter  

A damaged or clogged fuel line can be another reason why your snowblower won’t start after sitting. 

Check if the fuel line is kinked, cracked, or leaking in any place. Also, test if the line is still as flexible and pliable as it should be. If it has hardened, replace it with a new one. You can find a replacement line on Amazon.   

While you are at it, see if the fuel filter is clogged or damaged. Replace it if needed. 

Replace The Spark Plug

If the engine won’t start even with gas, it is most likely a spark plug that’s at fault

A spark plug
Image credit:

What you need to do is disconnect the spark plug wire to get to the spark plug. Unscrew it using a deep socket wrench. Inspect the spark plug for carbon deposits and try to clean it with a carburetor cleaner 

If there is too much carbon buildup or any damage to the ceramic insulator or the electrode, you will need to buy a new spark plug. It is recommended you change spark plugs every season. You can find them on Amazon. 

Before you install a new spark plug, check if the gap between the ground and center electrode suits the model of your snowblower. You should find this info in the owner’s manual. 

The gap for snowblowers typically measures .025″ to .030. Use this handy CTA Tools gapper  to measure and adjust the gap to correct size if need be. 

FAQ: Answered

Why Won’t Snowblower Start After Summer?

The number one reason why snow blowers fail to start after summer is stale fuel blocking the system. Adding a fuel stabilizer to the gas can prevent the carburetor and fuel filter from clogging. If the engine won’t start after you’ve drained the system, inspect the spark plug for damage. 

What Causes A Snowblower Carburetor To Leak After Sitting?

A dried out carburetor bowl gasket usually causes the carburetor to leak. You should also check if the float and needle are obstructed with dirt. The float may even have some fuel in it. Lastly, inspect the fuel bowl for tiny pinholes using a flashlight, as they tend to develop over time.

Put Your Skills To Use

Don’t panic if your snowblower won’t start after sitting. It is completely normal for cold engines to be a little lazy at first. All you need to do is put your skills to use and:

  1. Correctly position all switches and valves for the start.
  2. Add fresh gas and a fuel stabilizer to the tank, like STA-BIL Storage 
  3. Prime the engine to give it a head start.
  4. Clean the carburetor with Gumout carb cleaner  if necessary.
  5. Change the fuel line, fuel filter, or spark plug if damaged. 

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and let us know which troubleshooting step worked for you.
Featured image credit: mklingo

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Last update on 2020-09-19 at 00:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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