Troubleshooting Tips for a Snow Blower

In 2022, many cities experienced their snowiest winters in years. Locations from Denver to Kalamazoo saw historic snowfall, leading to unusually high snow blower usage. 

Snow blowers are a valuable tool for dealing with the winter snow season. They not only clear snow quickly, but they also help prevent the damage snow can cause to your property.

However, while snow blower technology has advanced in recent years, they are still vulnerable to malfunction. Without a working snow blower, ice and snow will accumulate, potentially damaging your home and putting pedestrians at risk. To prevent this and troubleshoot your broken snow blower, follow these tips: 

Snow Blower Won’t Start

In most locations, snow blowers go unused during the spring and summer months. This idle time can make it challenging to start your blower, particularly on its first use. Follow these steps to coax your snow blower into starting.

Replace Your Fuel

Often, a snow blower will fail to start without fresh fuel. If you haven’t replaced its fuel in a few months and your blower won’t start, empty the gas tank and replace it or treat the old gasoline with a fuel stabilizer. 

Check Your Oil

If there is not enough oil, your blower will not start. If the dipstick shows that your motor is low on lubricant, this is likely the reason you can’t get it started.

Check Your Spark Plugs

Spark plugs deliver an electric current to the motor to start the blower. To check your spark plugs, turn the blower off and remove it from the device. If it is worn or damaged, clean or replace the spark plugs by following the directions in your owner’s manual, and you’ll get your blower running again. 

Examine Your Primer Bulb

The snow blower’s primer bulb is typically located next to the carburetor and creates a vacuum to draw fresh fuel into the engine’s fuel intake line. If you can’t start your snow blower, examine it for wear and tear. If it is not working properly, fuel won’t reach the engine. If it is degraded, replace it.

Snow Blower Clogs Repeatedly

A clogged chute is another common issue, particularly if the blower is used to clear heavy or wet snow. Older machines are more prone to clogging. To unclog your snow blower, follow these troubleshooting steps:

Stop the Engine

Before troubleshooting the blower, it is important to stop the engine by removing the ignition key. This protects you from injury and keeps the engine from suffering further damage.

Clear the Chute

Most blowers come with some form of clean-out tool. Use the shovel-like end of the apparatus and break down any large chunks of snow or ice in the chute. Once you’ve cleared the blockage, remove the snow from the chute.

Blow the Chute

Once the blower’s chute is cleared, reinsert the ignition key and run the snow blower. If your blower has an auger control function, engage it as you start the engine to clear any remaining debris. Your blower should function correctly once these steps are performed. 

Locating an Unknown Snow Blower Problem

It is easier to remedy your snow blower malfunction if you know what is causing the issue. To locate the source of the snow blower’s breakdown, check the following components.

Throttle and Choke

If you are cold-starting the blower, make sure you’re using the choke. As you start the engine, the throttle should also be in the “fast” or “high” position to ensure sufficient fuel is injected as the blower is used.

Fuel

If your blower won’t start or starts and sputters out, the device’s fuel may be the source of the issue. Ensure there is enough fresh gasoline in the tank. If there is, make sure you’ve used the correct type of fuel for your model. Check your user manual for this information.

If you’ve used the wrong gasoline type, your blower may fail to start even once you replace the fuel because the wrong fuel can freeze the gas lines. Place the blower in a heated indoor area to melt the ice before attempting to start it again. Do not turn the blower on indoors.

Carburetor

Carburetors mix fuel with air and work with the spark plug to start the engine. If your blower is old or heavily used, deposits and debris can accumulate in the carburetor. Check your manual to remove the component correctly, then clean it if it is dirty.

Fuel and Air Filters

If your blower starts but dies unexpectedly during use, your fuel or air filter may be clogged. Air filters can be unclogged by removing the component and firmly tapping it against a solid object. Clogged fuel filters will need to be replaced. 

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