Snowblower Won’t Start After Sitting

It’s not surprising that you wake up to a snowed driveway or walkway during the winter season. And when you pull out your snowblower from the garage to start clearing the snow, the worst happens; it won’t start. Using a shovel isn’t an option, neither are you prepared to get a new blower.

But, what might have made your snowblower not start?

What causes a snowblower not to start?

Before you start wondering how to fix the blower so it works, it’s wise to determine why it isn’t starting. By so doing, you save time going straight to the exact fix method instead of endless trials and errors. Check for any of the reasons below that could have   made your blower not start:

1. Damaged spark plug

The snowblower might not start because of various defects with its spark plug. Sometimes the spark plug could be broken, cracked, or flooded due to fuel deposits. Other problems with the plug could be it has worn out over time.

2. Old dirty oils

 Open the fuel tank to check if it has enough fuel. If it has, then check the fuel’s status. Gasoline oil starts turning stale in as early as thirty days. If a gas snow blower sits for more than six months without changing the oil, it will absorb moisture, turn grey, and become sticky. Dirty oils make the snowblower not start and can blow the connecting rod.

3. Clogged carburetor

 If you leave the oil in the bowl for more than six months, it will evaporate, leaving behind a dirty, sticky substance that clogs the carburetor’s air filter. When the pilot jet is blocked, unequal amounts of oil and airflow into the carburetor, disrupting the normal combustion process. This makes the blower not start.

4. Offed shutoff valve

The shutoff valve allows and controls airflow through the carburetor throat. It also prevents oil flooding in the engine. If the shutoff valve is closed, no air flows into the carburetor, hence no combustion to start the blower.

5. Wrongly positioned switch key

The switch key opens the ground circuit contacts to the ignition coil. If wrongly placed, the snowblower won’t start.

How do you force a snowblower to start (how to fix it)?

After knowing the causes of the snowblower not starting, you can now quickly determine how to fix it depending on the reason.

Be sure to wear protective gear like rubber gloves before touching any part of a machine. Check the manual to know the features of the blower and for any caution to take.

Below are the troubleshooting methods to use if your snowblower refuses to start:

1. Replace broken spark plug

Remove the ignition key, disconnect the spark plug wire, and ground against the engine to check if the spark plug has broken. Use a spark plug mesh to pull the plug and inspect it. If there are cracks, replace the spark plug with a new one. Also, measure the spark plug gap with a filler gauge. If it’s too large or narrow, bend the side electrode to correct it. The gap should be 0.60mm-0.80mm.

If the spark plug has worn out over time, buy a new one and replace it.

Also, check the spark plug washer for oils that might have been deposited on it and wipe them with a cloth or towel.

2. Drain old dirty oils

Check the oil; if it’s grayish and sticky, that shows it’s stale and should be drained and replaced, so the blower runs. Below is a   guide on how to drain the oil:

  • Disconnect the fuel line between the carburetor and the fuel tank.
  • Remove the dipstick, wipe with a towel and place it aside.
  • Use an oil extractor to remove the old engine oil.
  •  Insert the hose to the bottom of the tank.
  •  Place the extractor on a leveled solid surface.
  •  Pump slowly to siphon all of the old oil.
  •  Add new oil and check its level as you continue pumping. The level should be between the two indicator marks on the dipstick.
  • Start the blower, and it will now run smoothly.

Be sure to use the correct type of oil for your blower. Add a stabilizer during storage to make the oil stay fresh for a long time.

If the blower is an electric model, be sure to charge the battery fully.

3. Clean clogged carburetor

Dirty oils from the fuel tank clog a carburetor making the blower not start. Therefore, clean the carburetor to remove dirt and debris from it.

Follow the procedure below to clean the carburetor:


  • A brake cleaner or carb cleaner. Break cleaner works better.
  • Socket wrench
  • Wiping towel


  • Turn the snowblower off.
  • Locate the carburetor position, remove the fuel jet, then detach the bowl.
  • Spray a brake cleaner on the bowl, then wipe the debris with a cloth or towel.
  • Spray the brake cleaner on the fuel jet, its holes, and wipe with a towel.
  • Repeat spraying and wiping the bowl and jet to remove all the debris altogether.
  • Spray the brake cleaner in the emulsion tube for five seconds.
  • Remove the sliding needle, detach the sliding bowl. Spot a fixed needle, clean it, and return everything as before.
  • Return the fuel jet and the carburetor bowl as previously.

4. Turn on the shutoff valve

For air and gas to flow into the carburetor, the shutoff valve must be open. So, open the shutoff valve to allow air and gas for combustion, so the blower starts.

5. Position the switch key in the keyholder

Insert the switch key in the keyholder so the blower starts. This simple task can be easily forgotten, especially after not using the blower over time.

6. Turn on full choke mode

If you leave the snowblower in a cold place for more than six months, it will catch a cold, making it difficult to start on the regular fuel energy. Turning the choke mode on the blower will block the filter valve, thus preventing air from getting into the carburetor. The carburetor burns fuel only. The Rich fuel with no air therefore starts and keeps the blower running. Once the engine starts, it’s advisable to turn it back to run status.

What happens if you leave choke on a snowblower?

If you leave choke on a snowblower while running, the blower will use more fuel, thus wastage.

Choke on a snowblower closes the air supply valve, making the blower run on rich gas only.  The blower will continue to run with the valve closed but will consume more fuel than when the valve is open.

Choke on is harmless, but the spark plug will crack and need a replacement over time.

Why does my snowblower run only on half choke?

Your snowblower running on half choke means the carb is partially closed, therefore allowing insufficient fuel to the carburetor. Debris causes partial clogging in the carburetor.

How many years should a snowblower last?

 Averagely, a snowblower should last between 15-25 years. But this depends on its initial quality, maintenance, and care practices.


  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand: Snowblower Safety.

Similar Posts