Snowblower won’t start after sitting: How to fix this

Snowblower won’t start after sitting: How to fix this

You have enjoyed the fun of the summer, the peace of spring, and the beauty of autumn, now it’s snowing, and all you need is your snowblower.

Unfortunately, your snowblower will only start after being inactive in your garage or basement for a long time, and this can get very frustrating. There are several reasons why this can happen, and identifying these reasons will help you solve the problem accordingly. 

This article covers all the reasons snowblowers won’t start after sitting, and we also recommend some solutions to this problem.

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Reasons why snowblowers won’t start after sitting

Snowblower won’t start after sitting: How to fix this

This section covers the possible reasons why your snowblower is not responding after being inactive for a long time.

Clogged fuel line

The fuel line in a snowblower is responsible for supplying fuel to the engine to get this equipment started and ready to go. There are some cases where the fuel line gets blocked with dirt and debris, and the fuel cannot reach its destination. It can lead to your snowblower not starting as it contributes as a power source.

Faulty electric starter

The snowblower’s electric starter generates a spark that ignites the fuel and kickstarts the equipment. When the electric starter is not functioning as required, the fuel will not be ignited to power up the device. You can identify a lousy starter by the following symptoms:

  • Smoke
  • Clicking or grinding noise
  • The starter stays on even after starting.
  • The starter engages, but the motor doesn’t start.

Faulty recoil in a pull start model

For snowblowers that depend on pull starters to power them on, bad weather conditions and wear and tear can be why the recoil needs to be fixed. However, it may be that the recoil spring is loose or wrong, the string is stuck, or the string is broken or worn out.

Loose connectors or lousy spark plugs

If the spark plugs in your snowblower are due for a change, dirty, or faulty, then it can be the reason why your equipment won’t start. If the spark plug of your snowblower is faulty, you will notice misfires and poor fuel economy, and one look at the spark plug tells you that it is due for replacement.

Dirty or blocked carburetor 

A carburetor is a device in the snowblower that mixes air and fuel for proper combustion in the engine. This combustion is what powers the snowblower and keeps it going. When the carburetor is blocked, it cannot supply air for proper combustion, making the snowblower unable to start.

After leaving this equipment alone for a long time, the carburetor can get clogged by dirt easily. 

Empty fuel tank

You may remember leaving behind some fuel after using your snowblower last time. However, that may have been different. Having no fuel means that there are no means for combustion to take place. If your snowblower is not starting, try checking the fuel tank.

Old or bad fuel

Equally, your snowblower may not start because its fuel has been sitting for a long time and has gone wrong. Ensure that you change the fuel before use. This way, you can determine if there is another reason for this problem or if the fuel was wrong. 

Modern fuels are made of ethanol, and when this hydrocarbon absorbs air from the atmosphere, it produces a sticky residue that clogs parts of your snowblower.

How to troubleshoot your snowblower not starting

How to troubleshoot your snowblower not starting

We have briefly described the reasons why your snowblower is unable to start. This next section explores the solutions you can implement to fix these issues. 

Clean out or replace your fuel line.

Here are the critical processes you should follow in cleaning out the full line of your snowblower. 

  1. Empty the fuel tank: This will prevent you from wasting fuel. Store the fuel in an air-tight container to ensure you can use it next time. Place the snowblower in a ventilated area to ensure the fuel tank gets appropriately dried.
  2. Remove the spark plug wire.
  3. Remove the electric starter switch by losing the screws mounting it to the bracket.
  4. Remove the engine shroud: to achieve this, you will need to take off the throttle and choke knobs, the nuts securing the carburetor to the engine, the mounting screws on the muffler shroud, 
  5. Remove the fuel line: This is done by releasing the clamps on both sides of the fuel line. 
  6. Blow air through the fuel line to get rid of the debris inside. If it doesn’t budge, use a vertical and non-sharp object to push out the dirt.
  7. If the fuel line seems damaged, get a new one and install it back.

Replace the electric starter.

To replace a bad electric starter and boost combustion in your snowblower’s engine, start by removing the spark plug wire and then remove the screws securing the switch box to the engine. After doing this, you can remove the mounting on the starter motor and remove the starter motor.

Install the new electric starter when you are done, and reconnect the spark plug wire.

Replace recoil assembly

It may be that the recoil spring is faulty and requires replacement, or in some cases, the entire will require replacement if more than the recoil spring is affected. 

Replace spark plug

To replace the spark plug in your snowblower: 

  1. Remove the spark plug from the spark plug cylinder using the appropriate socket.
  2. Inquire about the correct gapping for the spark plugs from your snowblower’s manual. After gapping the spark plug, the electrode should fit in just right, and you should only feel slight resistance when removing it. Using spark plug gapping tools allows you to attain the correct gap the manufacturer recommends.
  3. Install the new spark plug after gapping.

If you are unsure whether your spark plug is at fault, you can use an ignition tester to test the spark plugs. Here are the processes involved in using the ignition tester for this purpose.

  1. Use a socket to remove the spark plug from the cylinder
  2. Insert one end of the ignition tester clip into the spark plug and the other end into the spark plug boot
  3. Attempt to start the leaf blower, but be cautious of any other electrical appliance lying around
  4. Observe the tester window. If a spark jumps across the terminals, then the spark plug is functioning well 
  5. If there is no spark, it means that the spark plug is defective and will need to be replaced

Clean the carburetor

A blocked carburetor interferes with ignition and combustion, resulting from the buildup of carbon and dirt and the carburetor. Here are the steps to take to clean your carburetor

  1. Be familiar with the part of your snowblower
  2. Loosen the screws securing the carburetor and take it out
  3. Soak it in a cleaning liquid for some hours to get rid of some of the dirt
  4. Clean small holes to get rid of impurities in these areas
  5. Use compressed air to remove any other dirt that may be contained
  6. Fix the connector back, and if you encounter any other issues, contact a professional to take a look.

Refill your fuel tank.

If your fuel tank is empty or contains the wrong fuel,n drain it all out and refill it with some new fuel. Consider using gasoline that contains less ethanol. A good suggestion is 87-grade gasoline containing just 10% ethanol.

If you have had fuel in your fuel tank for over 30 days and it has become less effective, add fuel additives before pouring in new gasoline. It improves the octane rating of your gasoline. 

Frequently asked questions 

How to troubleshoot your snowblower not starting

Here are some frequently asked questions concerning why your snowblower may not be starting.

How often should I change the spark plug in my snowblower?

You should change the spark plug in your snowblower after 100 hours or after a complete season. For proper maintenance, clean the spark plugs after every 20-30 hours and check the gap each time to ensure that it’s in place. It would be best to look for signs indicating your spark plug has been faulty. This way, you can replace it immediately to prevent long-term damage.

What to do if fuel is not reaching the motor of the snowblower?

If fuel cannot reach the motor for combustion, then you need to check if it is clogged with dirt or if the quality of your fuel is good because the residue of the lousy fuel can also block the carburetor.

Should I prime the engine of my snowblower?

Priming your snowblower’s engine is done by using a priming pump or a primer to spray fuel to the snowblower’s carburetor to kickstart it. The primer can be found close to the carburetor as a small rubber. Pressing it 3-5 times should help start your snowblower’s engine.


It may be no surprise that your snowblower does not start after sitting in your storage compartment for a long time. It results from several reasons associated with poor maintenance and leaving this equipment alone for a long time. 

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After reading this article, you should have learned about the possible reasons why your snowblower cannot start. After identifying the reasons, you should be aware of the possible actions to take and the processes involved in these actions. If you need help troubleshooting these problems, you should seek the help of an expert. 

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