What Should I Do if My Snow Blower Won’t Start?

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When snow starts falling, it accumulates quickly. Staying ahead of the snow pileup with a snow blower prevents issues, but what do you do if your snow blower won’t start when you need it most? Keep reading for practical tips and parts to check when your snow blower struggles to get started.  



Where should I start if my snow blower won’t run?

If your snow blower won't start right away, there is no need to panic. You can review and adjust key areas to help kickstart your snow blower after it’s been sitting in storage for the off-season.


Checking switches and valves

Snow blowers come with several switches, buttons, and valves. As a safety feature, these must be in the correct position for the snow blower to start. Review your owner's manual and ensure you have all the switches and valves positioned correctly before attempting to start your snow blower.


Fuel problems and their solutions

First, make sure the fuel looks and smells right before using the primer bulb. If you use the primer bulb before checking the gasoline, you run the risk of pushing particles into the carburetor that could clog jets and valves. When a snow blower (or any piece of equipment) sits idle for months, the gas can thicken and develop a gummy residue, causing the machine to not start correctly. If your gasoline appears gummy, siphon out the old gas and refill the tank with new gas before starting the snow blower. In any case, it’s good practice to start with fresh gas after several months of sitting idle.

After checking your fuel, press the flexible primer bulb (the rubber or silicone bulb usually located near the carburetor) three to five times to push fuel into the carburetor, then immediately try to start the snow blower. If you haven’t started your snowblower up for a while, you can do this up to three or four times to help ensure proper fuel is getting to the carburetor.

If your snow blower still doesn’t start, some of the old gas could still be in the carburetor. Add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank but be sure to only to add the specified rate that can be found on the container. After adding the fuel stabilizer, try to start the machine. It might not start on the first try but continue to crank it to get the new fuel and fuel stabilizer through the carburetor. After a few minutes, if the snow blower isn’t starting, allow it to sit for an hour or two so the fuel stabilizer can work to dissolve any of the gummy gas residue still in the carburetor. Once the fuel stabilizer has had some time to work, you can try starting it again.


Spark plugs, carburetors, and other parts

Spark plugs may be a small piece on a snow blower, but they are essential. Without a spark to ignite the fuel, your snow blower won’t start. Cleaning built-up carbon residue off the spark plugs or replacing them if cracked can be done in just a few simple steps.

  1. Remove the spark plugs with a spark plug socket and socket wrench.
  2. Examine the plugs for any cracks. If there are no cracks, use a carburetor cleaner and a wire brush to clean off the build-up on the threaded end of the plugs.
  3. Replace with new spark plugs if cracks are found in the originals, or reinsert original spark plugs after cleaning and drying them.

Always check your fuel lines for damage. Fuel lines should be flexible but can harden over time. If a fuel line hardens, it can crack and cause leaking. If your fuel line is becoming hard, kinked, or cracked, it is time to replace it with a new one to ensure the carburetor gets proper fuel flow.

After checking the switches and valves, spark plugs, and fuel lines, it's time to take a deeper look at the carburetor if your snow blower still won't start. Refer to your owner's manual for model-specific instructions on accessing your snow blower's carburetor. After removing the air filter cover and the air filter, you will see a cylindrical air intake valve. Review the instructions on a can of carb cleaner and spray the carb cleaner into the air-intake valve. The carb cleaner is a powerful gunk-dissolver that will help clean up and remove any build-up in the carburetor. Once finished, replace the air filter, and put the air filter cover back on.

Carburetors are challenging to put back together after taking them apart. If unsure, contact your local Koenig Equipment service department to schedule repairs with a certified John Deere technician.



How can I prevent future issues with my snow blower?

Following simple maintenance steps before putting your snow blower away for the off-season will help prevent issues starting next winter.

  1. Completely drain the fuel.
  2. Change the engine oil.
  3. Examine and replace worn parts.
  4. Cover with a snow blower cover.


Where can I get my snow blower repaired by a professional?

If you’ve checked the common causes and your snow blower still won’t start, contact Koenig Equipment for snow blower repair work. The certified John Deere technicians at Koenig Equipment have the knowledge and expertise to get your snowblower back up and running. Complete a service request form online or call your local dealership to schedule your snow blower repair.



Additional Resources:

Tips for Buying a Snow Blower

Snow Blower Tips

Snow Blower Maintenance