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How to Start a Snowblower That’s Been Sitting

A person snowblows a driveway.

Learning how to start a snowblower after it’s been sitting unused through warm weather is easy. But like anything with a motor, your snowblower needs maintenance to stay in running condition, especially if it’s been sitting for a while. Here’s what you need to know about starting a snowblower that’s reluctant to run so you can use it all winter long.

Don’t Wait Until the First StormSnowblower

While we may be in denial about winter’s return, it’s best to give your snowblower some attention before the first snowstorm. Make sure it’s ready to go sometime in late fall so you can get any repairs done with plenty of time before you need it. It’s also a lot easier to troubleshoot when it’s simply cool outside rather than in the single digits, when you can’t feel your fingers.

Put Safety First

Never, under any circumstances, put your hands in the shoot when the snowblower is running, even if it’s at a rough idle and it seems like it’s about to stall. That’s one way to end up in the emergency room. Also, if the snowblower has been sitting all summer, make sure you wear safety glasses the first time you fire it up in case something has made a home in it and unexpected debris comes flying out of the chute.

Ensure Everything Is in Position

Make sure all the switches are in the correct spot to start your snowblower. Double-check the throttle position, the fuel shut-off and the choke to make sure they’re all in the “on” position. Take time to thoroughly check each one to ensure that they’re all where they should be and not slightly off the mark.

Check the Gas

Is there gas in the tank? Even if you forgot to run it dry at the end of last season, any gas that remained could have evaporated. There could also be residue from the old gas clogging the carburetor. A fuel stabilizer can help liquefy that residue and get your snowblower running. You can also try using starting fluid to get your engine up and running.

Inspect the Fuel Lines for Damage

Fuel lines can become dry and brittle over time and may start to leak. Check that your fuel line is still flexible, and look for any gas leaks, which can be easy to spot if you simply move your snowblower a bit from where you started, revealing a telltale stain on the ground.

Replace the Spark Plug

You should also check the spark plug. Make sure there are no cracks and that it’s not coated in carbon deposits. Try giving it a good cleaning, and if that doesn’t work, consider replacing it, especially if it’s old.

Store Your Snowblower for Next Year

One of the best ways to make sure your snowblower starts every winter is to store it properly in the spring. This includes draining the fuel tank completely. Remove the spark plug, clean off any grime and store it in a safe place until next winter. Wherever you decide to store your snowblower, make sure you cover it to protect it from dirt and debris. Keeping dirt from getting into your snowblower and mucking up the works can help it start more easily when the cold weather returns.

Check out all the snowblower products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information about how to start a snowblower, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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Nicole Wakelin View All

Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.

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