How to Fix a Snowblower That Won’t Stay Running


Is your snowblower not staying running, leaving you with a snow-filled driveway? Don’t worry! This article will guide you through the possible causes of this problem and provide practical solutions to get your snowblower back in action. We’ll dive into specific examples, brand names, and precise steps to ensure your snowblower remains operational throughout the winter season.


Common Causes of Snowblower Problems

Dirty or Clogged Carburetor

A dirty or clogged carburetor is a common cause of snowblower malfunctions. The carburetor, found in brands like Briggs & Stratton and Tecumseh, mixes air and fuel to create the right mixture for combustion. Over time, dirt, debris, and fuel residue can build up and obstruct its performance, causing your snowblower to stall or shut down.


Old or Contaminated Fuel

Old or contaminated fuel is another frequent issue, particularly if your snowblower has been sitting idle for an extended period. The fuel may have become stale or water-contaminated, leading to poor engine performance and difficulty staying running. Snowblower manufacturers, such as Toro and Ariens, recommend using fresh fuel with a stabilizer to prevent this issue.


Blocked Fuel Lines

Fuel lines can get clogged with dirt or debris, impeding fuel flow to the engine. This can result in the snowblower stalling or failing to start at all. Manufacturers like Honda and Husqvarna recommend regular inspection and cleaning of fuel lines to ensure smooth operation.


Faulty Spark Plug

A worn-out or damaged spark plug can cause your snowblower’s engine to misfire or not start at all. Regularly inspecting and replacing the spark plug, as recommended by brands like MTD and Craftsman, is essential for optimal engine performance.


Clogged Air Filter

A clogged air filter restricts airflow to the engine, causing it to run poorly or stall. Brands like John Deere and Cub Cadet recommend regular maintenance to prevent this issue.


start snowblower


How to Fix a Snowblower That Won’t Stay Running

Cleaning the Carburetor

To clean the carburetor of a snowblower, such as a Briggs & Stratton model, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the carburetor by disconnecting the fuel line and removing the mounting bolts.
  2. Disassemble the carburetor.
  3. Clean each component with a carburetor cleaner like Gumout or Berryman B-12 Chemtool.
  4. Reassemble the carburetor.
  5. Reattach it to the snowblower and test the engine.


Replacing the Fuel

To replace old or contaminated fuel in a Toro snowblower, follow these steps:

  1. Drain the fuel tank and clean it thoroughly.
  2. Refill the tank with fresh fuel, ensuring it meets the manufacturer’s recommendations (usually unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 87).
  3. Add a fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL or Sea Foam to extend the life of the fuel.


Clearing Fuel Lines

To check and clean the fuel lines of a Husqvarna snowblower, follow these steps:

  1. Inspect the fuel lines for signs of blockage or damage.
  2. If clogged, remove the lines.
  3. Clean the lines with a fuel line cleaner like Red Line or Lucas Oil, or use compressed air.
  4. Replace damaged lines if necessary.
  5. Ensure all connections are secure when reassembling.


Checking and Replacing the Spark Plug

To inspect and replace the spark plug of a Craftsman snowblower, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the spark plug from the engine.
  2. Inspect the electrode for wear and the insulator for cracks or damage.
  3. If necessary, replace the spark plug with a compatible one like NGK or Champion.
  4. When installing a new spark plug, ensure it is properly gapped according to the manufacturer’s specifications (usually between 0.028 and 0.031 inches).
  5. Reinstall the spark plug and test the engine.


Cleaning or Replacing the Air Filter

To clean or replace the air filter of a John Deere snowblower, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the air filter from the snowblower.
  2. Inspect the filter for dirt, debris, or damage.
  3. If the filter is reusable, clean it with a mild soap and water solution, and let it dry completely before reinstalling.
  4. If the filter is not reusable or is damaged, replace it with a new one.
  5. Reinstall the air filter and test the engine.


Possible Causes Symptoms Solution Steps
Dirty or clogged carburetor Engine stalling or shutting down 1. Remove and disassemble the carburetor. 2. Clean components with a carburetor cleaner. 3. Reassemble and reinstall the carburetor.
Old or contaminated fuel Poor engine performance, hard starting 1. Drain and clean the fuel tank. 2. Refill with fresh fuel and add a fuel stabilizer.
Blocked fuel lines Engine stalling, failure to start 1. Inspect and remove fuel lines if clogged. 2. Clean with a fuel line cleaner or compressed air. 3. Reinstall or replace fuel lines if necessary.
Faulty spark plug Engine misfiring, not starting 1. Remove and inspect the spark plug. 2. Replace with a compatible one if necessary. 3. Reinstall the spark plug and test the engine.
Clogged air filter Poor engine performance, engine stalling 1. Remove the air filter. 2. Clean or replace the air filter if necessary. 3. Reinstall the air fi


Preventive Maintenance Tips

To keep your snowblower running smoothly, follow these preventive maintenance tips:

  1. Regularly check and clean the carburetor, fuel lines, and air filter.
  2. Replace old or contaminated fuel with fresh fuel, and use a fuel stabilizer when storing your snowblower for extended periods.
  3. Inspect and replace the spark plug as needed.
  4. Lubricate moving parts and inspect belts for wear or damage.
  5. Store your snowblower in a clean and dry environment to prevent rust and corrosion.


When to Call a Professional

If you have tried the troubleshooting steps mentioned above and your snowblower still won’t stay running, it’s time to call a professional. A qualified technician can diagnose and repair more complex issues such as engine or transmission problems.



Keeping your snowblower in good working condition is crucial for efficient snow removal during the winter months. By understanding the common causes of snowblower problems and following the troubleshooting steps provided in this article, you can quickly resolve most issues and keep your machine running smoothly. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are essential for extending the life of your snowblower and ensuring it’s ready to tackle those snowy days.



  1. How often should I change the oil in my snowblower? It’s generally recommended to change the oil in your snowblower at least once per season or after every 25-30 hours of use, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  2. What type of fuel should I use in my snowblower? Always use the fuel type recommended by the manufacturer. Typically, a snowblower requires unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 87.
  3. Can I use a fuel additive to prevent fuel-related problems? Yes, using a fuel stabilizer can help prevent fuel-related issues such as stale fuel or fuel separation during storage.
  4. Why does my snowblower’s engine smoke while running? Engine smoke can be caused by several factors, including an overfilled oil reservoir, burning off residual oil, or worn engine components. If the problem persists, consult a professional.
  5. How can I prevent my snowblower from clogging with snow? Ensure the auger and chute are clear of snow and ice before each use. Spray a non-stick lubricant on the auger and chute to help prevent snow from sticking and clogging the machine.