My Snow Blower Won’t Stay Running (Solved)


A snow blower is an essential tool during Winter. This is a season when snow falls in all directions and accumulates, blocking roads, footpaths, railways, or driveways. Despite all its great benefits as a snow moving tool, there are times when a snow blower won’t stay running.

There are many reasons why a snow blower won’t stay running. For some, it could be a clogged carburetor; for others, it could be the spark plug. Snow blowers can also stop running due to clogged fuel caps, overfilled engine oil, or old/unconditioned gasoline in the tank.

Read on to find out more about what could cause your snow blower to stop working. Knowing what the problem is is the first and most important step in getting your snow blower moving those white mounds of winter accumulations.

Why Does My Snow Blower Not Stay Running? 

There are several reasons why your snow blower does not stay running. Since the snow blower is majorly used for clearing snow, this means it can remain inactive for a long time. Over storage periods, things can go wrong. So, why does a snow blower not stay running?

Snow blowers can refuse to stay running for several reasons. They can come from a lack of maintenance, defect, or improper storage:

  • A clogged carburetor
  • Old or defective spark plug
  • Clogged gas caps can cause snow blowers not to run
  • Overfilled engine oil

If you do not service your snow blower regularly during its inactive period, this can cause it to malfunction. 

Here we should look a little more in depth at some of the possible reasons why your snow blower does not stay running. 

Clogged Carburetor

A clogged carburetor can cause your snow blower to stop running. When fuel stays in the snow blower for too long, it thickens. The thickened fuel becomes sticky and difficult to flow, which can clog the carburetor. 

Fuel flows through the carburetor to the engine, and a clogged carburetor can cause the engine to stall. If this is the case, take out the old fuel and clean the carburetor.

Get a carburetor cleaner for this purpose. You can replace the carburetor if cleaning does not work. I recommend this simple and easy fix in the form of a fuel additive. It saves taking apart engine sections if used before the problem gets too bad. Here is a link to Amazon: STA-BIL Fast Fix – Small Engine Treatment, Cleans Carburetors and Injectors

To determine if the fault is from the carburetor, simply check the content of the carburetor bowl. Change or clean the carburetor if it is dirty and starting to rust. 

Here are the steps on how to check your carburetor:

  • Turn off the gas tap. This is to prevent the gas from flowing any further. 
  • Get a rag and place it under the carburetor bowl.
  • Loosen the bowl fastener; this would allow you to easily removable the gas bowl. 
  • Remove the bowl. 
  • Clean your carburetor if you notice grit in the gas bowl. 

Spark Plug

Your snow blower would not run, or at least for long, if the spark plug is defective. A significant crack on the porcelain insulator indicates that the spark plug is broken and needs replacing.

Get a spark plug tester if you are not certain about the health of the spark plug. The spark plug would give off a strong spark once it comes in contact with the terminals of the tester.  Ensure to turn on the blower’s engine during this process.  Replace the spark plug if you do not observe any spark.

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Clogged Fuel Cap

Air needs to flow in and out of the fuel tank. The fuel tank has a vent that allows air to pass through. A clogged fuel cap will hinder the flow of air. 

The engine of the snow blower needs air and fuel to function. If air can longer pass through the fuel cap, neither does fuel. Lack of air and fuel can stall the blower. Test the fuel cap to determine its condition. Replace the clogged fuel cap with a good one. 

Engine Oil

Another reason why your snow blower does not stay running could be an overflow of engine oil. The engine oil disrupts the function of the carburetor when they come in contact with each other. 

A leak could occur when you overfill the engine oil. To prevent this from happening, pour in only the required amount of oil. Also, take out the carburetor and clean it thoroughly. 

Why Does My Snow Blower Stall When the Auger Is Engaged?

As I mentioned earlier, a clogged or dirty carburetor would limit the flow of fuel to the engine. The engine might manage to get by with a limited fuel supply, but it would demand more once the auger is engaged. 

The engine would stall if it does not get adequate fuel, and this is called fuel starvation. Inadequate fuel supply to the engine also leads to insufficient supply of air (lean condition). 

Although fuel starvation is the primary cause of stalling when the auger is engaged, other possible reasons exist. 

Auger Brake

A defective auger break can cause your snow blower to stall when it is engaged. The auger has a brake attached to it, and once you release the handlebar, the brake would immediately stop the auger from running. 

If this process does not run smoothly, your snow blower would stall. You can check your auger brake by following the steps below.

  • Turn off the gas. This is a necessary safety precaution to help protect yourself from harm.
  • Cover the gas tank with a plastic bag. Take off the cap of the gas tank, place a plastic bag over it then close properly. This is to prevent the gas from spilling when the blower is bent over. 
  • Tilt the blower so the auger face upwards. 
  • Take off the belly pan. The belly pan protects the auger; so, take it off to access the auger. 
  • Switch on the auger lever. While the auger is still on, check out the condition of the auger brake. 
  • Adjust the auger brake if it is not well fitted.

Gas Starvation

Gas starvation occurs when ethanol present in the gas evaporates, and the gas becomes sticky and clogs the carburetor.  

There are two ways to prevent this from happening in the future. You can either drain the gas in the blower after the last use or add a gas stabilizer.

What Is a Gas Stabilizer?

A gas stabilizer will prevent the ethanol in the gas from evaporating. Gas becomes sticky once the ethanol is gone. 

Therefore, if the ethanol remains intact, so does the gas. 

The gas stabilizer is a simple chemical additive; it is easy to use and does not cause any harm to the engine.

To apply, shake the can for a few seconds, then add 1 or 2 oz to an entire gallon of gas. Turn on the machine and run the engine for some minutes, and there you have it.

I recommend the STA-BIL Storage Fuel Stabilizer found on Amazon for this. I have used the brand and it is one of the most trusted in the industry.

How Do I Keep My Snow Blower Running?

There are several ways to ensure that your snow removal toy… err… tool is ready for use whenever Old Man Winter decides to lay a carpet of white on your lawn, walks, and drive. Keeping a snow blower running comes down to two important aspects: storage and maintenance.

To keep a snow blower running proper storage is necessary which includes draining engine fuel, adding fuel stabilizers to fuels to be kept until the next season, and covering the snow blower in a dry place away from the elements. Maintenance is also key during winter snow seasons.

Here is a short list of some of the things needed for snow blower longevity.

  • Keep engine oil changed and to the proper levels.
  • Keep carburetors clean or even replaced if they become defective.
  • Replace old sparkplugs and keep them free from debris and buildup.
  • Ensure that only new or properly conditioned fuel is used.
  • Inspect systems like the auger brake to ensure proper function.
  • Drain fuel from snow blowers before stored.
  • Use covers to keep out dust and debris from blower engines.
  • Secure snow blowers in dry storage areas away from the elements.

Final Touches On Snow Blowers That Won’t Stay Running…

To keep your snow blower running smoothly, constant vigilance and care are usually needed. We all know stories of those that have working machinery for many years that claim they, ‘never touched it’.

These stories are exceptions and one thing about exceptions, they are rare and we usually see the rule in reality. Regular maintenance and proper storage is the key to a well functioning snow blower.

Hopefully if you are having problems with your snow blower, this information has set you on the right path to finding and fixing the problem. Once your machine is up and running again… have fun playing… uh… working in the snow!

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Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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