Keys to Snowblower Motor Repair

Man removing snow after storm with a snowblower.
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Sprocket ratchet set
Spark plug
Spark plug gap gauge
Air filter
Fuel Filter
Owners manual
Starting fluid
Electrical contact cleaning spray
Container for fuel
Clean cloth
Motor oil two-cycle

There are 6 inches of snow on the ground and your snowblower motor needs to be repaired. What to do? Do not panic. From time to time any internal combustion engine will need to be repaired. Follow these steps and you will be out in the cold in no time throwing snow.

Step 1 - Drain Fuel

If the snowblower has been sitting since last year and does not start, first drain the old fuel. If it has been sitting for some time, throw it away. Once fuel sits it becomes unstable and begins to break down and will either burn poorly or not at all. Always use fresh gasoline. If this is, indeed, the first time attempting to run the snowblower since last winter, the fuel is no good. This could be your first and, hopefully, only problem. Siphon the fuel out of the tank into an appropriate container. Refill the tank with fresh fuels as instructed in the owner’s manual.

Step 2 - Add Drygas (or an equal)

If the fuel you are using does not contain any ethanol, add Drygas or another fuel additive to keep any moisture in the tank (water) from freezing. If ethanol is present, do not use an additive since ethanol does the same function. The ethanol will keep the moisture from freezing and will allow it to escape the combustion chamber along with exhaust fumes.

Step 3 - Always Use Seasonal Fuel

In areas that experience diverse climate changes, retailers usually put additives in the fuel for sale that helps compensate for temperature changes. Therefore, always use fuel purchased in the winter for operating your snowblower.

Step 4 - Inspect Spark Plug

Inspect the spark plug. Worn plugs need to usually be replaced. If not possible, clean the old one by wiping it off with a clean cloth. Once clean, remove any grit and deposits left on the electrode by using a fine grit piece of sandpaper. Slide the paper back and forth in the gap between the electrodes. Use an electrical spray cleaner as well, wiping it dry. Use a can of compressed air to blow away any debris. Reinstall the spark plug being careful to not overtighten it.

Step 5 - Air Filter

Check the air filter. If it is dirty or clogged, vacuum it. If it is stained, replace it. A clogged air filter will not allow air to enter the carburetor or the combustion chamber and will cause difficult starts, rough operating and black exhaust. Fortunately, snowblower air filters can be used much longer than a lawnmower due to less dirt, grass, leaves, pollen, and another debris present during wintertime.

Step 6 - Fuel Filter

Replace the fuel filter each season before using the machine for the first time. It can easily get clogged with ice that has long melted when stored for the spring, summer, and fall.

Step 7 - Starter Fluid

Apply starter fluid to the air intake. Be careful when using it. It is highly inflammable. If these steps have been carefully followed, your snowblower should start and operate properly.