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6 Steps for Snow Blower Survival

11/19/2013 6:00:00 AM

It’s here. This time of the year means one of two things: fluffy white landscapes reflecting a season of merriment or months of wet blizzards with blinding, wind-driven snow. Whatever your feelings about winter, you don’t want to get caught in the storm unprepared.

If you’re notorious for waiting until the last minute and wake up one day to strong winds, flurries and freezing rain, here’s a quick emergency survival guide for a snow blower that won’t start. Start from the top of the list and move down until any snow equipment problem is remedied.

Check Fuel Tank

Look to see if it is low or empty. When gasoline is stored over a long period of time and no fuel stabilizer is added, it loses volatility. As gasoline ages it turns into a varnish like coating in the carburetor, blocking fuel from the engine and preventing start.

If this occurs, take your Sno-Thro to your local Ariens servicing dealer to clean your carburetor or replace it.  


If the fuel is from last winter, summer, or fall season and/or no fuel stabilizer was added before storage, drain the system through the carburetor. Once drained, pour in known fresh fuel (purchased within 30 days) and a fuel stabilizer.

Check Fuel Shutoff Valve

Check if the engine switch is in the OFF position. If it is, turn the switch to the ON position.

Check Engine Switch

Many of the engines on Ariens Sno-Thro units have a “key switch” and a red toggle switch.  Ensure that the red plastic key is properly inserted into the holder and the red toggle switch is in the “run” position.  If either is not in the correct position, the engine will not fire causing the chance of flooding.

Check Choke Position     
Check the choke position; turn to ON position for cold engine starts. Always use the choke to start a cold engine, turning to “Full Choke.” Check your Owner's Manual for proper choke positioning.

If the temperature is above 32 degrees, priming the carburetor may flood the engine easily so try only choking the engine.
  • On a Briggs engine: Turn the choke knob all the way Counter-Clockwise for Full Choke (or starting position).
  • On an Ariens AX engine: Turn the choke knob all the way Clockwise for Full Choke

Check Throttle Position
Check the throttle position (if applicable); turn throttle position to at least 3/4 speed.

Check Spark Plug
Check the spark plug for fuel and correct air gap. Remove the spark plug and see if it is wet (this will confirm flooding). If the spark plug is wet, turn the engine over several times without the spark plug installed to help disperse the excess fuel out of the spark plug hole. Clean the spark plug of excess fuel and reset the air gap. Reinstall the cleaned spark plug or replace with a new spark plug. Perform starting procedure again, this time without the choke on.

If all of these items are checked and the unit will not start, take your unit to an Ariens servicing dealer. Take a look at our extended dealer family to Find an Ariens Dealer near you.