Snow Blower Fuel System Problems and Prevention

A group of three shear pins Your gasoline can go bad if it is not treated. Bad gas can lead to performance problems and failures.

Your Snow Blower Won't Start

Did you treat the fuel with a good stabilizer? Probably not. The reason you should treat the fuel in your snow blower is that today’s gasoline only has a 30-day shelf life. This is due to the mandates placed by the government requiring oxygenation.

After approximately 30 days the aromatic parts of the gas have evaporated enough to cause no starts, poor starts, poor performance, and could even cause engine damage. The base of the gas that is left turns into gum and varnish that leaves deposits in the carburetor plugging essential passages. It can also leave deposits on the intake valve stem causing it to hang up, not close properly, or not close at all.

A gasoline additive such as Stabil helps to extend the life of your fuel and prevent deposits in the snow blower engine's parts.

Extend Gasoline Storage Life

If you have gasoline that is 30 days old or older, discard it. There is no way to renew it. The only way to extend its life is by adding a good stabilizer immediately after buying it.

Easy Steps to Prevent Fuel-Related Problems

Most fuel-related problems can be avoided by following a few simple steps.

  1. The right gasoline. Honda recommends gasoline containing no more than 10% ethanol because higher levels of ethanol is corrosive, attracts water, and can cause starting or running problems. Jacks suggests using the lowest possible ethanol level gasoline you can find, although it is hard to come by, to avoid possible damage to the internal components.
  2. Proper fuel storage. Store gasoline in a plastic container approved for gasoline storage. Tightly close the container when not in use and store the container away from direct sunlight. A clean, plastic container designed to store fuel will prevent rust and metallic contaminants from entering the fuel system. Untreated (without fuel stabilizer) fuel that is over 30 days old should not be used.
  3. Empty the carburetor. When you’re finished using your snow blower (during the season), turn the fuel valve OFF, then start the engine and allow it to run until the engine runs out of fuel. The small amount of fuel in a snowblower carburetor will deteriorate faster than the fuel in the fuel tank due to its small volume and proximity to residual engine heat. The fuel valve allows you to stop the fuel flow from the fuel tank to the carburetor for storing and transporting. Fill the fuel tank after each use (instead of before each use). If the fuel tank is partially filled, air in the tank can promote fuel deterioration.
  4. Using fuel stabilizer. We suggest adding a fuel stabilizer to the fuel when you first fill your fuel storage container at the start of the season and upon each refill. Gasoline that lacks stabilizer additive, when left in the snow blower’s fuel system, can deteriorate quickly, causing starting or running problems and may damage the fuel system. Fuel stabilizer is an easy and inexpensive way to prevent starting and running problems.

End of Season Snow Blower Storage

Drain all the gasoline from the fuel system (including the fuel tank) by following the instructions in the owner’s manual. Do not allow gasoline (with or without stabilizer) to remain in your snow blower/snowthrower for more than 90 days of inactivity. Gasoline left in the snow blower’s tank during the off-season will deteriorate, causing starting or running problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system.

How to Dispose of Unused Snow Blower Fuel

If you are wondering what to do with your left over, end of season gasoline, the EPA suggests adding it to your car's gas tank (http://epa.gov/reg5oair/mobile/winter.html).

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