Today I fixed a snowblower for a neighbor. It had been broken for 3 years and wouldn’t start. This is a common issue with small engine equipment like lawn mowers and such. When you leave the gas setting in the gas tank during the offseason it goes bad and often clogs up the carburetor. Most people don’t realize that gasoline has a pretty short shelf life which is only about 3 months. Certainly 9 months of sitting around it is usually a problem that complicates life.

After the fact, the only solution is to take the carburetor apart and clean it. If you take it to a shop it can cost a fair penny and often these shops are backed up so it may take a while to get your equipment fixed. Why is that? As I said most people don’t realize that gasoline has a short shelf life and lots of people have the same problem as you.

What would it take to make life simple with regard to our yard machines? Well, it doesn’t take very much really. The main thing is to make sure to run all the gas out of it before you store it for the off-season. If there is a lot of gas left in the tank you might want to get a small tube and siphon out as much as you can from the gas tank first and then start up the machine and run out the remaining gas. You can get gas stabilizer at the hardware store that extends the life of gasoline but I still would not trust these to last over 6 months.

One more thing you should know is that ethanol gasoline is bad for small engines. If you are not careful ethanol gas can also leave you with a clogged up carburetor. Again fuel stabilizers can help neutralize the ethanol problem but my personal preference is to ONLY use ethanol-free gasoline. It is a little hard to find ethanol-free gas in my area but I have found a couple of gas stations around my area that have one of their pumps setup for ethonal-free gas. You may have to look around a bit.

If it is too late and you already have a non-starting machine, I suggest you take a couple of hours and search for some good youtube videos. Search for the model number first. If that doesn’t work, look for the brand and model name. Even if you can’t find information about your particular model you can often find a video on a model that is close enough. I suggest watching 2 or 3 as I often pick up useful tips this way and that helps me to avoid complications.

Of course, if fixing stuff is not your thing, you can try your luck at the local repair shop. It may be a hard lesson but at least you know how to simplify your life for next year.

Here is the first link I used for fixing the Ariens Snow-Tek blower today. And this is the other. Keep it simple!

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