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Put a Snowblower on its Side? (do this instead)

By: Author John Cunningham. Published: 2022/09/02 at 6:32 pm

When you need to work on the underside of your snow blower, turning it over on its side is tempting, but wow, there! That can cause problems; there is a better way, and here it is.

Putting a snow blower on its side comes with risks of flooding and oil and gas spills. Snowblowers are designed to be tilted forward onto their bins for maintenance and inspection.

In this post, you’ll learn why putting your snowblower on its side can be problematic. You’ll learn how to work on your snowblower like a pro.

How to up end a Snowblower


Why We Don’t Put Snow Blower on its Side

When we put a snowblower on its side, we run the risk of running into three problems.

  1. Engine flooding
  2. Oiling the spark plug
  3. Oil and gas spill

Let’s take a quick look at each issue and how to fix it.

Engine Flooding

What is engine flooding? As you likely know, flooding is when the engine’s cylinder fills with gas due to tilting the machine the wrong way. Generally, an engine should be tilted with the carburetor side facing upwards. That said, snow blowers are best tilted forward with the handlebars facing upwards.

When the engine floods, it causes two issues: foul the spark plug and causes hydro locking.

What is plug fouling? It’s when the spark plug becomes saturated with gas or oil, preventing it from sparking; no spark means no start.

The fix – Remove the spark plug and clean it with a wire brush. I’ve covered it previously in a video here.

Whats hydro-locking? Hydro-locking is where the cylinder fills with gas, so full, in fact, it prevents the piston from moving.

The fix – Remove the spark plug and turn over the engine to expel the gas. You’ll need to wear eye protection and make this repair outdoors. I’ve covered it previously in a video here.

Oiling The Spark Plug

Snowblower on its side

The engine oil can enter the combustion chamber when we tilt our snow blower to the side. This often results in the oiling of the spark plug and a no-start.

The fix – Remove the spark plug and clean it. We’ll also need to crank over the engine to expel the oil from the cylinder. When started, the engine will blow white smoke, but it will clear. I’ve covered it previously in a video.

As your engine has lost oil, before starting your snow blower, check and add oil if needed.

Oil and Gas Spill

An external oil and gas spill doesn’t create a huge issue for the engine, but do check and add oil before starting the engine.

How to Safely Work on a Snow Blower

To work on your snow blower like a pro, tilt it forward and rest it on its bin. Most snowblowers aren’t that heavy and can easily be manhandled onto their bin with just a little effort. Make sure you are working on a hard-level surface; the garage is obviously best.

If you have a dicky back, don’t be a hero; ask for help!

Belly pan

Resting the snowblower on its bin offers a safe, secure working base and allows access to the drive system once the belly pan is removed.

The snow blower tilting process is as follows:

snow blower resting on bin
  1. Turn gas tap off
  2. Place plastic under gas cap
  3. Grip both handles and lift upwards
  4. Pivot the snowblower forward until it rests on the bin

You are now a pro!

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Sum Up

Turning a snowblower on its side isn’t advisable. It is better to rest a snowblower on its bin; doing so offers a safe and secure base from which to work. You’ll have clear access to the transmission system and wheels when resting on its bin.

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