How Do You Clean The Fuel Tank On A Snowblower?

Dirty or bad gas is a common complaint, removing grit from the fuel system can be a pain in the ass. Some gas tanks aren’t easily accessible and for those types of situations, I have just the tool.

There are 3 common ways to clean a snowblower gas tank, they include:

  1. Drain the gas tank
  2. Removing gas tank
  3. Use siphon to clean tank

In this post you’ll learn how I drain gas tanks quickly and mess-free in the workshop. But we’ll cover all the ways to drain the gas tank.

1 Draining Snowblower Gas Tank

Draining the gas tank isn’t the most efficient way of cleaning the tank but on the upside, it generally doesn’t require many tools and it’s pretty easy to do.

Use the following steps to guide you through the process:

Snow blower Gas off

Turn Gas “Off” – Most snowblower engines are fitted with a gas tap. If your engine is fitted with a tap it will be located between the gas tank and the carburetor.

Turning the tap cuts the fuel and that’s really useful when draining the gas tank.

If your engine doesn’t have a tap fitted, use a clamp or gently pinch the gas line using a small Vice Grips.

carb covers

Remove – Many need to remove plastic carburetor housing covers to gain access to the fuel line.

Gas line clamp

Remove – Remove the fuel line from the carburetor. Use needlenose pliers to slide the clamp up the line.

Gas line off

Twist & Pull – To remove the line.

Gas tank draining

Drain – Place the end of the fuel line inside a suitable container and turn gas “On”.

Drain the tank completely, and add fresh gas to the tank to rinse through the line.

Check – Check the tank for residue or rust particles. Use a long screwdriver with grease on the tip to collect debris from the tank base.

Inline filter

Replace Gas filter – Many manufacturers use a bottle-type filter which is easy to identify, however, some engines employ a filter inside the gas line at the tank end.

Remove, clean, and refit if applicable.

Refit – Refit gas line and refit carburetor housing covers.

It’s advisable to drain the carburetor bowl also, although all engines will have some type of gas filter fitted, grit still makes it through to the bowl.

How To Drain Snowblower Carburetor Bowl

Some snowblower gas bowl draining is easy as the manufacturers fit a convenient bowl drain bolt. However many don’t and that means we’ll need to remove the bowl in order to drain it. The problem with removing older gas bowls is the bowl seal, they become brittle with age are may leak after refitting.

If you are that soldier, you’ll need to replace the bowl seal.

To clean the bowl follow these steps:

Begin by turning the gas tap off.

Bowl Drain Type – Remove the bowl drain bolt on left to conveniently drain the contents of the bowl.

Bowl fastener

No Bowl Drain – This is a bowl fastener.

Carburetor gas bowl

Locate – Located the bowl at the base of the carburetor

Bowl removal

Remove – Remove the bowl fastener and have some rags handy for small fuel spill

Bowl clean

Clean – Clean grit from the bowl and rinse with fresh gas

Snow blower carb bowl removal

Refit – Position the bowl, careful not to pinch the bowl seal.

Tighten the fastener, but not too tight.

Turn gas on and check for leaks. If the bowl leaks, loosen and retighten the bowl fastener. Old carburetor gaskets often leak after being disturbed, so if the leak persists, go ahead and order a new bowl seal and bowl fastener gasket.

2 Removing Snowblower Gas Tank

Removing the gas tank to clean it is likely the most amount of work, but hey it’s a snowblower it’s not so difficult to work on. Nevertheless, you may need a few tools depending on how well concealed your gas tank is.

More modern snowblowers employ a ton of covers and so obviously they’ll need to be removed first. Generally, in the workshop, I don’t remove gas tanks unless there’s a problem. I find I can clean the tank pretty well with the tank in place. That said, I’ll describe the removal process briefly.

Gas off

Gas “Off” – Turn gas off or clamp the gas line between the tap and the gas tank.

Engine gas tank cover

Remove – Remove covers to access the gas tank.

Gas tank fasteners

Locate – Locate the gas tank fasteners usually 3 or 4.

Gas line

Position – Position the tank so s to access the gas line.

Loosen gas line clamp

Remove – Remove the gas line from the tap (If fitted) otherwise remove it from the carburetor. Use pliers to move the clamp.

Loosen gas line

Twist & Pull – Twist and pull the gas line to loosen.

Drain gas tank

Drain – Drain the gas tank into a suitable container by removing the fuel line clamp.

Rinse the tank with fresh gas and shake it upside down to remove debris.

Now go ahead and rebuild in reverse order. It’s advisable to drain and clean the gas bowl to complete the fuel system repair. (Covered previously)

3 Siphoning Snowblower Gas Tank

This is the preferred method, why? Because it’s so easy. The downside is, it requires a specialized tool – an oil/gas siphon. This tool isn’t expensive and if you do your own maintenance, you’ll find a ton of uses for it. It just saves me a ton of labor and it’s mess-free. Its long flexible hose can fit around corners of gas tanks and reach into a crankcase to remove oil.

You’ll find the tool I recommend on the “Snowblower tools page” or check out the Amazon link below.

Amazon Oil and Gas Siphon

The process looks like this:

Syphon old gas

Siphon – Open the gas cap and using just an LED light (no spark risk) and the siphon, I empty the gas tank.

The siphon will lift grit and larger debris will stick to the siphon hose.

Rinse – Add a small amount of fresh gas and siphon again.

Easy right? You’ll still need to clean the gas bowl though, some bowls do have a handy drain bolt, but I find it doesn’t remove the grit from the bowl. No substitute for removing and cleaning the bowl completely. (covered above)

Using Gas Stabilizer In Snowblower

I advise all my customers to use gas stabilizers. It is especially important to engines that spend a good deal of time sitting idle. Blended gas is the issue. The ethanol blend tends to damage the rubber and plastic components of the fuel system in addition ethanol goes stale pretty quickly.

When ethanol goes off it gummies up the fuel system and that can be difficult and expensive to fix. These types of problems are easy to sidestep, but you’ll need to use a gas stabilizer. It’s a fuel additive specially formulated to protect the plastic and rubber components and also to keep the gas fresh.

How To Mix Gas Stabilizer

Gas stabilizer

Mixing is easy, remembering to use it at the end of the season is the hard part.

You can of course decide to use it all season and that’s fine, however, most only use it before storing their kit at the season’s end. It works great in all small engines 2 and 4 strokes.

Check out the video “Adding gas stabilizer”.

Each manufacturer has its own ratio, I use a brand named Sta-bill. I mix 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) of stabilizer to one gallon of gas. l shake the can and add it to all my small engine kit. The engines do need to run a while to work the treated gas throughout the fuel system.

This stuff works, it only costs a few dollars but will save you time, money, and stress. You can find the stabilizer I use here on the “Snowblower maintenance tools page”.  You’re welcome!