Snow Blower Ran Out Of Gas Now won’t Start

Running out of gas partway through the job is irritating enough. But a no start, that’s no fun in the snow. But don’t panic just yet, I think you can fix this easily.

Two common causes of a no-start snowblower after running out of gas include:

  1. Air locked fuel system
  2. Dirt in carburetor

In this post, you’ll learn how to diagnose a no-start snowblower after running out of gas, and you’ll also learn how you can fix it right now!

1 Air Locked Snowblower Fuel System

Air-locked fuel systems can happen when the system runs dry. Air locking means the fuel isn’t moving from the gas tank to the carburetor because there’s a bubble of air holding the gas back. It usually happens after running out of gas but not filling the tank right up. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen with a full tank.

But the weight of a full gas tank certainly helps push the gas through the line, forcing the trapped air out.

Diagnosis & Repair

No real diagnosis is needed. The fix is simple and takes but a moment if it works great! You’re back, moving snow. Note to access the carburetor. You may need to remove some covers.

Steps as follows:

Snowblower gas cap

  • Remove gas cap
  • Tapping on carb bowl

  • Use a screwdriver handle to tap gently on the carburetor bowl
  • Attempt snowblower start

  • Attempt to start the engine
  • If that doesn’t work, draining the gas bowl will. Gas bowl draining is covered below.

    2 Dirty Snow Blower Carburetor

    Running out of gas is a common occurrence, and in most cases, re-gassing the tank gets you back to work. However, running out of gas causes the carburetor to drain the bottom of the gas tank, and that, as you can imagine, is where any crap that falls into the tank collects. It’s a long-winded way of saying I think your carb may be filled with crap from the gas tank.

    Diagnosis & Repair

    Take a look inside your gas tank. Finding evidence of grit at the bottom tank does increase the odds we are correct in our suspicions. Next, we’ll need to drain the carburetor gas bowl. Draining the gas bowl isn’t difficult on most snow blowers. The manufacturers make it easy. They place a small drain bolt, removing it drains the bowl.

    Draining the bowl will often drain off any grit that has entered the carburetor. However, you should know that if this doesn’t work, a carburetor cleaning may be needed. Before attempting carburetor work, use disposable gloves, eye protection, and work in a ventilated area.

    Check the bowl draining video here, it’s a mower, but the process is identical.

    Drain the bowl as follows:

    Gas off

  • Turn the gas tap off
  • engine covers

  • Locate the carburetor gas bowl
  • (may require removing some covers)

    Snowblower carburetor

  • Place rags under the bowl
  • Bowl drain

  • Remove the drain bolt at the side of the bowl (not a base of bowl) Allow the gas to drain out
  • Bowl drain

  • Turn the gas tap on for just a few seconds to flush
  • Pull start engine

  • Refit the drain bolt, turn the gas on and attempt start
  • Carburetor Bowl Cleaning

    If the engine still won’t start, go ahead and remove and clean the carburetor bowl. When cleaning the carburetor bowl, you’ll need a carburetor cleaner and a wire brush. You’ll find all you need here on the “Snowblower maintenance tools page” or check out the Amazon carburetor cleaner link below.

    Amazon Carburetor CleanerOpens in a new tab.

    Check the bowl cleaning video here, it’s a mower, but the process is identical.

    Clean the carburetor bowl as follows:

    • Turn gas tap off
    Fit bowl

  • Remove gas bowl bolt
  • Bowl clean

  • Remove bowl and check for grit
  • Carb cleaning

  • Direct the spray carb cleaner straw into the emulsion tube
  • Fuel feed jet

  • Clean the bowl bolt (jet type – use wire brush strand)
  • Bowl seal

  • Refit the bowl – careful not to pinch the bowl seal
  • Snow blower carb bowl removal

  • Refit the bowl bolt and snug it up, careful not to overtighten
  • Older carburetor bowl seals commonly leak after being disturbed. If that’s the case, replace both the bowl seal and the bolt fastener gasket.

    If neither gas bowl draining nor cleaning helped, then we’ll need to go elbows deep. The carburetor needs to be removed and cleaned. I’ve covered that in this post previously. It references a mower carburetor, but know that the process is identical – “Mower carburetor cleaning”, or check out the carburetor cleaning video here.