So your snow blower won’t start.
It is cold, the snow is coming down fast and you just want to get it going as soon as possible
Now there could be a whole number of reasons why it isn’t starting, but for now, you just want a quick solution.
The name starter fluid hints at the job it does.
But where do you spray starter fluid on a snow blower?
And equally importantly, should you use it?
Let’s find out…
Where Do You Spray Starter Fluid On A Snow Blower?
If you are going to use starter fluid to kick an unresponsive snow blower into life, then you can spray it either into the air intake or into the spark plug hole. Be aware however that excess and long-term use of starter fluid is not good, as it is a harsh, dry chemical that can strip small engines of lubrication.
A Word of Caution About Using Starter Fluid
Before we go into the ins and outs of where you spray starter fluid on a snow blower, it is important to note that starter fluid is a very dry chemical, that is tough on engines.
It is ok to use it to try and diagnose a fuel problem, or to get your snow blower running in an emergency, but regular use of it is not a good idea.
The main issue is that it is mostly Diethyl Ether.
Diethyl Ether has a very low boiling point, so as soon as there is the slightest heat to get the fuel in the carburetor to flash and burn the starting fluid evaporates.
It can cause severe backlash and strip the oil off of the cranks and cylinder walls.
I know of people who have lost connecting rods and had holes blown in their pistons as a result of using starter fluid on their snow blower.
It is particularly harsh on two-stroke engines and should never be used on small precombustion-type diesel engines, only try it on carbureted gasoline engines.
If you live in a particularly cold climate, where starting your snow blower after a season in storage is difficult, consider adding a block heater.
Other options are using carb cleaner or brake parts cleaner. These have a higher flashpoint and reduce the risk of damage to your machine.
That said, if you only have starter fluid, if used sparingly and correctly it can get your engine started, or at least help you diagnose where any problems starting it might lay.
And if you are having trouble starting your snow blower, we have outlined seven possible reasons for that in another blog post.
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Where To Spray Starter Fluid On Snowblower Position #1: The Air Intake
Once you have located the air intake on your snow blower, you just need to give it a couple of sprays of starter fluid and no more than that.
The position of the air intake may vary from snow blower to snow blower, but it is usually located somewhere in one of the following positions:
- Under a plastic cover near the choke lever.
- Just above the carburetor float bowl (as is the case in the video above).
You might need to remove a cover to access it, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to get to.
When you have sprayed the starter fluid into the air intake, start your snow blower up.
If it starts and runs fine, then the problem is solved.
But if it starts and runs for a few seconds and then stops, this shows you have spark and compression, and there is a fuel problem.
Think about how long the fuel has been in the machine. It could be stale gas that has gummed up the carburetor.
If that might be the case, then drain the fuel and put in fresh clean fuel and see if the snow blower will then start.
Bad gas can also clog up the carburetor. Check the carburetor float bowl for any debris and clean it if necessary.
You may also need to thoroughly clean the carburetor itself with carb cleaning spray as the main jet could be clogged up.
It will often be old gas and/or a clogged carburetor or fuel system that is at the root of the issue when it comes to a snow blower not starting.
Where To Spray Starter Fluid On Snowblower Position #2: The Spark Plug Hole
The other option is to spray starter fluid into the spark plug hole, as shown in the video above.
So remove the shroud to give you access to the spark plug, remove the cable from the back of the plug and unscrew the plug and spray the starter fluid into the hole.
Again use just a couple of sprays.
This is also a good time to check the condition of the spark plugs, as often a quick and easy fix to a starting problem is to replace the spark plugs.
If they look wet and/or fouled from fuel, swap them out for new spark plugs.
After resembling everything try and start your snow blower.
Again if it runs fine, the problem is solved.
If it runs and stops within 30 seconds or so, then there is a problem with either a clogged carburetor or fuel system, or your gas has gone stale and needs to be replaced.
Whatever happens, you should not be using starter fluid on a regular basis to kick your snow blower into life.
For the reasons outlined at the top of this article, it will do more harm than good.
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In short, there are two places you can spray starter fluid on a snow blower in an attempt to get it going.
- The air intake.
- The spark plug hole.
However long-term and excessive use of starter fluid is not good for any small engine, it will remove the cylinder lubrication and can cause backlash.
It should be used as something of a last resort, and to diagnose if there is a problem with the fuel system.
A better option is you use car cleaner or brake parts cleaner instead.
Or even better, read our article on how to keep your snow blower running!