Why Is My Snow Blower Leaking Gas? (Comprehensively) Solved!

Dripping gas

Stepping into your garage and seeing puddles of gas on the floor is naturally concerning.

Even more so if it is obvious they are coming from a machine, not a spilled gas can.

And if that machine is a snow blower and you are in a rush to clear snow, then your worries might be amplified.

Here we take a look at all the possible reasons your snow blower is leaking gas.

So let’s get started.

Why Is My Snow Blower Leaking Gas?

Typically when a snow blower is leaking gas it is an issue with the float and/or the needle and seat in the carburetor. They regulate the gas flow into the carburetor and if anything is faulty with them, too much gas will be allowed through and it will begin to leak out of the carburetor. If the problem isn’t here, then check the fuel system.

Reason #1: You Tipped It Up 

Before we go too deeply into the mechanical ins and outs that could cause your snow blower to leak gas have a quick think about whether you have tipped it up or over at any point recently.

Maybe you had to replace a shear pin, or clear some ice from the auger?

It is quite possible that gas leaked out of the fuel cap or float bowl when it was tipped.

If you need to tilt your snow blower for any reason always try and put it in the service position. That is lifting the handles straight up so the auger is closest to the ground.

That will avoid any spills.

If you think this might be the case just clear the gas, use it and return it to its normal place when done. If there are no signs of gas the next day then you are good to go!

Reason #2: There Is An Issue With the Carburetor

Generally speaking, if your snow blower is leaking gas, then there is a problem with the carburetor.

And digging down further you will usually find there is a float and/or a needle and seat problem.

In a carburetor, the needle and seat control the flow of fuel coming into the carburetor.

Think of it as a simple valve. When the needle is pressed into the seat it shuts off the flow of fuel into the carburetor.

The position of the needle and seat is controlled by a float which is in the float bowl. The float is attached to a lever with the needle and seat situated on one end of the lever.

That means when the level of fuel in the float bowl rises, the float will rise with it until it presses the needle into the seat and shuts off the flow of fuel into the float bowl.

Then when the fuel level in the float bowl drops, the needle will come out of the seat and allow more fuel into the carburetor’s float bowl.

That is how they work together to regulate the flow of fuel into the carburetor.

If any part of this setup is malfunctioning it means the fuel does not get shut off and will flood into the float bowl, and the most likely result is that carburetor of your snow blower will be leaking gas.

So let’s take a closer look at how these parts of the carburetor could go wrong.

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Reason #2A: A Needle and Seat Problem

If a snow blower’s carburetor is leaking gas, you often have to look no further than a stuck open needle and seat.

This can happen for a variety of reasons. Often dust/dirt or varnish can get lodged on the needle meaning it can’t sit properly in the seat.

Sometimes it can be such a small amount it isn’t even visible to the naked eye, but it can hold the needle off of the seat enough to allow gas through.

You will need to disassemble the carburetor and try soaking the needle in carb cleaner overnight or gently rubbing it with fine steel wool.

It is also worth cleaning and polishing the cavity where the needle should sit.

If this doesn’t stop it, you might need a new needle and seat. You can buy these online in a carb rebuild kit.

You should also examine the needle to make sure it isn’t broken or deformed.

Carburetors tend to either have a metal needle with a rubber tip or a full metal needle with a rubber seat.

It is possible that the rubber tip on the needle could be damaged or missing. Again you will need to buy a replacement needle.

Finally check the seat the needle sits in.

It might be damaged or deformed, or not installed properly (the grooved side of the seat should go downwards).

Again if this is the case it will need replacing.

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Reason #2B: A Float Problem

Man using snow blower

Sometimes the float itself can be the problem. 

The float can get ‘gas logged’. This is where a tiny hole allows fuel into the float, which can cause it to not function and not seat the needle effectively.

Shake the float and if you hear sloshing inside, you know there is fluid in there and a new float is in order.

A faulty float presents the same problems as a faulty needle and seat, too much fuel will be allowed into the carburetor.

Occasionally the float can stick as well. If you suspect that is the case you will need to disassemble the carburetor and find out what is causing it.

Again you might need to rebuild or replace the carburetor.

Reason #2C: A Float Bowl Problem

The float bowl is, in essence, a very tiny gas tank. 

Fuel is stored here before being pulled into the airflow entering the engine.

It is less common, but if you’ve examined the needle and seat and the float, and they don’t appear to be faulty then the float bowl itself could be the cause of your snow blower’s carburetor leaking gas.

They can corrode and rot out, so look for any evidence of this and replace it if necessary.

Reason #2D: A Worn Gasket

Sometimes leaking gas can be as simple as a worn-out gasket in the carburetor.

The gaskets take quite a bit of punishment when a small engine is at work, going from cold to hot and back again.

Inspect the gaskets between the base of the carb and the bowl and if they look worn replace them.

Reason #3: There Is An Issue With the Fuel System

Fuel gauge

If your carburetor is not the cause then the problem most likely lies somewhere within the fuel system.

There are a few areas to check:

Reason #3A: Check the Fuel Shut-Off Valves

The fuel valves, found at the bottom of the fuel tank, can fail.

If they crack or wear, then naturally gas will leak out of your snowblower.

Check and replace if necessary.

Reason #3B: Check the Fuel Lines

The fuel lines coming out of the gas tank can crack or wear.

Again check and replace if necessary

Reason #3C: Check the Fuel Pump

The constant presence of gas can cause the fuel pump to deteriorate over a long period of time.

Check for cracks or holes in the fuel pump and replace if needed.

Reason #3D: Check the Fuel Filter

The fuel filter attaches to the fuel tank and stops dirt and rust from getting into the gas.

If you have left gas sitting in your snow blower for a long period of time, it can degrade the fuel filter and might contribute to gasoline leaks.

Replace if this is the case.

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Reason #3E: Check the Fuel Tank

If your fuel tank degrades, then the most obvious result will be a fuel leak.

Inspect your tank for any cracks or rust holes and repair or replace if you find any.

Reason #3F: Check the Fuel Cap

If the gas cap isn’t sealing properly when you close it, then gas can leak out of it whilst you are snow-blowing.

If the seal is slightly cracked no notable presence of leaking gas might be visible but you might smell the gas that has evaporated around the leaking area.

Reason #4: It Has Been Primed Too Much

When you push the primer bulb on your snow blower you are pumping air into the fuel bowl to pressurize it.

This will force fuel through the main jet and into the throat of the carburetor to help the engine start.

If you push the primer bulb too much it will cause gas to leak out of the carburetor until it has been running for a short period, when it will dry up.

Final Thoughts

Why Is My Snow Blower Leaking Gas infographic

If your snow blower is leaking gas it is, more often than not a problem with the needle and seat or the float.

Between them, they regulate the flow of gas into the carburetor, so if they are faulty in any way they won’t be able to do their job properly and you will find the carburetor of your snow blower leaking gas.

The good news is a new carburetor or a carburetor rebuild kit isn’t too expensive.

Looking at the carburetor first, and if everything seems fine there then it could be a problem with the fuel system.

If there are no faults there then it is probably user error! You tipped the snow blower on its side to do some maintenance or primed it too much.

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