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8 Reasons Cub Cadet Snowblower Won’t Stay Running

It’s frustrating when you can’t keep your snowblower running, especially when you have a lot of snow to remove. Getting it running again is a priority, not only to get the snow removed but before the snow gets packed down or warms up making it harder to blow snow.

A snowblower won’t stay running due to a clogged fuel line; dirty carburetor; stuck choke or incorrect choke setting; bad fuel cap; dirty spark plug; bad ignition coil; too much engine oil; or old fuel.

Before performing repairs, take all safety precautions as provided in the Cub Cadet operators manual. This includes removing the spark plug wire prior to performing any repairs.

Snowblower won't stay running

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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.

Reasons Your Cub Cadet Snowblower Won’t Stay Running

Bad or Old Fuel

Old fuel that has been sitting around for a long time can negatively affect the snowblower when it is used. Fuel attracts moisture from the air and breaks down causing corrosion and fuel restrictions.

The ethanol, found in most types of gasoline, along with the moisture it attracts to the fuel system will leave behind gummy deposits that will clog the fuel system preventing fuel from getting to the carburetor.

Read more about the effects of old gas and choosing the right gas in This is the Type of Gas Cub Cadet Snowblowers Use.

SOLUTION: Remove old fuel from the fuel tank. A fuel siphon pump works well for this. Once the old fuel is drained, fill it with fresh fuel.

Before you add fuel to the tank, mix in a fuel additive to help clean the fuel system, reduce moisture and stabilize the fuel. I discuss more on fuel additives for a snowblower in The Best Fuel Additive fro Your Snowblower.

Clogged Fuel Line

Old fuel leaves behind varnish and sticky deposits that can plug the fuel components. This can result in clogs that restrict the amount of gas that is able to flow through the fuel lines.

SOLUTION: To check for a fuel clog, shut off the fuel supply using the fuel shut-off valve or fuel pinch-off pliers to crimp the fuel line.

  • Remove the fuel line from the snowblower and place it in a container. Make sure the container is placed lower than the fuel tank.
  • Turn on the fuel supply and check the flow coming out of the fuel line.
  • If you are getting good fuel flow, shut off the fuel flow and reattach the fuel line.
  • If you are NOT getting good fuel flow, shut off the fuel flow and remove the fuel line from the snowblower.
    • Spray carburetor cleaner into the line to loosen the clog.
    • Follow this with compressed air to dislodge the clog and remove it.
  • Reinstall the fuel line once the clog is removed. If you are unable to remove the clog or you find the fuel line is old, dry, or cracking, purchase and install a new fuel line.

Dirty Carburetor

The carburetor regulates the amount of fuel that is mixed with air to form combustion in the cylinder. When a carburetor is dirty from old fuel, the small parts that allow it to function can become plugged or stuck.

Your Cub Cadet snowblower will not be able to get sufficient fuel. It will begin running sluggish or won’t stay running.

SOLUTION: Before you remove the carburetor, perform these quick steps to isolate your fuel problem with the carburetor.

  • Confirm you are getting fuel flow to the carburetor and don’t have a fuel restriction elsewhere in the fuel system.
  • Spray carburetor cleaner into the air intake. Start your snowblower. If it runs fine and then dies, there is a good chance your carburetor must be cleaned and inspected for any failed parts.
  • If you don’t want to spend time cleaning the carburetor, a new carburetor can be installed.

Choke Set in the Wrong Position

If your snowblower has a choke lever, it might be set in the wrong position. The choke restricts airflow to allow a higher concentration of fuel into the combustion chamber when starting a cold engine.

When the choke isn’t adjusted correctly after the snowblower warms up, it will stop running because it isn’t getting sufficient airflow.

SOLUTION: When starting a cold engine on a Cub Cadet snowblower, engage the choke to restrict airflow to the engine. Once the engine warms up, adjust the choke to the off position to keep the snowblower running.

Dirty Spark Plug

A dirty or damaged spark plug can cause your snowblower to run rough or quit running. A dirty spark plug is one that has carbon or oil buildup on the tip that can result in intermittent spark issues.

A damaged one is when the porcelain is cracked or the electrodes are burnt. Check your spark plug and replace if you find any of these conditions.

SOLUTION: Inspect and clean the spark plug with a wire brush. If you find the plug is extremely dark in color or damaged, the plug must be replaced with a new one.

Make sure the plug is gapped to the engine manufacturer’s specification and the spark plug wires are securely attached. It is best practice to install a new spark plug in a Cub Cadet annually.

Bad Ignition Coil

The ignition coil can cause your snowblower to stop running. The windings on the ignition coil can separate and short out when the snowblower gets hot.

This will result in the spark plug not being able to create a spark because it is unable to get the voltage it needs.

SOLUTION: Check for a break in the continuity using an ohmmeter. Replace if faulty.

Too Much Engine Oil

Too much engine oil in the crankcase can cause a Cub Cadet snowblower to shut down and stop running. Excess oil can get into the carburetor requiring the carburetor to be cleaned.

It can also cause pressure to build in the crankcase resulting in additional damage. Read more about the effects of too much oil in a snowblower here.

SOLUTION: If you find, after checking your engine oil, that your level is too high, remove a little bit of oil until the level is corrected. Oil can be removed from the drain plug, oil filter, or from the oil fill area using an oil evacuator or turkey baster.

Remove and clean the carburetor if the oil has contaminated it. If you continue to have problems, have a small engine mechanic run tests on the engine to determine if there is any damage to the engine that must be repaired.

Bad Fuel Cap

The fuel cap on your Cub Cadet snowblower is designed to vent allowing air to pass through the cap. This is to keep the pressure in the fuel tank equal to the atmospheric pressure outside of the tank.

When the fuel cap vent is damaged or plugged, the fuel tank will act like a vacuum and starve the snowblower of fuel. This will cause the snowblower to begin sputtering and quit running.

SOLUTION: If your snowblower stopped running and won’t start, loosen the fuel cap and try to start it.

If it starts and runs fine, place the cap back on the fuel tank while allowing your snowblower to continue to run. If it eventually shuts off after running for a while, you may have a bad fuel cap.

Purchase a new fuel cap when the current fuel cap is no longer venting.