Changing the spark plugs in an Ariens snowblower is critical for small engine maintenance. Spark plugs are present in many types of engines, and they create the spark necessary for the machine to power on and operate. They provide an arc of electricity that ignites the combination of fuel and air in the engine. Ariens brand snowblowers use Briggs and Stratton engines, and Briggs and Stratton recommend changing your spark plugs annually to keep your snowblower running in the best shape possible.
Remove the Old Spark Plugs
Anytime you work with a combustible engine, it's crucial to take safety steps to prevent accidents and injury. Aside from disconnecting the spark plugs themselves, you should also empty the fuel tank and wear protective gloves. Place the machine on a stable work surface.
Video of the Day
Locate the spark plugs on top of the engine. If you have trouble identifying them, refer to the engine diagram in your user manual. Pull the wire that connects the spark plugs. Do this step before making any repair to prevent it from accidentally powering on while you work.
Once the spark plugs are disconnected, use a spark plug socket wrench to remove them. Attach the wrench onto the spark plugs and turn counterclockwise until they loosen enough to remove them. If your spark plugs are ceramic, you can likely recycle them. Otherwise, be sure they don't have any gasoline or other combustible materials on them and discard them.
Change Spark Plugs on Your Snowblower
Next, use your plug-gapping tool to bend the L-shaped wire on the end of your new spark plug to the correct measurement for your engine. Many Briggs and Stratton engines use 0.03 inches for the plug gap, but your plug gap may be slightly different depending on the specific make and model. You can use your old spark plugs to determine the correct size, but it may be a better idea to refer to your owner's manual if you still have it.
Now that you have threaded your new spark plug, place it carefully where the old one used to sit. Use your spark plug socket wrench to tighten it firmly. Most snowblowers only have one spark plug. Finally, reconnect the engine wire to the new plug's tip. Experts recommend testing your Ariens snowblower every winter before using it to remove snow, especially if you have performed any small engine maintenance tasks, like replacing the spark plugs.
Caring for Your Snowblower Engine
Several options are suitable for preventative maintenance, protecting your snowblower and its engine and prolonging the machine's life. Replacing your spark plug annually is just one of those steps. You might also want to inspect other parts of your engine while you're working on the snowblower and changing the spark plugs.
First, inspect the belts and replace them if they appear worn. You may see fraying along the edges or observe small holes or perforations in them. Take a look at the auger paddles as well. These are the parts that lift the snow off the ground, and you will need to replace them if they no longer hit the ground while the snowblower is operating.
The skid shoes are the parts that allow you to adjust the height of the auger paddles. If they appear worn, flip them and replace them next time. Check the shear pins for damage. These pins connect the gear case and the auger. Finally, change the oil every year and use fresh gasoline with a stabilizer. If you take these steps, your Ariens snowblower should be good to go.