That’s the backfire sound my new snowblower made today when I tried to use it in our first snowfall of the winter. The snow was pretty, no denying that. But it was also the kind of wet, hard-to-move snow that we get so often here in New England. I guess we got about a foot or a foot-and-a-half of the stuff. And I should have been ready with the new, gleaming, Ariens snowblower I bought on end-of-season sale last year. (And then sold my 40-year-old Toro, a big mistake.)
The new one ran fine last year! It ran fine every time I started it up during the off season. Until it didn’t, a couple of weeks ago. (I always keep our gas-powered equipment—mopeds, mower, snowblower—fueled with fuel stabilizer added, and run them periodically when they’re out of season. Works great. Until now.) I should have called a dealer right away, but I kept thinking, if I change the gas, run some carb cleaner through it, talk to it nicely, it’ll start working right. (Also, I was a little busy.) Nothing doing.
Also, by the way, this Ariens snowblower is one of the worst-designed machines I’ve ever used. That’s ARIENS, the company that makes ARIENS piece-of-shirt snowblowers with the name ARIENS on them, in case you wondered. Yeah, when it was running, it worked well. But it has no throttle, just one speed. It has no way to add oil without spilling oil all over the place. The dipstick is incredibly awkward to check. It has no provision for draining the gas tank. It has a totally stupid plastic key that you insert to run and pull out to stop, and heaven help you if you drop it in the snow. (Get a big piece of string before you run this bad boy.)
Fortunately, as I thought, I also had my new electric snow shovel that I bought last year to make shoveling off the deck a less cardiac-arrest-inducing task. So I got that out. WHIRRRzzzzzzzz. No. NO. Yes. It’s not working, either. The drive belt is slipping. Nonadjustable. Useless.
The shovel company is sending me new belts. We’ll find out what Ariens will do about a warranty repair on the snowblower, when it gets picked up at the end of the week.
I’m feeling a tad grumpy. And I miss my 40-year-old Toro.