Ariens Small Engine Repair: Troubleshooting Common Problems

Ariens small engine repair is an essential skill for homeowners who want to keep their outdoor power equipment running smoothly. When your Ariens lawn mower, snowblower, or other machine experiences issues, it can be frustrating and time-consuming to diagnose and fix the problem. However, by understanding the common issues that can arise and learning how to troubleshoot them effectively, you can save time and money on repairs.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most frequent problems encountered with Ariens small engines and provide step-by-step solutions to help you get your equipment back in working order. We will also discuss preventive maintenance techniques to keep your Ariens machines running at peak performance and help you determine when it is best to seek professional assistance.

Understanding Your Ariens Engine

Before you begin troubleshooting your Ariens small engine, it is crucial to have a basic understanding of the engine’s components and how they work together. Ariens uses a variety of small engines in their equipment, each with its own unique features and specifications. Some of the most common engine brands found in Ariens machines include:

  • Briggs & Stratton: Known for their durability and reliability, Briggs & Stratton engines are widely used in Ariens lawn mowers and other outdoor power equipment.
  • Kohler: Kohler engines are known for their high performance and efficient design, making them a popular choice for Ariens riding mowers and zero-turn mowers.
  • Tecumseh: Although Tecumseh ceased production in 2008, many older Ariens machines may still be equipped with these engines, which were known for their rugged construction and easy maintenance.
  • Subaru: Some Ariens equipment, particularly their commercial-grade machines, feature Subaru engines, which are known for their superior power and longevity.

To identify the specific engine in your Ariens machine, refer to the owner’s manual or look for the engine brand and model number on the engine itself. This information will be invaluable when purchasing replacement parts, following repair procedures, or seeking technical support.

Common Ariens Small Engine Problems

Even with proper maintenance, Ariens small engines can experience a range of issues that may prevent them from starting or running correctly. Let us take a closer look at some of the most common problems and how to diagnose and resolve them.

ariens small engine repair

Engine Won’t Start

If your Ariens engine refuses to start, there are several potential culprits to investigate:

Fuel Issues

One of the most common reasons for a non-starting engine is a problem with the fuel system. Begin by checking the fuel level in the tank and ensuring that there is enough fresh, clean fuel to start the engine. If the fuel is old or contaminated, drain the tank and refill it with new fuel. Also, check the fuel filter to ensure it is not clogged or damaged, replacing it if necessary.

Spark Plug Problems

A faulty spark plug can prevent the engine from starting by failing to ignite the fuel-air mixture in the cylinder. Remove the spark plug and inspect it for signs of wear, damage, or incorrect gap. If the spark plug is fouled or damaged, clean or replace it as needed. Consult your owner’s manual for the correct spark plug type and gap specification for your engine.

Carburetor Issues

The carburetor is responsible for mixing fuel and air in the correct proportion for combustion. If the carburetor is dirty or clogged, it can prevent the engine from starting. To clean the carburetor, remove it from the engine and disassemble it, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Use carburetor cleaner to remove any dirt, grime, or varnish from the components, and replace any worn or damaged parts.

Ignition System Failure

If the spark plug and fuel system are functioning correctly, the issue may lie with the ignition system. Test the ignition coil using an ohmmeter to ensure it provides the correct resistance. If the ignition coil is faulty, replace it with a new one designed for your specific engine model.

Engine Runs Rough or Surges

If your Ariens engine starts but runs poorly or surges during operation, there are several potential causes to consider:

Dirty Air Filter

A clogged or dirty air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, causing it to run roughly or surge. Remove the air filter and inspect it for signs of dirt, debris, or damage. If the filter is paper, replace it with a new one. If it is a foam filter, clean it with soap and water, allow it to dry completely, and re-oil it before reinstalling.

Carburetor Problems

A misadjusted or dirty carburetor can also cause rough running or surging. Begin by adjusting the carburetor settings according to the manufacturer’s specifications. If the problem persists, remove, and clean the carburetor as described in the previous section.

Fuel Cap Vent

A clogged fuel cap vent can create a vacuum in the fuel tank, preventing fuel from flowing freely to the carburetor. This can cause the engine to surge or run roughly. Check the fuel cap vent for obstructions and clean it if necessary.

Engine Overheats

An overheating engine can cause severe damage if left unchecked. If you notice your Ariens engine running hot or shutting down due to overheating, consider the following potential causes:

Low Oil Level

Insufficient oil levels can cause increased friction and heat buildup in the engine. Check the oil level using the dipstick and add more oil if it is below the recommended level. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper oil type and capacity for your engine.

Dirty Cooling Fins

The cooling fins on the engine cylinder help dissipate heat during operation. If these fins become clogged with dirt, grass clippings, or other debris, they cannot effectively cool the engine. Clean the cooling fins using a soft brush or compressed air to remove any obstructions.

Faulty Cooling System

Some Ariens engines feature additional cooling system components, such as a fan or shrouds, to help regulate engine temperature. Inspect these components for signs of damage, wear, or obstructions, and repair or replace them as needed.

Troubleshooting Ariens Polar Force Snowblower Issues

The Ariens Polar Force snowblower is a powerful and reliable machine designed to tackle heavy snow accumulation. However, like any mechanical equipment, it can experience issues that may require troubleshooting and repair. Let us examine two common problems specific to the Ariens Polar Force snowblower.

ariens polar force snowblower repair

Auger Not Turning

If the auger on your Ariens Polar Force snowblower is not turning, snow will not be drawn into the machine and discharged through the chute. There are several potential causes for this issue:

Shear Pins

The auger is connected to the drive shaft using shear pins, which are designed to break if the auger encounters a hard object or becomes jammed. This protects the auger gearbox from damage. If the shear pins are broken or missing, the auger will not turn. Replace any broken or missing sheer pins with new ones of the same size and type.


The auger is powered by a belt system that transfers power from the engine to the auger gearbox. If the belts are worn, stretched, or damaged, they may slip or fail to turn the auger. Inspect the belts for signs of wear and replace them if necessary. Consult your owner’s manual for the correct belt size and installation procedure.


The auger gearbox is responsible for transferring power from the belts to the auger shaft. If the gearbox is damaged or low on lubricant, it may fail to turn the auger. Check the gearbox for signs of damage, such as cracks or leaks, and repair or replace it if necessary. Also, ensure that the gearbox is properly lubricated according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Uneven Snow Discharge

If your Ariens Polar Force snowblower is discharging snow unevenly or ineffectively, there are several potential causes to investigate:

Clogged Chute

Snow and ice can accumulate in the discharge chute, preventing snow from flowing smoothly and evenly. Inspect the chute for obstructions and clear any snow or ice buildup using a clean-out tool or wooden broom handle.

Worn or Damaged Impeller

The impeller is responsible for throwing snow out of the discharge chute. If the impeller is worn, damaged, or missing blades, it may not effectively discharge snow. Inspect the impeller for signs of wear or damage and replace it if necessary.

Incorrect Skid Shoe Adjustment

The skid shoes on the sides of the auger housing help control the height of the auger above the ground. If the skid shoes are misadjusted, the auger may not be level with the ground, leading to uneven snow intake and discharge. Adjust the skid shoes according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the auger housing is level.

Preventive Maintenance for Ariens Small Engines

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your Ariens small engine running smoothly and efficiently. By following a few simple preventive maintenance tasks, you can avoid many common issues and extend the life of your engine.

ariens small engine repair

Change the Oil Regularly

Engine oil lubricates and cools the moving parts of your engine, but it can become dirty and lose its effectiveness over time. To keep your engine running smoothly, change the oil after every 25 hours of use or once per season, whichever comes first. Consult your owner’s manual for the correct oil type and capacity for your engine.

Clean or Replace the Air Filter

A clean air filter is essential for ensuring proper airflow to the engine. Depending on your engine model, you may have a paper or foam air filter. Inspect the air filter regularly and clean or replace it as needed. Paper filters should be replaced, while foam filters can be cleaned with soap and water, dried, and re-oiled before reinstallation.

Inspect and Clean the Spark Plug

The spark plug is responsible for igniting the fuel-air mixture in the engine cylinder. Over time, the spark plug can become fouled or damaged, leading to starting or running issues. Remove and inspect the spark plug annually, cleaning it with a wire brush if necessary. If the spark plug is worn or damaged, replace it with a new one of the same type and gap specification.

Lubricate Moving Parts

Proper lubrication is essential for the smooth operation of your Ariens small engine. Lubricate moving parts, such as the throttle and choke linkages, using a light oil or spray lubricant. This will help prevent sticking and ensure smooth movement of these components.

Store Equipment Properly

When your Ariens equipment is not in use, it is essential to store it properly to prevent damage and ensure an easy start to the next season. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for fuel stabilization and storage procedures, which may include adding a fuel stabilizer, running the engine dry, or storing the equipment in a dry, protected location.

When to Seek Professional Help

While many Ariens small engine repairs can be performed at home with basic tools and knowledge, some issues may require the expertise of a professional technician. If you are unsure about your ability to diagnose or repair a problem, or if you have attempted repairs without success, it is best to take your equipment to a certified Ariens service center.

Professional technicians have the training, experience, and specialized tools necessary to diagnose and repair even the most complex engine issues. They also have access to genuine Ariens replacement parts, ensuring that your equipment is repaired to the highest standards of quality and performance.


Troubleshooting and repairing Ariens’ small engines can be a complex and challenging task, but with the right knowledge and approach, you can often resolve common issues on your own. By understanding your specific engine model, identifying the problem through systematic troubleshooting, and following the appropriate repair procedures, you can save time and money on professional repairs.

Remember to perform regular preventive maintenance tasks, such as changing the oil, cleaning the air filter, and inspecting the spark plug, to keep your engine running smoothly and efficiently. However, if you encounter a problem that you are unsure how to resolve or if your repair attempts are unsuccessful, do not hesitate to seek the assistance of a certified Ariens service professional.

By following the guidance in this comprehensive guide and taking a proactive approach to maintenance and repair, you can ensure that your Ariens outdoor power equipment remains a reliable and effective tool for years to come.

Troubleshooting your Ariens snowblower or lawn mower? Greg’s Small Engine has the knowledge and experience to get your equipment running like new. Call us today for expert advice and repair services!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I change the oil in my Ariens small engine?

It is recommended to change the oil in your Ariens small engine after every 25 hours of use or once per season, whichever comes first. This ensures that your engine is always lubricated with clean, fresh oil, which helps prevent wear and tear on the moving parts.

Can I clean my foam air filter with gasoline during my Ariens small engine repair?

No, you should never use gasoline to clean your foam air filter during Ariens small engine repair. Gasoline can leave residues that can damage your engine and pose a fire hazard. Instead, clean your foam air filter with soap and water, allow it to dry completely, and re-oil it with a light engine oil before reinstalling it.

How do I know if my spark plug needs to be replaced?

Signs that your spark plug may need to be replaced include difficulty starting the engine, rough running, or increased fuel consumption. Visually inspect the spark plug for signs of wear, damage, or carbon buildup. If the electrode is worn, the porcelain insulator is cracked, or the spark plug is heavily fouled, it should be replaced with a new one of the same type and gap specification.

What should I do if my Ariens engine is overheating?

If your Ariens engine is overheating, first check the oil level and add more if it is low. Next, clean any dirt or debris from the cooling fins to ensure proper air circulation. If the problem persists, inspect the cooling system components, such as the fan and shrouds, for damage or obstructions. If you cannot identify the cause of the overheating, take your equipment to a certified Ariens service center for professional diagnosis and repair.

How can I prevent fuel-related issues in my Ariens small engine?

To prevent fuel-related issues, always use fresh, clean fuel in your Ariens small engine. Avoid using gasoline stored for more than 30 days, as it can degrade and form gummy deposits that can clog the carburetor. If you need to store your equipment for an extended period, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank and run the engine for a few minutes to distribute the treated fuel throughout the system.

When should I take my Ariens equipment to a professional for repair?

If you are unsure about your ability to diagnose or repair a problem with your Ariens small engine, or if you have attempted repairs without success, it is best to take your equipment to a certified Ariens service center. Professional technicians have the expertise, tools, and genuine Ariens parts necessary to diagnose and repair even the most complex issues. We restore your equipment’s optimal performance and safety.