New to gas-powered snow blowers? Don’t worry, here’s my step-by-step guide on how to start a snow blower (even after summer), whether you have an electric start or pull start.
However, before I jump into my guide to starting a snowblower there are a few things I would like to go through.
Tips On How To Start A Snowblower Easily
Given that you have stored your snow blower correctly over the summer months, you shouldn’t run into any problems, but with winter on its way, you need to be ready.
Although this may be true, there is nothing worse than having a foot of snow and a machine that won’t start, after all, none of us like having to shovel snow, do we? With this in mind, I will share with you a few tips that will help you to have a problem-free snow clearing winter season.
Check The Instructions For Annual Check-Up Routine
At the end of each winter season, you should give your snow blower a thorough once over. However, if last year you did not do this then now is the time. The manufacturer will usually supply you with a list of what your annual check-up routine should be in their manual.
On the other hand, if you are not a keen DIYer when it comes to mechanics it may be advisable to have your machine serviced by a professional. Snowblowers, just like cars, need servicing and maintaining. After all, they are an investment of not just your money, but your time effort when clearing snow.
Check The Oil
If you have a 4 cycle model then your oil and fuel will be separate. I would strongly recommend that if you did not change the oil at the end of the last season, here’s a guide on how to change the oil in a snow blower. If you have already changed it, good on you, just check that your oil level is still full before starting.
Always Use New Fuel
Ideally, you will have drained the fuel tank of your snow blower for storage, if you didn’t, now is the time to do it, (please ensure that you dispose of old fuel in the correct way). This is really important and especially true if you have not used a fuel stabilizer.
Using old or stale fuel will quickly lead to problems in small engines and at worst will mean you have to dismantle the carburetor and clean it thoroughly. Be sure to purchase a good quality fuel, your manual will tell you which fuel is recommended for your machine.
Remember, gas does not have a long shelf life so avoid buying it too early in the season.
Inspect The Spark Plug
It is always worth giving your spark plug the once over to check for any sooting or damage. Personally, I always change the spark plug every year, but at the very least do it every other season.
How Do You Start A Snowblower?
As long as the basic checks have been done snow blowers should be simple to start up and incur no problems during their use.
Here is my step-by-step guide to help you on your way to quick and easy snow clearing this winter.
Step 1. Set The Controls
For safety reasons always check that you are set to neutral and that any drive control is in the OFF position.
Step 2. Open The Fuel Shutoff Valve
When stored the fuel shutoff valve should always be in the OFF position. By opening this you allow fuel into the fuel line. Not all snow blowers will have one, if you are in doubt refer to your owner manual.
Step 3. Insert The Safety Ignition Key
A lot of machines have the safety feature of a safety ignition key. This safety key is there to prevent any accidental start-ups.
Step 4. Set The Choke
If snow blowers are stored somewhere cold then the choke will need to be set on full. This allows the correct mix for the engine to fire up. If your machine has been stored in a heated garage then set the choke to halfway. If you find your snow blower will only run on full choke, then read this guide for how to fix it.
Step 5. Turn Up The Throttle
Set the throttle to FAST (a rabbit symbol on some models) and flick on the Run/Ignition rocker switch (if you have one). This enables the ignition system. Don’t forget to turn it OFF once you are up and running. (if you have an electric starter now is the time to plug in the extension cord)
Step 6. Prime The Engine
If the temperature is below 15 degrees then you will need to press the primer bulb 4 times otherwise a couple of times will be sufficient. By pressing the primer bulb you are circulating the fuel into the carburetor.
Step 7. Start The Engine
Now you are ready for the start-up. The method will vary from machine to machine, some using a starter rope/pull cord start while others have an electric start button. Whichever your machine uses you are now ready to employ it and start the engine.
How To Start A Snowblower With A Pull Cord Start
If you have a starter rope to start the engine then pull it slowly up until you feel it engage, then give a quick sharp pull. Try not to pull too hard as this will put wear and tear not only on the starter cord but, also on the recoil spring. Eventually you may end up with a pull cord that won’t recoil.
If the engine fails to start you may have over primed, especially if you can smell fuel. To resolve this, turn the fuel shutoff valve off and pull the starter cord 2 or 3 times. This will burn off any excess that is in the carburetor.
How To Start A Snowblower With An Electric Start
How to turn on a snowblower with an electric starter. Plug the power cord into an outlet and push the start button.
If it does not fire up the first time then wait 5 seconds before trying again. If you are unsuccessful after 10 attempts then wait 10 seconds before trying. You are at risk of burning out the snow blower electric starter if you do not follow this procedure.
Step 8. Turn The Choke Off
Once your engine is running and warmed up it is important to remember to put the snowblower choke position back to RUN. Not doing so will give the wrong fuel mixture and cause running problems.
Other Questions People Frequently Ask
I hope this guide has given you all the information you need to know on how to run a snow blower. But just in case I will answer a few of the questions that I get asked the most.
How do you start a snowblower that has been sitting?
To start a snowblower that has been sitting you need to do a couple of things. Most important, is to drain the gas tank of any old fuel and refill it. However, if it does not start after doing this then the carburetor may well need to be cleaned.
How do you start an Ariens Snowblower?
To start an Ariens snowblower there are just six steps to follow.
- Open the fuel shutoff valve
- Turn the choke ON
- Turn the ignition key RUN
- Pump the primer bulb 2-3 times
- Pull the start cord
- Turn the choke OFF
How do you start a Toro snowblower?
To start a Toro snowblower follow these simple steps.
- Open the fuel shutoff valve. (Note: not all Toro machines have this)
- Insert the ignition key
- Press the primer bulb a couple of times (4 if it below 15degrees)
- Turn or slide the choke position to ON
- Move the throttle to FAST
- If you have an electric start plug in the extension cord
- Pull the recoil starter or press the electric start button
Why won’t my electric start snowblower turn over?
There are two possible reasons for an electric start snowblower not to turn over. Check that the extension cord is connected fully. The starter motor may have burnt out or the starter switch may be broken or faulty.
Is it OK to run a snowblower with the choke on?
Whilst you likely won’t do any permanent damage from running a snowblower with the choke on, it’s not advisable as a long-term solution. The choke changes the fuel and air mixture which is suitable for getting the machine started, but running it regularly with too much fuel in the system can damage your spark plugs.