How to Start a Snow Blower

Man clearing driveway of snow with Toro snowblower

Having trouble starting your gas Toro single or two-stage snow blower? Or maybe you just need a little refresher course. No problem, we got you covered. Follow along in our Tips to Starting Your Snow Blower video or continue reading below.

The Basic Steps for Starting a Snow Blower

Are you having trouble starting your snow blower? Stop struggling. Take a breath. Toro is here to help. Let’s review the steps for starting your Toro snow blower engine.

    • If you have a two-stage Toro snow blower, open the fuel shut-off valve.
    • Insert the ignition key before pressing the primer bulb. Press it a couple of times if it’s 15 degrees or warmer. Press the primer bulb four times if it’s below 15 degrees.
      • TIP: If you wear big winter mitts, take one off when you push the primer bulb, you’ll get more consistent priming that way.
    • Rotate or pull the choke to the on position and move the throttle to the “fast” setting. If you have an electric starter, plug in your extension cord now.
    • Depending on your model, either pull the recoil starter or press the electric starter button to get your snow blower started.
    • Once you have your snow blower started and warmed up, move the choke to run position.
    • Notes on the Toro snow blower choke:
      • The choke should be closed when you’re starting your snow blower. Close it fully for cold conditions or when the engine is cold.
      • When the weather is 30 degrees and above, leave it ½ or 3/4s open.
      • There’s no need to close it if you’re restarting the snow blower less than five minutes after you shut the engine shut off. If it’s been long than 5 minutes since the engine was running, close the choke and press the primer blub as you would with a normal start.
    • If you smell gas fumes during your start you may have overprimed and now the machine may be flooded. Close the fuel shutoff if your machine has one. Shut off the choke and pull the recoil 3 times to move excess gas out of the engine. Wait 15 mins before starting it again.
    • If you have one, the fuel shutoff valve needs to be open again when you restart.
    • If the snow blower still won’t start, there might be another issue going on so check your manual or talk to your Toro dealer for further troubleshooting.

Tips for starting a snow blower with an electric starter:

  • Don’t forget to unplug the extension cord after the engine is started.
    If the engine doesn’t start right away don’t keep cranking on the electric button. That can result in a burned-out starter. could burn out the starter. Just Instead, do short five-second cycles of the starter. Don’t attempt this more than 10 times. Allow at least 10 seconds between attempts.

5 Tips to Make Starting a Snow Blower Easier

1. Use Fresh, Good-Quality Fue

Use fuel that is less than 30 days old. Gasoline gets “stale” over time and fresh fuel ignites more easily. Stale gas can leave harmful deposits that can gum up your product’s fuel system. Hopefully, you ran the engine out of fuel at the end of last winter. If not, even more reason to check it now. You can learn more about the correct way to get your snow blower ready for summer storage in our “How to Prep Your snow blower for Winter or Storage” blog and the correct fuel to use in our “Which Gas to Use in Lawn Mowers & Snow Blowers” blog.

The basic fuel tips for making sure your snow blower runs smoothly? Only purchase what you expect to use within 30 days, or add a stabilizer. If you add a fuel stabilizer the day you buy the gasoline, you can expect the fuel to stay fresh for 4-6 months. Fuel stabilizer is available from most Toro dealers.

It’s also a good idea to wait until the cool fall weather season arrives before purchasing gasoline for your machine. Gasoline is re-blended to suit the season, and although the difference isn’t as great as it once was, winter-grade fuel will make cold weather starts easier.

2. Check Your Spark Plug

Starting a snow blower will always be easier if the spark plug is in good condition. If in doubt, replace it. A new spark plug will be able to better ignite the fuel-air mixture within the engine. You should also make sure the spark plug wire securely attaches to the spark plug.

3. Check Your Oil

If you have a 4-cycle model in which fuel and oil are separate and you didn’t change the oil last spring, now is the time. Even if you only run the machine a few hours a year, the oil should be changed. Oil in a small engine does not break down very fast but it does become contaminated.

Moisture from the air and exhaust will build up in the oil within a very short time. This contamination will result in increased wear and

eat away at internal parts over time. Following the recommended oil change schedule for your machine can help prevent expensive repairs.

4. Perform an Annual Inspection

Before each snow season, inspect the rotor blades for wear. When a rotor blade edge has worn down to the wear indicator hole, both rotor blades and the scraper should be replaced.

Inspect the drive belt for fraying, cracking or signs of stretching. Replace the drive belt if any of these conditions occur. It is recommended to have an extra belt on hand in the event the belt breaks while operating.

Check for any loose fasteners and tighten them as necessary. Missing fasteners should be replaced immediately.

If you are a DIYer and like to perform your own maintenance or product repair, Toro offers genuine Toro replacement parts online at Toro’s easy-to-use parts look-up tool utilizes your model and serial number to help you quickly identify the parts you need to keep your Toro equipment running like new.

5. Check Your Owner’s Manual

Lastly, review how to start a Toro snow blower by reading the procedures outlined in your operator’s manual, including the proper operation of the safety features on your unit if you have any further questions. Want more maintenance tips? Visit

Beyond Starting a Snow Blower: What Toro YardCare Has to Offer

Toro YardCare is a vast source for all things landscaping and yard maintenance equipment related. Since Toro covers everything from how to choose the right snow blower for you to tips on installing sprinklers when spring rolls around, you can turn to Toro YardCare’s resources throughout every season!

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