Tips to Starting Your Gas Snow Blower

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Having trouble starting your gas Toro single or two-stage snowblower? 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.

Tips to Starting Your Snow Blower

To get us going, let’s review the steps for starting your Toro Snowblower engine.

  1. Open the fuel shut-off valve. This will only be found on select two-stage Toro snowblowers.
  2. Insert the ignition key.
  3. Then press the primer bulb a couple of times if it’s 15 degrees or warmer and 4 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.
  4. Rotate or pull the choke to the on position and move the throttle to fast. If you have an electric starter, plug in your extension cord now.
  5. Then either pull the recoil starter or press the electric starter button depending on your model to get your engine going.
    • TIP: For those of you who do use the electric start, don’t forget – unplug the extension cord after the engine is started. And if the engine doesn’t start right away don’t keep cranking on the electric button, you could burn out the starter. Just do short five-second cycles of the starter. No more than 10 attempts and allow at least 10 seconds between attempts. That’s all that’s needed.
  6. After the engine is started and warmed up, move the choke to run position. Some people forget to do that.
  7. Remember the choke is closed for starting. Close it fully for cold conditions or a cold engine. Close it only 1/2 or 3/4 for temps of 30 degrees or warmer. And don’t close it if you’re restarting the snowblower less than five minutes after engine shut off. But after 5 mins, close the choke and press the primer blub as you would with a normal start.
  8. If you smell gas fumes during your start you may have over primed and now the machine may be flooded. Close the fuel shutoff if your machine has one. Shut off the choke, pull the recoil 3 times to move excess gas out of the engine and wait 15 mins before starting it again.
  9. Just remember to open up the fuel shutoff valve again when you restart.
  10. If the snowblower still won’t start, there might be another issue going on so check your manual or talk to your Toro dealer for further troubleshooting.

5 Tips to Make Starting Your Snow Blower Easier

1. Use Fresh, Good-Quality Fuel

Avoid Stale Gas

Use fresh fuel (less than 30 days old). Gasoline gets “stale” over time and fresh fuel ignites more easily. Stale gas can leave harmful deposits in 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.

Today’s gasoline does not have the same chemical makeup as years ago. Testing has shown that significant deterioration can begin in as little as 30 days. The first sign of old gas is it makes starting your snow blower more difficult. This is because the most volatile components of the fuel are the first to deteriorate and are the ones that help an engine start easily.

Use Fuel with an Octane Rating of 87

We recommend you use a national brand to ensure you are beginning with good, quality fuel. Use fuel with an octane rating of 87, or as close to 87 as you can. Higher octane fuels offer no benefit for your residential products, and some high octane additive packages are not good for small engines. Only purchase what you expect to use within 30 days, or add 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.

Wait for Cool Fall Weather

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 will 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 (fuel and oil are separate) and 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; however, it does become contaminated. Moisture from the air and small amounts of combustion byproducts (exhaust) will build up in the oil within a very short time.

This contamination will result in increased wear and can even eat away at internal parts over time. Following the recommended 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 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 the starting procedures outlined in your operator’s manual, including the proper operation of the safety features on your unit if you have any further questions.

Visit for more helpful snow blower maintenance tips.