How to Start a Snowblower: Pre-start Checklist and Detailed Instructions

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Last updatedLast updated: May 13, 2021
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Standing in a driveway full of snow early in the morning, with a wicked chill air blowing around you is the last place that you want to finally learn how to start a snow blower. So, instead of waiting until the first snowfall before you prepare the snowblower, check out this article that will guide you on how to get your snowblower started in as little time as possible.

There are different ways to start the snowblower, and you need to know these methods before you can successfully start the snowblower. In this post, we will consider each of the methods, ranging from starting a snowblower with a choke, starting one with a recoil start, and that with an electric start. At the end of the post, you should have enough information that will help you to start any type of snowblower with as little fuss as possible.

Things you need to look out for before winter

You don’t have to wait until the first snowfall to start preparing your snowblower for the winter. In this section, we will consider some of the things that you can do to prepare the snowblower for the winter.

Check out the manual

Regardless of the appliance that you are using, it is important that you check out the instructions from the manufacturer. In fact, this is the first thing to do. It is important to do this because each snowblower is different from the other. Therefore, the instructions from the maker will ensure that you don’t make errors that can damage the equipment.

Change spark plug

How to Start a Snowblower: Pre-start Checklist and Detailed Instructions

If your snowblower uses a spark plug, then we recommend that you change it every season. It will make the machine easier to start and will improve its durability.

Change the oil

How to Start a Snowblower: Pre-start Checklist and Detailed Instructions

Changing the oil in your snowblower is important. It is one of the things that you will find in the manual. Inside the manual, you will learn how to change the oil, how to drain it, and so on. We recommend that you change the oil after every 50 hours of use.

Check out the parts

You also need to check parts like the tire, the auger, and other parts. Check for wear and tear. If these are worn or damaged, then you should change them for newer parts. This will improve the efficiency and durability of the machine.

Pre-start checklist

Now that you have taken care of the machine prior to the winter, you can then think about starting it when the snow comes. There are some things that you need to check in most snowblower models on the market. These are:

Check the oil level

If your snowblower needs oil, then you have to make sure that there is the right amount of oil in the machine. To that end, check out the oil level and ensure that it is at the full mark.

Drive control

Before you start the machine, you need to check the drive control lever. It must be set to Neutral. This is for your safety and will ensure that the machine doesn’t suddenly move away when you start it. It is similar to how you put a vehicle in Neutral gear before you start it.


As with oil, you also have to check the amount of fuel that you have in the tank. Without fuel, the machine will not work.

It should be noted that while this checklist is useful, it is by no means exhaustive. There are several models on the market and the steps to start depends majorly on the instructions from the manufacturer. Therefore, check through the user manual to know the best things to do before starting the machine.

Starting a snowblower with a choke

The choke found on the gas-powered machine is a part of the engine that is designed to help the motor start when it is cold. How does it work? Well, it does this by preventing air intake. This will result in a gas mixture in the combustion chamber of the engine, which will help with starting it quickly.

If your machine has a choke, here are the steps to turn it on.

  1. The first thing to do is to close the choke. Some models have the ‘Close’ as ‘Full’. Either way, ensure that it is closed.
  2. The next thing is to check the instructions of the maker and start the engine according to these instructions.
  3. Afterward, reduce the amount of choke slowly over some minutes. You do this by gradually adjusting the choke lever.
  4. Once the engine has started running smoothly, then you should completely open the choke. It is important that the choke is open when the engine is running; because a closed choke will increase the amount of fuel used and might even flood the engine.

Starting a snowblower with a recoil start

After you have satisfied the checklist, you can then start the engine. Here are the steps to do this.

  1. First of all, adjust the choke of the engine. Once the engine has warmed up sufficiently, set the choke to RUN.
  2. The next thing is to move the throttle to a FAST position. This is the recommended position for running the blower.
  3. Afterward, open the shutoff valve for the fuel. This valve is what supplies fuel to the engine. Set it to ON or OPEN when you want to start the engine. When the engine is not in use, turn OFF the valve.
  4. Switch on the ignition switch. For many models, you have to set it to RUN when you want to start the engine.
  5. Insert the safety ignition key of the machine. This key is important and when removed will immediately switch off the engine.
  6. Pump the primer bulb.
  7. Lastly, pull the starter rope until there is a feeling of engagement. Then firmly and sharply pull on the rope to begin using the engine.

Starting a snowblower with an electric start

If you have a snowblower with an electric start, just follow steps 1 through 6 that we have provided above. The other steps that you should follow are:

  1. After you have carried out steps 1-6 provided for starting a snowblower with a recoil start, then you should plug in the power cord. This is pretty easy to do as there is an adapter on the machine. The other end of the plug goes into the 120V outlet.
  2. The next thing is to push the red button on the engine. After pressing it, release the button and then disconnect the power cord.
  3. Once the engine has warmed up sufficiently, then move the choke to the OFF or RUN position.

Reviews indicate the SJ625E from Snow Joe is one of the best snowblowers with an electric start. Furthermore, if you are looking for a powerful 2-stage snowblower with an electric start, then you will find that the PowerSmart Snow Blower is such an excellent model.

Final thoughts

Starting a snowblower is straightforward when you know the things that you need to do. In this post, we have provided you with the essential steps on how to start a snow blower, whether it is one with a recoil start or a model with an electric start. Either way, we hope this information helps you with starting any type of snowblower.

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