How To Start a Two-Stage Snow Blower

A snow blower is essential if you live in a snowy climate. If you've never started one, here's what you need to know to do it safely.

Next Project

A few minutes






If you live in an area that frequently gets measurable snowfall, consider purchasing a snow blower. With this machine, snow removal will be much faster and less labor-intensive than with a shovel and you won't ever have to wait for a snow removal service to show up.

Snow blowers come in two basic configurations: one-stage and two-stage. One-stage blowers are simpler, using a motorized auger to pick up snow and discharge it from a shoot. Two-stage blowers do this with two parts. An auger picks up snow, and then an impeller shoots it clear of the machine (and your driveway or sidewalk). This allows two-stage blowers to remove snow faster.

Here, we'll explain how to start a two-stage snow blower.

Project step-by-step (10)

Step 1

Check the engine oil

  • Park the snow blower on a flat, level surface.
  • Pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean with a paper towel, then reinsert it.
  • Remove the dipstick again and examine the high and low markings carefully. If the oil level is between them, you’re good to go. If it’s low, add more oil of the type specified in your owner’s manual.

check Oil of snow blowerRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 2

Check the fuel level

  • Open the fuel cap and examine the fuel level. Your snow blower also may have a fuel indicator gauge you can check.
  • Top it off with gasoline, if needed.

 Check Fuel of the snow blowerRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 3

Locate and turn on the fuel valve

  • Look for a valve labeled “fuel valve” or “fuel shutoff.” Turn it to the full “on” position.

Fuel Valve on snow blowerRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 4

Point the chute in a safe direction

  • Locate the crank handle that controls the direction of the snow removal chute.
  • Crank it to move the chute to a position where the snow will fly somewhere safe, and not back toward you or into your garage when you engage the auger.

Point Chute on snow blowerRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 5

Turn the engine switch on

  • Locate the engine switch and turn it to the “on” position.

Engine Switch on snow blowerRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 6

Open up the choke

  • Look for a sliding knob labeled “choke.” Pull it all the way out. This is the open position. Some models will have a switch or a dial. Make sure it’s in the “choked” or on position.

Open Choke on the snowblowerRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 7

Adjust the throttle to full power

  • Locate the engine speed control slider, known as the throttle.
  • Turn it to the maximum speed position.

Adjust Throttle on snow blowerRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 8

Start the machine

  • If it’s an electric start model, turn the key.
  • If it’s not electric start, locate the pull cord.
  • Pull the cord briskly until the machine starts up.

Start Machine on snow blowerRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 9

Close down the choke

  • Let the snow blower run for a few minutes with the choke fully open. The colder the air temperature, the longer you’ll need to let it warm up.
  • When you notice the snow blower begin running a little ragged, slowly close the choke halfway.
  • Wait another minute or so, then fully close the choke. If the machine starts running rough, you closed the choke too soon. Open it back up to the halfway position and wait a little longer.

Close Choke on the snow blowerRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 10

Start blowing snow

  • Once the machine is warmed up, pull in the clutch handle.
  • Put it in forward gear, then engage the auger. The controls to do this will be within easy reach when you stand behind the machine, but exact execution varies from one model to the next. That’s why if you’re unsure how to run your blower, take time beforehand to read the manual carefully or check out a YouTube tutorial for your model.
  • Slowly squeeze the traction control handle in, and then start blowing snow! To avoid any other hiccups while removing snow, use these tips to¬†fix a snow blower that won’t start.

Start Snow BlowingRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman