When your Toro or other brand of snowblower won't start on the first or second pull, there are several things to check. Although Toro makes high-quality snowblowers, they (as well as other brands) are susceptible to the periodic starting troubles. With a few common mechanics' tools and a fresh supply of fuel, you can usually get your snowblower up and running in a few minutes. If the described steps don't solve your starting problem, it's time to take your Toro to a repair center.
Check Fuel Level and Freshness
Check your fuel level and fill the mower with fresh gasoline from a fuel can if the tank is low. If the gasoline is old (from last season or older), disconnect the fuel line from the side of the carburetor by loosening the line clamp with a screwdriver and drain into an empty fuel container. Reattach the fuel line and re-tighten the clamp with a screwdriver before filling the tank with new fuel.
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Check the Oil Level
Check your oil level by unscrewing the oil fill cover and viewing the dipstick markings. If the oil level falls below the "Full" mark, add oil and check again until the desired level is reached.
Inspect the Spark Plugs
Remove the spark plug wire by pulling it from the plug. Insert a 3/4-inch spark plug socket wrench over the spark plug and turn the wrench counter-clockwise until the plug can be turned by hand and removed. Inspect the plug for visible damage and moisture, rust, oil residue or black carbon deposits. If the plug is damaged, it must be replaced; if it is wet or dirty, clean it with a cotton swab or rag and follow with a light brush with a spark plug cleaner or soft wire brush.
Adjust the Spark Plug Gap
Check the spark plug gap with a spark plug feeler gauge by inserting the .032 gauge feeler between the side and center electrode. If the gap is too wide or too narrow, bend the side electrode slightly with the notch in the feeler gauge until it fits the .032 feeler snugly.
Insert the spark plug into the engine and turn clockwise with your fingers until hand-tight. Tighten the plug with the spark plug wrench until the wrench offers moderate resistance and reinstall the spark plug wire. Take care not to over-tighten the plug to avoid cracking the outer ceramic insulation.
Try Starting Your Snowblower
Set the choke to start position, press the fuel primer (if installed) two to three times, insert the key (if applicable for your Toro model) and pull the starting cable. On electric start models, depress the start switch on the starter. If the mower won't start on the second or third try, let it rest for several minutes to allow the fuel to drain from the carburetor and try again. If it still won't start, it probably requires professional service.
Servicing Your Snowblower
At the end of each season, drain the fuel from the snowblower and use with your lawnmower or car. Change the motor oil as directed in your owner's manual, and consider changing or cleaning the spark plug at this time.
Snowblower Safety Considerations
Always use a D.O.T. (Department of Transportation) approved gas can. Using water jugs, tin cans or other containers is unsafe, and never dispose of gasoline improperly. You may mix small amounts of old gasoline with new fuel for your car or other power equipment with no negative results.
Follow all safety and warning labels on your snowblower and in the owner's manual. Snowblowers and other power equipment can be dangerous, and caution is advised in performing any type of repair or adjustment other than those recommended by the manufacturer.