Everything You Need to Know About Snowblower Keys

When you first buy a snowblower, you’ll likely have lots of questions about how it works, and the same goes for your snowblower’s key. A snowblower key is an essential part of any snowblower.

Unfortunately, not all snowblower keys are universal, but you can buy universal sets that will fit most standard snowblowers. These sets generally contain four keys. This key is integral in starting your snowblower’s engine, similar to any car. However, you may have some questions about how it works and what to do if it goes missing.

Here’s a complete guide to everything you need to know about your snowblower keys.

Are Snowblower Keys Universal?

One key fill fit most key-turn ignition engines, while the other three a made to fit other specific engines.

One key will be specially made to a Tecumseh snowblower engine, another will fit Briggs and Stratton snow engines, while the final key is made for MTD and Craftsman motors. While it is possible to buy each key individually if you know what engine you have, these key sets are generally inexpensive, so you’re best off buying the set if you’re not sure.

If you’re unsure if a universal key set will work on your engine, you’re best off contacting your local hardware store, who may be able to advise you about a replacement. It can be easy for a snowblower key to pop out while removing snow from your yard or driveway. If this happens and you’re worried about losing the key again, tie the key with a piece of string to the engine handle, so if it pops out, it won’t get lost in a pile of snow. As anybody can buy a set of snowblower keys, you may worry about someone stealing your snowblower. As this can be an issue, we recommend locking up your snowblower in your garage or shed to avoid this from happening.

Where to Buy Replacement Snowblower Keys

After learning you can obtain universal key sets for your snowblower, you may be wondering where you can purchase them. One of the most common sets of keys on the market is Arnold Universal Snowblower Keys. You can pick this brand of replacement snowblower keys at most hardware stores, including Lowe’s and Home Depot. 

If you’re unable to get to your local store and you’re happy to wait on a new key, you always purchase a set online. Most major retailers, including Amazon, sell Arnold brand keys. As mentioned, universal snowblower key sets are generally inexpensive, and you can usually pick a set up for less than $10.

How to Start a Snowblower Without a Key

During a blizzard, you may be unable to get to your local hardware store, and delivery may be unavailable due to the weather. In such circumstances, you may ask yourself, ‘how can I start my snowblower without a key?’ Luckily there are a few hacks you can try to get your snowblower working.

Most snowblowers have fairly basic electrical systems, and if you aren’t worried about how your snowblower looks, you can essentially hotwire the engine. Most snowblowers have two electrical cables that need to be connected for the snowblower to start, so you can take off the plastic covering and combine the two wires, which will start your engine.

Then, whenever you want to turn the engine off, untangle the wires. However, we strongly recommend against trying this, as anybody who doesn’t know they’re doing could ruin the snowblowers wiring, and possibly give themselves a shock. As snowblower keys are low tech, it’s sometimes possible to stick a piece of plastic, which is a similar width to the ignition.

Again, this is fraught with potential issues, as you may get your chosen piece of plastic stuck in the keyhole, which will mean you may have to take the snowblower to be repaired. Anybody who’s used to tinkering with engines might consider replacing their ignition key altogether. Many online stores sell replacement parts for snowblowers, and one handy piece of tech is a toggle switch. A toggle switch is basically an on/off button for your snowblower. All you’ll need to do is remove the key-based ignition and solder the wires to each connector. You won’t need to worry about polarity, as this doesn’t matter on most toggle switches

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