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Everything You Need To Know About Snowblower Keys

When you first buy a snowblower, you will likely have lots of questions about how it works.A snowblower key is an essential part of any snowblower, and you probably have many questions about them. 

A snowblower key is integral in starting your snowblower’s engine, just like any car. But how do they work and what happens is your keys are missing? 

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. 

Senior lady using a snowblower on rural drive on windy day with a cloud or blizzard of snow blowing in the air

Here is 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 keys are made to fit other specific engines. 

The three keys will be specially made for a:

  • Tecumseh snowblower engine
  • Briggs and Stratton snow engines
  • 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. You are better off buying the entire set if you are not sure.

If you are unsure if a universal key set will work on your snowblower engine, then contact your local hardware store, who may be able to advise you about a replacement. 

Related Post: One-Stage vs. Two-Stage vs. Three-Stage Snowblowers

How to Prevent Losing Snowblower Keys

It can be easy for a snowblower key to pop out while removing snow from your yard or driveway.

To prevent the key from popping out, tie the key with a piece of string to the engine handle. That way, if it pops out it won’t get lost in a pile of snow.

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Where to Buy Replacement Snowblower Keys

If you need a universal key set for your snowblower, where can you get 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, as well as on Amazon

Don’t worry about the cost of these replacement keys, as you can usually get a set for less than $10.

How to Start a Snowblower Without a Key

If you need to start your snowblower immediately and can’t wait to buy replacement keys, there are a few hacks you can try to get your snowblower working.

Most snowblowers have basic electrical systems, and if you are not worried about how your snowblower looks, you can 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.

When you want to turn the engine off, untangle the wires.

However, I strongly recommend against trying this, as anybody who doesn’t know what they are doing could ruin the snowblowers wiring, and possibly give themselves a shock.

Another option is to stick a piece of plastic in the ignition to start the snowblower, because most snowblower keys are low tech and plastic.

Again, this has a lot of potential problems. You may get the piece of plastic stuck in the keyhole, which will mean you may have to take the snowblower to be repaired.

If you are used to tinkering with engines, you might consider replacing the 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 will 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.

A toggle switch can also be found on

Prevent Snowblower Theft

As anybody can buy a set of snowblower keys, you may worry about someone stealing your snowblower.

Yes, this can be an issue.

Be sure to lock up your snowblower in your garage or shed to avoid theft.

If you lose the keys to your snowblower, don’t worry. It is easy to replace your snowblower keys with inexpensive universal keys that will start your snow removal machine. Here are some more great tips for using a snowblower in the winter: