Snowblower Oil: What To Look For

Man removing snow after storm with a snowblower

You need to pay attention to your snowblower's oil in order to keep it in the proper running condition. All engines need proper lubrication to keep moving parts running smoothly and keep them cool. There are some differences to be aware of when looking for the right oil. Here are some considerations.

Sitting Inside

house with a double garage for storage

Some people believe that because you store your snowblower inside and it sits there more than it runs out in the elements you can use a thin oil like 5w30. This is not true. You are going to operate your snowblower in cold weather so using SAE 30 weight oil is a good choice because it contains a high resistance to flow due to its greater viscosity, or thickness. As the engine warms up when operating the machine, the oil will begin to thin out at normal working temperatures and begin to flow quickly to the engine valves and around the crankshaft and the camshaft so the engine stays cool, preventing it from overheating.

Thin Oil

Using 5w30 oil may or may not be a good choice depending upon what your needs are. Thin oils are designed for small power combustible engines that need quick starting but do not operate at high RPMs or for long periods of time. The 5w30 oil has been formulated to have almost no resistance to flow because it is so thin. It will quickly flow to your snowblower parts mentioned above. However, a snowblower will burn very thin oil once it is warm so employing a thicker oil like SAE 30 is an important choice to make sure the parts stay well lubricated during operation. Thicker oil will extend the life of your snowblower engine.

Contaminated Oil

During normal operations of any machine like a snowblower, contaminants sometimes creep in. If the oil looks extremely dark, even black, you may need to change it. Depending upon the workload of the engine, oil changes may need to be performed more frequently than suggested.

Synthetic vs Natural

The debate wages on concerning the value of synthetic oil. Some oil industry experts will swear by synthetics while old-timers may rant on about the virtues of using natural oil. The preference sometimes comes down to money and the amount of use. While most people will use natural oil in automobiles and trucks, synthetic oils may prove a more reasonably priced alternative for yard machines that are operated occasionally. If you live in a climate that produces a great deal of snow on a daily or weekly basis, you may want to stick to natural oil which, when used properly and changed correctly, will provide the optimal amount of protection for your snowblower.

Other Uses

Pouring engine oil into a funnel

There are two types of snow blower engines: A two-cycle that mixes oil and gas or a four-cycle that uses straight gas and oil in the crankshaft. Also, oil is used to lube the chassis and driveshaft as well. If you have a two-stage blower, you also need to check the oil in the gearbox making sure to keep it full.

Refer to your user’s manual for the specific type of oil to use for lubricating purposes.