A snowblower, just like any other tool, often requires maintenance and regular care, and one of the best things you can do for yours is to maintain it and make sure it’s in the best possible condition, to ensure that it performs at its maximum level next winter. One of the important parts of maintenance is checking and changing the oil, and you must understand how this is done. Typically, a snowblower uses the same kind of oil that a vehicle normally takes, however unlike the car’s engine, a snowblower oil does not necessarily need to be changed after a fixed interval.
How often should you change oil in a snow blower:
With normal usage you only have to change the snowblower oil at the end of the season, so one time per year. Don’t use oil in your blower for more than 2 years, as it can make starting your engine really hard in the new season. Also, make sure that you check the oil level regularly, so you notice if the engine starts using more oil than normal.
One peculiar attribute of engine oil is that degradation and contamination are unavoidable regardless of how often a machine is used or the type of weather in which it is used. This attribute of oil means that it is necessary to change it regularly, as operating with contaminated or degraded oil puts the engine at great risk of poor performance, huge repair bills, or even a final breakdown of the engine.
On the other hand, if you perform regular oil changes, not only will it ensure optimal performance, it will also guarantee reliability and secure your investment. In your engine manual, you’ll find detailed instructions for changing the oil in your snow blower unit. Because it may seem overwhelming, this article has broken down those steps into easy-to-understand points. If you plan on changing the oil in your snow blower by yourself, you must follow the step by step instructions and other safety procedures as well. To find out more about how to change the oil in your snow blower, read the rest of this article, we’ve simplified the processes for you.
- 1 Changing Snow Blower Oil
- 2 How Does Engine Oil Get Dirty?
- 3 Does Water Get in Oil?
- 4 How Engine Oil Degrades
- 5 How to Change Snow Blower Oil
- 5.1 ● Step 1: Safety gear
- 5.2 ● Step 2: Check the current oil level
- 5.3 ● Step 3: Run the machine for a few min
- 5.4 ● Step 4: Power of the engine
- 5.5 ● Step 5: Let the engine cool down
- 5.6 ● Step 6: Drain the oil
- 5.7 ● Step 7: Put the oil drain plug back
- 5.8 ● Step 8: Check if all oil has been drained
- 5.9 ● Step 9: Fill with new oil
- 5.10 ● Step 10: Out the dipstick back
- 5.11 ● Step 11: Reconnect the spark plugs
- 5.12 ● Step 12: Restart the snow blower
Changing Snow Blower Oil
For brand new engines, their initial oil must be changed much sooner than the usual oil change intervals. The reason for this is because oil becomes very contaminated during the first few hours of using an engine or the “break-in” period. This occurs as a result of the engine components which, although manufactured to set tolerances, are not perfect. The wall of a new engine cylinder is specifically designed to have peaks, and they are not perfectly smooth at a microscopic level. So as the piston of the engine moves rapidly up and down the walls of the new cylinder, the piston’s rings file against those peaks, turning them into small metallic pieces that deposit into the oil system and contaminates it.
Since the oil of a brand new engine gets contaminated easily, engine manufacturers always recommend an initial change of oil within the first few hours of use, and within the first month of use (for certain manufacturers). To find out when the initial oil of your snowblower should be changed, refer to the engine manual of your snowblower.
How Does Engine Oil Get Dirty?
If you’re a regular operator, you’ll notice that the oil that goes into your snowblower looks a lot different when it comes out. Usually, fresh engine oil has a warm, golden appearance, while oil coming out of the engine is dark in appearance. Why is this so? The simple answer is intake, compression, power, and exhaust. Normally, as the piston of the engine moves down, it takes in air and gasoline to the engine cylinder. Again, the piston moves up, compressing the fuel-air mixture and causing it to combust. Combustion heats the air in the combustion chamber, allowing it to expand and forcing the piston down the cylinder and then back up again where it finally expels the exhaust produced during combustion.
During combustion, little amounts of soot are produced and are circulated through the entire oil system, causing the color of the oil to darken. While this dark phenomenon and soot production are normal, the soot particles cluster and become even larger when used over time. If that old sooty oil is not drained and replaced, the contaminants can grow even larger and become particles that can cause the engine to wear.
Does Water Get in Oil?
When your snowblower is running, the oil in the engine heats up to a temperature greater than 200 degrees Fahrenheit till the engine stops running. When this occurs, the oil gradually cools down and takes the temperature of the area where the snowblower is stored. The area might be indoor storage, kept at room temperature, or it could be an outdoor storage shed exposed to low temperatures. Either way, the constant warming and cooling down of the oil across a wide range of temperatures allows water condensation to form inside the engine.
Now, if you often allow your snowblower engine to run for long every time you use it, the engine will eventually heat up to a temperature that’s capable of boiling the moisture collected in the engine’s oil system. On the other hand, if you only use your snowblower for short periods, the engine may not be hot enough to burn away all the moisture, leaving water droplets in your oil system. The water that remains in your oil system can cause the steel components of your engine to rust and even dilute the normal rating and effectiveness of your oil. This can be quite harmful.
How Engine Oil Degrades
Several factors contribute to the deterioration and degradation of engine oil, however, mere contact with air over time can cause the oil to break down or “oxidize”. Once the heat is added to the equation, the process will speed up. When oxidation occurs, the oil becomes extremely viscous and eventually turns into a sludge (thick gummy substance). For instance, oil rating may begin at 5W-30, but as oxidation occurs, the viscosity is rendered very low- below the manufacturer’s specification. This is why oil change intervals recommended by manufacturers are very crucial as they are based on calculations on when the oil is expected to deteriorate beyond its original ratings. When oil deteriorates below its original rating, it will no longer be able to protect the engine adequately as fresh oil would.
How to Change Snow Blower Oil
The best way to protect your snow blower’s engine is by changing the oil regularly at the specified intervals in the engine manual. After the initial oil change, it should be followed by regular-interval changes. While this is important, you shouldn’t let the engine manual limit you. It’s not a bad idea to change your snowblower oil more often than what is specified in the manual. It is way better to change it very often than not changing it enough. Here’s how you should change your snowblower engine oil:
● Step 1: Safety gear
You must wear safety goggles and gloves before you begin, to protect yourself from debris as well as chemicals.
● Step 2: Check the current oil level
Once you’ve done this, check the amount of oil remaining in the engine of your blower. Simply pull out the dipstick to check the oil level.
● Step 3: Run the machine for a few min
Next, run the machine for a few minutes to warm the oil.
● Step 4: Power of the engine
Put off the unit, remove the key, and place it on a flat level surface.
● Step 5: Let the engine cool down
Allow the hot parts to cool for some time before you disconnect the spark plug wire.
● Step 6: Drain the oil
Then place an oil drain pan directly below the oil drain plug, remove the drain plug, and allow the oil to drain.
● Step 7: Put the oil drain plug back
When you notice that the oil stops draining, replace the oil drain plug and fasten it.
● Step 8: Check if all oil has been drained
Make sure the oil has been completely drained from the blower. You can do this by tilting it a little bit. You may decide to remove the dipstick for a moment to improve the oil flow.
● Step 9: Fill with new oil
Once done, remove the cap on the oil fill port and fill it with the right oil type and proportion. You’ll most likely find this information in your manual, the right amount, and the grade of oil that you should use.
● Step 10: Out the dipstick back
After refilling, reinstall the dipstick. Take out the dipstick once again to make sure the oil level is sufficient (the right marking is often indicated on the dipstick).
● Step 11: Reconnect the spark plugs
Replace the dipstick and reconnect the spark plug wire to the spark plug.
● Step 12: Restart the snow blower
Finally, restart your snow blower, and run the engine for a few minutes, carefully observe the drain plug area to make sure no oil is leaking.
Keep in mind that engines are of different sizes and models, and according to their manufacturers’ standards, they require different oil types, ratings, quantity, and change intervals. In any case, it is best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations provided in the engine manual for your unit.