If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you may have coveted your neighbor’s snowblower for some time before finally getting one of your own. Since it’s a machine with a small engine, it’s important to know how to change oil on a snowblower to keep it running smoothly. Luckily, it’s an easy job to tackle in under an hour with the right tools and know-how.
Why Change the Oil?
Snowblowers have small combustion engines where the oil lubricates the internal components and dissipates heat that would otherwise build up quickly and destroy the engine as a result of the friction. In the process, oil gathers contaminants such as carbon buildup and condensation, and over time shearing forces break down the viscosity of the oil, lowering its ability to protect the engine.
This is why the oil has to be changed. Larger engines often include filters in their lubrication systems to help remove these contaminants, but snowblowers have small engines with typically low run times, and they don’t have filters. This increases the need for consistent oil changes.
When to Change the Oil
Unless you run a snow clearing business or are a very generous neighbor, you’ll want to change out your oil according to the recommended intervals in your owner’s manual, which will usually be every 50 hours or so. This means you might only change the oil once a season. Best practice is to change it at the end of the season so there’s no chance of water or contaminants sitting in the engine and corroding its parts over the off-season. Your owner’s manual indicates exactly how often you should change your oil, what weight of oil you should use and how much is required.
How to Change the Oil
Changing the oil on a snowblower is pretty straightforward. Make sure you work over a large piece of cardboard so any potential leaks are caught, and follow these steps:
- Check the existing oil level to make sure it’s sufficient, and then start up the engine to let it run a couple of minutes and warm the oil. This should make it easier to drain.
- Shut off the engine. Be aware that you are now dealing with hot engine parts. Disconnect the spark plug to disable the engine, and place the blower over a drain pan.
- Locate the drain plug and remove it to drain the oil into the pan. Once the oil has drained out completely, replace the plug and remove the cap/dipstick. Use a funnel to add the manufacturer-specified amount of new oil.
- Replace the cap and spark plug, and start the engine. Check for leaks, turn the engine back off, and remove the cap/dipstick to verify that the oil level is correct by cleaning the dipstick once, reinserting it and checking it again.
- If this all appears good, continue to check the oil level after each use to make sure leaks aren’t forming and the engine is burning clean.
Fresh oil is an essential part of maintenance for any engine, and snowblower engines are no exception. Protect your machine this winter and take time for an oil change so it can keep clearing away the snow.
Check out all the snowblower products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to change oil on a snowblower, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe.
Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter. In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.