Do Snow Blowers Use Mixed Gas?

Mixing gas is a pain in the ass. Two-stroke engines have their uses, but strapped to a snowblower isn’t one of them. I’m not a fan of two-stroke engines and I’m a mechanic.

Modern Snowblowers are mostly fitted with four-stroke engines and they do not use mixed gas. However, some older snow blowers may be fitted with two-cycle engines that do require mixed gas.

In this post, you’ll learn why most modern snowblowers don’t use mixed gas. You’ll also learn how to quickly identify if your snowblower is a two or four-cycle engine.

Modern Snow Blowers Don’t Use Mixed Gas

Most modern blowers are four-cycle engines and do not require mixed gas. They do however require engine oil, and that oil needs to be changed once per season and checked regularly. I advise my customers to check once per week during the on-season.

While nearly all snow blowers (two-stage – auger and blower) are four-stroke (nonmixed gas), it’s not uncommon to find a 2 stroke engine fitted to a snow thrower (single stage – auger only). Toro offered a 2 stroke snow thrower, however, they have since been discontinued. Four cycle engines also known as four-stroke engines are more common today because they are cleaner to the environment.

Two Ways To Identify Four Cycle Engine

Chances are if your snowblower was made in the last 10 years, it’s likely fitted with a four-stroke engine. And if your blower is a two-stage, (auger and blower) it’s most unlikely it’s powered by a 2 stroke engine. Identifying which type of engine is in your snowblower isn’t always obvious, especially if the engine is fitted with large plastic covers.

Snow blower oil dip stick location

1 Dipstick – One of the easiest ways to identify a four-stroke engine is the presence of an engine oil dipstick.

Four-stroke engines as you know require engine oil and that oil level needs to be checked. Identifying a dipstick means your snowblower is a four-stroke and does not require mixed gas.

Valve cover

2 Valve Cover – Another typical identifying feature of a modern four-stroke engine is the presence of a valve cover with the letters OHV, (Over Head Valve).

What’s Wrong With 2 Stroke?

The world is turning its back on dirty engines and a two-stroke is a dirty engine. Its days are numbered. Two-cycle engines, by design, burn oil continuously during operation. As a result, in some countries, the sale of new 2 stroke engines is outlawed.

While a two-stroke engine is simple, they tend to be temperamental especially if the gas mix ratio is not to spec. The four-stroke engine is an easier engine to live with, all around. As a mechanic, I’m often asked to recommend an engine type, I have yet to recommend a 2 stroke motor.

The way I look at it, I don’t want my customers to walk behind an engine that throws out carcinogenic fumes.

4 stroke pros:

  • Relatively clean
  • Quiet
  • Smooth
  • Fuel efficient
  • Reliable

4 stroke cons:

  • More maintenance
  • Maintenance more expensive
  • More complex engine
  • Heavier

2 stroke pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Higher RPM
  • Simple design

2 stroke cons:

  • Dirty engine
  • Smoky to use
  • Temperamental running
  • Mixing oil required
  • Lots of vibration

Four Strokes Of A Four Stroke

Engine stroke 1

First Induction – piston travels down the cylinder and draws air/fuel mix in through the open inlet valve.

Engine stroke 2

The second Compression – the piston starts to travel back up the cylinder and closing the inlet valve, creates a sealed, air/fuel compressed cylinder.

Engine stroke 3

Third Power – the piston is now past Top Dead Center (TDC) and starting to turn back down the cylinder. As soon as the piston is past TDC, the spark plug fires which sends the piston down the cylinder under power.

Engine stroke 4

Forth Exhaust – the piston turns back up the cylinder, the exhaust valve opens, expelling the spent gases out the muffler and the sequence starts over.