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Does My Snowblower Need Oil? This is important, don’t do it!

By: Author John Cunningham. Published: 2021/06/15 at 9:45 am

A little love goes a long way; care for your snowblower, and it will repay you for years to come. Checking the oil is the easiest and most important preventative maintenance an owner can do. Oil is Soooo important to the health of your snowblower’s engine. Run it without oil even for a few minutes, and you’ll be shopping for a new stove.

A snowblower may use oil between oil changes, so engine oil should be checked weekly during the “On season.” Follow these steps to check the snowblower engine oil:

  • Park on level ground
  • Check while engine cold
  • Locate, remove and clean dipstick
  • Refit dipstick and remove to check level
  • If oil level is at or below the low-level indicator – add oil

In this post, you’ll learn how to check your snowblower engine oil. You’ll also learn how to add oil, including what type of oil to use.

How To Check Snowblower Oil

Checking the oil is a great habit; I can’t tell you how many small engines die because they simply run out of oil, which always makes me a little sad. Anyway, checking oil weekly is a fantastic habit. I tell my customers to check the oil every time they fill the gas tank.

Here’s the process in a little more detail:

  • Park on Level Ground – level ground ensures accuracy when dip reading
  • Check While Engine Cold – ensures oil is drained to pan
Snow blower oil dip stick location

Locate – Locate dipstick.

Remove – Remove the dipstick and clean.

Remove dipstick

Refit – Refit dipstick, but do not seat.

Threaded dipstick

Threaded dipstick
Low oil level

Read – Read stick level.

Remove – Remove the dipstick and read the level.

The upper dipstick mark signifies full, and a lower mark signifies low oil; the area in between may be hatched, which indicates an acceptable oil level. If you need to top up the oil, add only a little at a time before reading the dipstick.

Oil dipstick check

What Oil Type For Snowblower?

As snow blowers work in cold temperatures, the engine oil needs to be up to the challenge. Most engine wear happens at startup; engine internals isn’t adequately coated in oil. The faster the oil coats them, the better, but cold oil is thick and doesn’t move quickly.

That’s why blended oil, also known as a multi-grade oil, is recommended for snowblowers. Snowblower engine oil is the same oil your car engine takes, but it is graded oil, and that’s important for cold weather engine starting.

The multi-grade comprises a thin oil for cold start protection and a heavier oil for hot temperature performance. Many snowblower manufacturers recommend 5W30 or 10W30. The lower the number preceding the W (winter), the thinner the (winter) grade oil.

0W30 offers better cold start protection than 5W30, and 5W30 offers better cold start protection than 10W30, etc. Manufacturers’ recommendations determine the oil you choose for your snowblower, and they should be followed, but that said, most blowers are happy with 5W30, but in severe temperatures, move to the 0W30 grade.

How Much Oil in A Snowblower?


Snowblower engines aren’t large, and the engines don’t hold very much oil.

From empty, the average-size engine holds approximately 26 ounces of oil.

It’s easy to overfill, so when changing or topping up, add just a little at a time before dipping to recheck.

Is Too Much Snowblower Oil Bad?

Too much oil isn’t good for a snowblower engine. Many snowblower engines don’t use a pressurized oil system. Instead, they rely on paddles attached to the crankshaft, which strike the surface of the oil inside the engine, splashing the oil into various components.

The problem is when the oil is overfilled; it submerges the paddles. Instead of striking the oil, the paddles aerate the oil. Aerated oil means vital metallic surfaces aren’t adequately coated, and the pockets of air create friction hot spots, which shortens the life of the motor.

Snowblower white smoke

Too much oil causes other issues also:

  • White smoke – excessive oil burns off and results in white smoke from the muffler
  • Oil leaks – excessive crankcase pressure causes oil leaks from seals and gaskets
  • Plug fouling – excessive oil causes spark plug contamination and misfiring

How To Remove Excess Oil

Just go ahead and drain some oil. I use a gas siphon, it’s a ton less work than draining oil, no tools required, and it’s mess-free.

Check out this post, “What happens when put too much oil in a snowblower?” which shows you how to remove excess engine oil with the siphon and without.

Oil drain

You can check out the siphon I use here on the “Snowblower maintenance tools page” or check out the Amazon link below.

Amazon Gas and Oil Siphon