Oil is super important to your snowblower; nothing will kill an engine faster than a lack of oil but can too much oil be bad? You bet it can. But don’t panic, too much oil isn’t as bad as too little, and it’s an easy fix. I’ve been a mechanic for over twenty-five years, and I’ll show you the fast fix.
Too much oil in a snowblower engine will cause it to blow white smoke. Other possible symptoms of too much engine oil, include:
- Engine won’t crank
- Oil leaks
- Spark plug fouling
In this post, you’ll learn why too much engine oil in your snowblower can be harmful. You’ll also learn how to correctly check the oil levels and what to do if your engine oil is overfull.
White Smoke – Too much oil in a snowblower causes white smoke and possibly a no-start.
Too Much Oil Is Bad
Too much oil is indeed better than too little, but it’s still possible to damage an engine with excessive lubricant.
Some of the common symptoms include:
- White smoke – Too much oil can cause oil to migrate to the carburetor through the crankcase breather. The oil then enters the combustion chamber and causes plumes of white smoke.
- Engine won’t crank over – Too much oil inside the engine prevents the crankshaft from moving. This often convinces operators they have a flat battery (key start) or pull cord issue.
- Oil leaks – Excessive oil causes excessive crankcase pressure – which often results in oil leaking from cranks seals and pan gaskets.
- Spark plug fouling – Oil that enters the combustion chamber will foul the spark plug and cause misfiring.
Your snowblower engine is equipped with either a pumped oil lubrication system (identified by the presence of an oil filter) or splash lubrication (no oil filter). Too much oil is especially bad for a splash lube system.
The splash system uses paddles attached to the crankshaft, which smacks the surface of the oil, causing oil to splash in all directions. However, splashing isn’t possible when the oil level is above the paddles and the engine isn’t protected.
Remove Excessive Snowblower Oil
Too much oil will need to be removed. You can remove oil in two ways, drain it off through the oil drain bung or siphon out the excess oil. In the workshop, I used a specialized tool called a gas and oil siphon. It’s not an expensive tool; you’ll love it if you do your own maintenance. You can check it out here on the “Snowblower maintenance tools page” or check out the Amazon link below.Amazon Gas and Oil Siphon
The siphon may be used to remove just the excess oil from the engine. Otherwise, you’ll need to remove the oil drain bung, which can be messy trying to gauge when enough oil has been removed.
If you don’t have a siphon and your oil needs to be changed, you might as well go ahead and change the oil out completely.
Snowblower oil should be changed yearly, preferably before the new season begins. Catching the old oil and reusing it isn’t advised; grit from around the engine’s exterior may fall into the oil catch and contaminate it.
Removing Oil With a Syphon
Locate – Locate dipstick.
Siphon – Siphon oil out through the dipstick tube.
Check – Remove oil until the level reaches the full mark.
Removing Oil Through Drain Bung
Remove – Remove dipstick.
Locate Bungs – Locate oil drain bungs, choice of two on this engine.
Open – Open oil drain.
Oil Catch – Use a clean container, if you intend to reuse the excess oil.
Refit Bung – Allow oil drain for five seconds or so before loosely refitting the bung.
Check Oil Level – Check oil level and repeat the draining process as necessary, remembering to tighten bung at the end.
Check Snowblower Oil Level
Running low on oil is a common cause of engine failure. Excessive heat caused by the lack of lubrication causes the internal metal components to get so hot they fuse together; when this happens to an engine, it seizes, and that’s a condition that can’t be repaired.
I tell my customers it’s best to check engine oil whenever they fill the gas tank. Modern engines don’t use much oil but will use a little. Oil is a lot cheaper than a new engine. Some of the more expensive snow blowers may be fitted with a low oil switch. The switch will prevent the engine from starting in the event of low oil.
If you need more help, check out “How to check oil video” here. The kit in the video is a mower engine, but the process is identical.
Checking the oil is a simple procedure; follow these simple steps:
Park Level – Park the snowblower on level ground and allow the engine to cool.
Locate Dipstick – Locate the dipstick, marked with an oil symbol or the word “OIL”; the dipstick cap may be a contrasting color.
Clean – Remove and clean dipstick.
Refit dipstick – Refit the dipstick (do not screw home threaded type dipsticks to test).
Threaded Type Dipstick
Remove – Remove the dipstick and read 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.
From empty, the average snowblower engine only takes about a quart of oil, and as you know, it’s easy to overdo it. Most engines will happily accept 5W30 or 10W30, mixing oil types isn’t advised generally, but for top-ups, it’s fine.
That’s it. Good job, you’re a pro!
About the Author
John Cunningham is a Red Seal Qualified automotive technician with over twenty-five years experience working on all types of equipment, grass machinery, ATVs, Dirt bikes, cars, and trucks. When not writing how-to articles, he may be found in his happy place – Restoring classic machinery.
You may find the following links helpful:
- Snowblower maintenance & repair page
- Riding mower maintenance & repair index
- Walk behind mower maintenance & repair index
- Recommended tools & parts
- Recommended mowers
- Repair videos
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer at Lawnmowerfixed.com.
He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and shares his know-how and hands-on experience in our DIY repair guides.
Johns’s fluff-free How-to guides help homeowners fix lawnmowers, tractor mowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, power washers, generators, snow blowers, and more.