How to change the oil in your snow blower

oil change front

BIG NOTE: This guide involves manipulation of potentially heavy and hazardous equipment, with moving parts and the potential maim, disable, and even kill it’s user. Take all appropriate safety precautions, and if you don’t feel comfortable with any parts of the process, have a qualified professional perform the maintenance on your equipment.

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Tools you’ll need:

  • A Wrench for the drain plug. Adjustable can work, but specifically sized sockets are better.
  • Rags or paper towels
  • An Oil drain pan, or sufficiently sized measuring cup.
  • Plastic Funnel
  • New Oil
  • A filter, if your equipment needs one
  • Disposable gloves and eye protection.

Get protected

Put on your eye and hand protection. The old timers didn’t bother, but liming exposure to chemicals such and oil and gas, as well as protecting your eyes is sensible for any kind of maintenance work. The last thing you want is a rash or for dirty oil to splash up in your eyes. Oil can be hot and cause burns as well, so wear appropriate clothing.

Warm up the engine

Hot oil flow more easily, and will come out of the snow blower faster. 10 minutes is usually enough running time to warm everything up, as well as get any particulates back into suspension.

Make sure your snow blower is safe

A simple way is to unplug the spark plug cable. No spark means your engine cant start. Some snowblowers may have a keyed start. This might seem OK, but de-energizing the spark plug and completely preventing the engine from starting while you’re working with the machine is much safer.

draining old oil
A small measuring cup such as this one make not only removing oil, but adding oil a simple task.

Drain the old oil

This depends on your snowblower model. On many, there is an oil drain port which can be accessed easily with a wrench. You may also want to loosen or remove the dipstick and cap. If you don’t have an oil drain port, you may have to remove the oil through the dipstick tube itself- which means either turning the snow blower on it’s side, or using an oil transfer pump. If you don’t feel safe manipulating potentially heavy equipment in this way, absolutely contact a professional and have this done for you. The oil transfer pump method uses a small 12 volt electric pump to remove the oil. We’ve found they work pretty well, and amazon has them if you local retailer doesn’t.

Replace the filter, if your snow blower has one

some larger snow blowers use oil filters. If yours does, make sure to have a manufacturer replacement or equivalent on hand before you start working on your machine. Usually you can unscrew these small engine oil filters by hand, but if it’s really stuck on you might need an oil filter wrench. We really like the tri-wing type, and you can find them on amazon or in many local retailers. Make sure to place a rag or drip tray under the filter to catch any mess, and when you do remove the filter, give the area a wipe with a rag and check for any loose debris or old filter seals. Once the area is clean, place some clean oil on the seal of the new filter, and hand tighten until it’s snug.

new oil change
Use a funnel to add fresh oil. Not doing so can be messy.

Add new oil

You can see our snow blower oil recommendations here, but any oil of sufficient quality that meets or exceeds the manufacturers specifications will work. Use a funnel in the fill tube, and make sure to pour the oil slowly so it doesn’t overflow. Most importantly, don’t overfill your engine! This can can cause starting issues, smoking, and possibly mechanical problems. Your owners manual should have the exact amount your engine needs. If it does not say, make sure to go slowly and check the fill line with the dipstick every few ounces until it’s full. Once you’re at the full line, write in the manual the capacity, or physically label the mower, like below:

Labels made knowing how much oil you need a breeze
Labels make remembering your oil capacity and type easy

Diy Outdoor Expert Tip:

Make a label of how many ounces of oil, and the type your snowblower takes! You can use a label maker or permanent marker. This will totally take the guess work out of servicing your machine in the future, even if you misplace the users manual.

Dipstick full
This dipstick is right at the full mark.

Check Your Work

Once your add the new oil, wipe off, and then reinsert the dipstick the whole way, including screwing it in if need be. Remove it, and check the fill level. You should be within the “Full” and “Empty” lines, like in the image above. If you’re too low, you need to add more oil. If you’re slightly over, it’ll likely do no harm; but if a major error was made; You may need to drain some of the fresh oil out.

Clean up

Make sure to wipe up any spills of oil on both the ground, you and the Snow Blower. Any Oily rags, towels, and rubber gloves should be promptly discard. Don’t just throw away the old motor oil, though. Old motor oil is hazardous. While it may be tempting, do NOT dump it down a drain, storm drain, or simply onto the ground. It’s bad for the environment and could harm plants and wildlife. Many stores, auto shops, automotive parts stores will accept used motor oil from anyone, which then gets recycled. You can find a list of places near you which accept used motor oil at the EPA.gov site, by clicking here.

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