Finding The Best Oil for your Snow blower

adding fresh oil
Clean Oil means a better running snow blower. But what kind do you use?

With the temperatures starting to fall for the winter, it’s time to get out that snow removal equipment from storage and give it a looking over. For many that means an overdue snowblower oil change. If you aren’t sure what oil you need, or where to look, we have you covered.

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The Lowdown:

  • Synthetic oil beats conventional – hands down. Your snow blower will start easier, run better, and last longer.
  • You DO NOT need to use special “snow blower oil” or the manufacturers brand oil. In fact, car brands may give better value.
  • Make sure to read your owner’s manual, and follow the correct viscosity grade and API classification. 10W-30 is common, but not guaranteed.
  • If you lost the owners manual, google is your friend! Get the model number from your equipment, and enter it online. Usually manufacturers upload them.

Look At Your Owners Manual

Your owner’s manual should be the first stop in finding out what kind of oil you need to use. It’ll contain important information like the correct viscosity grade as well as the API classification your snow blower’s engine was designed for. This should be your first stop in finding out the oil you need. Your owners manual can have other useful information as well, such as what spark plugs you need and what kind of fuel is best in your snow blower.

Learn What The Oil Numbers Actually Mean

Snowblower Oil SAE Viscosity Chart
An SAE Viscosity Chart Calling for 5W30 and 0W30 oils, depending on conditions

Your owner’s manual should be the first stop in finding out what kind of oil you need to use. It’ll contain important information like the correct viscosity grade as well as the API type your snow blower’s engine is designed for. Often, you’ll see a chart like the one above describing the correct oil grades to use for a given temperature range, as well as a value, such as 10W-30. The first number, beside the “W” means winter, and a lower number means better protection and easier starting when it’s cold outside. The second is the oil viscosity (also called “weight”) at operating temperature.

Now you too can be an oil expert. When you see that oil jug on the shelf, and see 5W-30, you’ll instantly know it’s a 5 weight when it’s cold, and 30 weight when running. Easy!

Make Sure Your Oil is API Certified

The API is the American Petroleum Institute- for decades they have set the standards behind many motor oils. Nearly every vehicle manufacturer mandates API certified oil in their engines. API designations follow a lettering system starting at “SA” with the current being “SN Plus” API oils are designed to be backwards compatible- if your equipment calls for API SJ oil, you are completely safe using API SN Plus, and you may even see a performance boost from the newer technology.

Get the Synthetic Advantage

Conventional oils are manufactured from the crude that comes out of the ground- a thick black substance which contains a lot more than just oil. After several purification and refining steps, you get the conventional motor oils you know today. Synthetic oils start out as pure, manufactured substances to begin with, and anything left behind during the purification steps isn’t there. Those “wrong” molecules which can often degrade and turn into engine sludge, or because premature wear isn’t present in synthetic oils.

For many years, synthetic oils were less popular with consumers due to a price premium, but as more and more car manufacturers mandate the use of synthetics, they are becoming dominant in the market. Even many “conventional” oils are now actually synthetic blends, giving you increased performance and better life from your equipment. There is no regulation for what constitutes a synthetic blend however, and you’re better off knowing you have fully synthetic oil instead of a mysterious percentage.

That said, in very old equipment there is a small chance that synthetic oil can have a cleaning effect, and cause oil leaks. The leaks were probably there for some time however, just covered up by the dirt and fouling of long term use, as well as build up from conventional oil. In these cases you may not want to use synthetic oil, but in well maintained equipment of any age, synthetic oil will cause no harm.

Name Brands Are a Safe Bet

Some companies sell dedicated “Snowblower Oil”, but the major oil brands- such as Pennzoil, Mobil 1, and Castrol all make quality oils that will function equally well in not only your car, but your snowblower as well. These companies have been making oil for decades, and not only have the latest certifications but massive teams of engineers and formulators behind their products. Their years of experience means a quality product for everyone, and longer lasting, more fuel efficient engines for all.

Our Expert Oil Recommendations:

Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil

Our Editors favorite, Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Oil is made from a special gas-to-liquids refining process, Oil made from natural gas! This oil has a base stock of unusually high purity even for synthetics, giving greater performance and durability, as well as enhanced protection in temperature extremes.

Mobil 1 Fully Synthetic Motor Oil

Possibly number one in name alone, Mobil 1 has been on the market since 1974, and is a favorite of not only shrewd motorists, but small engine operators as well. Over 45 years of success on the market wouldn’t happen without quality.

Castrol EDGE Synthetic Motor Oil

Castrol EDGE oil’s claim to fame is a titanium based anti-friction additive, increasing film strength and decreasing wear at a rate six-times better than the industry benchmark. Like Mobil, Castrol has been around for decades and really knows their stuff when it comes to engine oil.

Runner Up: Amazon Basics Synthetic Motor Oil

According to the oil experts over on BITOG, Amazon Basics is manufactured by a leading formulator of oil here in the USA. It meets all API and industry specifications, and is an excellent value option for the cost minded consumer. You can check the price of this oil on Amazon.

Now that you’ve found the best oil for your snow blower, why don’t you take care of the fuel system as well and check out our page on Fuel Additives for snow blowers. You’ll be in top shape for the winter to come.

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