What is the best oil to use in a snowblower? Conventional Oil vs Fully Synthetic? 10W-30 or 5W-30?
Those were a few of the questions I had before changing the oil in this old snowblower. What did I end up using?
Amsoil SAE 10W-30 Fully Synthetic Small Engine Oil
Why this choice? More on that below.
Fully Synthetic vs Conventional debate
After doing much research into this topic (reading articles, reviewing test results and watching countless videos) it is proven time after time that a fully synthetic oil is the all around better option…every time.
Benefits of Synthetic:
- Better performance in extreme hot and cold conditions
- Uniform molecule consistency, results in less friction & wear
- Fewer impurities + cleaning additives
“Oil protects critical engine components from damage and AAA found that synthetic engine oils performed an average of 47 percent better than conventional oils in a variety of industry-standard tests,”per AAA
The only negative
Synthetic oils will typically cost more than regular oil.
Cold Weather Performance
Since we are talking about snowblowers here. The real question is,
“Which Oil will Perform Best in Cold Weather?”
For the reasons mentioned above the clear choice would be to use a fully synthetic oil. Less impurities and uniform consistency allows this oil to flow much better at cold temperatures.
This increased flow-rate should result in better lubrication at colder temperatures, resulting in faster engine starts & less wear on components.
Engine oils are labeled by Weight, the weight of the oil determines how fast the oil will flow at a given temperature.
Typically expressed using two numbers. Example (10W-30)
The first number refers to the oil viscosity at cold temperatures, W (winter). The lower the number, the better the flow at colder temperatures.
With the second number referring to the oil viscosity at hot temperatures.
10W-30 vs 5W-30, Which is Better for a snowblower?
Technically speaking the 5W-30 would be the better choice as it would perform better at a lower temperatures. Amsoil has also just released a SAE 5W-30 Small Engine Oil that would be perfect for locations that experience very very cold temperatures.
However, based on my research, 10W-40 should perform just fine down to temperatures of -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep in mind these are start-up temperatures.
So even if it is -20 outside, if your snowblower is stored inside of a garage, this really isn’t that big of a concern. Be sure to check your owners manual for manufacture recommendations.
At the time. All I have available is the 10W-30 and since our temperatures rarely drop below the -10 mark, that is what I will be using for this winter. If there are any troubles I will be sure to report back.
Locating the Oil Drain plug on a Snowblower
The above is a quick shot of the oil drain plug on the rear of this snowblower.
Pro-Tip: Before draining the oil, run the engine for 5 or 10 minutes. This will warm up the oil, allowing it to drain much faster.
After the engine has warmed up for a few minutes. Shut down the machine and open the drain cap. Be sure to have a catch-pan ready to collect all of the old motor oil.
Once the flow has started to slow down. Tilt the machine backwards to drain the last bit of remaining oil in the machine.
At this point you can now reattach the cap (hand tight) and fill the machine per the manufactures recommendation.
If you don’t have the original manual, don’t worry. Simply check the dip stick frequently to ensure you do not over or under fill the machine.
How often should you change the oil?
Depending on usage, the bare minimal seems to be at least once every year.
Late fall is a great time to perform this maintenance so your machine will be ready to go with fresh oil…BEFORE the snow starts to fly.
While the 10W-30 should perform just fine based on my situation.
I do plan on switching to the new 5W-30 Amsoil Small Engine Oil in the future to allow for better performance should we experience a few days of really cold temperatures or if there are any problems with starting using the 10W-30 weight.
So what oil do you use 5W, 10W or even 0W? Let me know in the comments below along with your personal experiences.
If gas and oil isn’t your thing, check out these Electronic Snowshovels here