Snowblower oil: The Best Oil for Snowblower Maintenance

The Best Oil for Snowblower Maintenance

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For shoppers who live in an area that receives frequent heavy snows, a snow blower is an invaluable tool for clearing the driveway or walk—but only if it’s running properly.

A high-quality motor oil can help keep a snow blower in peak condition, making it easier to start while helping it run smoothly. However, knowing which motor oil is best for each type of use can be a challenge. The best-performing oil for a snow blower flows easily through the engine, even in the coldest temperatures, without leaving deposits and grime that can make the snow blower challenging to start.

This guide shares the features that make a motor oil best for a snow blower and includes some of the best oil options on the market for snow blower maintenance.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-30 Motor Oil
  2. RUNNER-UP: Briggs & Stratton Synthetic Small Engine Motor Oil
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-30 Motor Oil
  4. BEST FOR SMALL ENGINES: Briggs & Stratton SAE 5W-30 Snow Thrower Oil
  5. MOST VERSATILE: Castrol GTX High Mileage 5W-30 Motor Oil

Photo: depositphoto. com

How We Chose the Best Oil for Snow Blower Maintenance

To provide shoppers with a list of top picks for snow blower oils, we looked at a range of reputable oil brands that produce products that are suitable to use in cold conditions. Factors taken into consideration during our research include:

Type: We found that synthetic oil is the best choice for use in snow blower motors since it can handle lower temperatures better. Plus, it resists breakdown more easily compared to conventional oils.

Viscosity: Our recommendations all feature the ideal oil viscosity for use in snow blowers, which are all variations of 5W-30. We made sure to include options that meet this specific requirement while also satisfying a range of budgets. Some shoppers may prefer a budget-friendly option for occasional snow blower use in the winter, while others may be looking for a more heavy-duty option, which comes at a slightly higher price point. Both ends of this spectrum are represented in our top picks.

Finally, most of these options are versatile enough for use in other home and garden equipment and are suitable for both cold and hot weather conditions.

Our Top Picks

These top picks feature 5W-30 motor oils that are specially formulated for cold weather use. While many of these oils feature additives that help keep engines free of harmful dirt and deposits, any of these products will help keep a snow blower engine running smoothly.



Seasonal machines, such as snow blowers, may sit idle for months before their services are needed, providing time for impurities and gunk to build up in the engine. Pennzoil’s Platinum synthetic motor oil is clear 5W-30 oil that’s made from natural gas. It washes dirt and deposits out of the engine as it passes through, helping to extend the life of the engine while ensuring that it will start when the next snowfall arrives. It can keep the engine up to 45 percent cleaner than standard oils.

Handles on the top and the bottom of the bottle allow for accurate pouring. Pennzoil Platinum, which comes in 5-quart bottles, also is a good option for changing the oil in the car.

Product Specs

  • Volume: 5 quarts
  • Configuration: 5W-30
  • Type: Synthetic


  • Great versatility; suitable for both snow blowers and car engines
  • Easy-pour bottle includes 2 handles for extra control
  • This high-quality oil can protect for long periods of time


  • Oil losses can occur when put under intense heat or friction

Get Pennzoil oil for snow blowers at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Tractor Supply Co.



This Briggs & Stratton oil is well suited for snow blowers. This 5W-30 weight oil makes an engine easier to start in extreme cold while minimizing oil consumption.

It’s a synthetic oil, which means it stays thinner at lower temperatures than standard oil and lasts longer than conventional oils. This oil is rated to last up to 5,000 hours in a snow blower. The 32-ounce bottle comes with convenient measurements on the side that allow the user to see exactly how much oil is left in the bottle.

With a high-temperature viscosity rating of 30, this oil is a good option for other 4-cycle small engines that operate in hot temperatures, including lawn mowers.

Product Specs

  • Volume: 32 fluid ounces
  • Configuration: 5W-30
  • Type: Synthetic


  • Helps maintain a clean engine for long periods
  • Suitable for use in other garden equipment, in addition to snow blowers
  • Allows the snow blower to start more smoothly


  • Quite expensive considering the smaller-size bottle

Get the Briggs & Stratton oil for snow blowers at Amazon.



Valvoline 5W-30 weight motor oil is a synthetic formula with additives that provide 50 percent more wear protection than standard motor oils. The included detergents flush sludge and harmful deposits from the engine, which is significant for small 4-cycle engines that are used only when it snows.

The oil’s low cold operating viscosity is ideal for snow blowers, while its 30-weight high-temperature viscosity rating makes it suitable for warm weather machines, such as a lawn mower. This Valvoline product comes in a 1-quart bottle, but a 5-quart bottle with a pour spout is available.

Product Specs

  • Volume: 1 quart
  • Configuration: 5W-30
  • Type: Synthetic


  • Helps prevent buildup of dirt in the engine
  • Provides excellent wear protection
  • Slightly more budget-friendly compared to similar competitors
  • Configured specifically to operate well in cold conditions; great for snow blowers


  • Bottle may leak if stored—or delivered—incorrectly

Get the Valvoline oil for snow blowers at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Tractor Supply Co.



With a 5W rating, this Briggs & Stratton engine oil, which is from one of the best-known names in small engines, is specially formulated for small engines that must operate in cold temperatures below 50 degrees. This makes it ideal for snow blowers.

This motor oil comes in a 1-quart container, and it features a handy gauge on the side that allows the user to see how much oil is left in the bottle. In addition to operating well at low temperatures, the oil has a high-temperature viscosity of 30, making it suitable for use in warmer weather motors such as power washers or lawn mowers.

Product Specs

  • Volume: 32 fluid ounces
  • Configuration: 5W-30
  • Type: Synthetic


  • Ideal for machines that work in cold temperatures
  • Reputable brand known for high-quality products
  • Specially suited for smaller engines like snow blowers


  • Quite pricey for a small bottle

Get the Briggs & Stratton oil for snow blowers at Amazon or Briggs & Stratton.



With technology designed to protect the engine and improve performance, this 5W-30 Castrol GTX Magnatec motor oil features Castrol’s sludge and wear protection additive. This technology prevents buildup in engines, extending the life of engines both large and small. It also makes it easier to get a pull-start engine up and running.

This motor oil is designed to protect the engine during start-up when the oil hasn’t circulated through the engine parts, leaving them vulnerable. This oil quickly coats the engine parts to provide protection immediately after the engine is started. This blend also features the optimal 5W oil rating for winter use and a 30 high-temperature viscosity rating for hot weather.

Product Specs

  • Volume: 5 quarts
  • Configuration: 5W-30
  • Type: Synthetic


  • Designed to provide immediate engine protection on startup
  • Can last for extended periods and still look clean
  • Suitable for both cold and hot weather conditions


  • Bottle shape may be quite awkward to fill a small snow blower

Get the Castrol oil for snow blowers at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.


What to Consider When Choosing the Best Oil for Snow Blower Maintenance

The right maintenance engine oil can make the difference between a snow blower that starts right up and one that’s sidelined with a gummed-up engine. Ahead, learn how viscosity, oil type, and other factors affect engine oil performance in a snow blower.


Gas-powered snow blowers use 4-cycle engine oil, which is oil for engines that use separate tanks for gas and oil, much like a car engine. The gas fuels the engine, while the oil lubricates it, each from its own tank. Smaller engines, such as those on a chainsaw, have a 2-cycle engine. This type of small engine uses an oil and gas mixture that goes into one tank.

Identifying the right type of engine oil is easy. The oil container has “4-cycle” or “2-cycle” clearly printed on the label. Although some 4-cycle engine oils are labeled for “small engines,” it’s actually the same oil commonly used in cars and trucks.

Don’t use 2-cycle engine oil in a snow blower, as it will not properly lubricate the engine and will damage it. The motors on electric snow blowers don’t require engine oil.


Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil. Higher viscosity oil is better at protecting and lubricating the engine when operating at high temperatures and at peak load (high RPMs). Oil with a low viscosity remains thinner at lower temperatures, promoting better flow through the engine, making it easier to start and more efficient to run.

Viscosity is based on a scale created by SAE International, formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Motor oil has two viscosity ratings:

  • The first rating—the “W” (for “winter”) after the number—represents the cold temperature viscosity. For example, an oil rated 5W flows better at lower temperatures than a 10W oil.
  • The second number indicates the high-temperature viscosity; for example, an oil with a high-temperature viscosity of 30 stays thicker at higher temperatures.

Since snow blowers operate exclusively in cold weather, they typically use SAE 5W-30 weight oil, which ensures the engine will start in cold weather. Make sure to check the maintenance section of the snow blower’s operating manual for the proper oil weight.

Synthetic vs. Standard

Not all 5W-30 engine oils are the same. Some engine oils are synthetic, which means they use higher quality base oils than conventional oils. Synthetic oils can generally withstand higher temperatures and resist breakdown better. This means synthetic oil lasts at least 50 percent longer than conventional oil, so the snow blower probably will require less-frequent maintenance.

Many synthetic oils also contain additives to help improve engine performance. Additives include detergents that flush grime and buildup from the engine parts, which helps extend engine life, and chemicals that enhance lubrication. Other additives leave a coating on the engine parts. Synthetic oils are generally more expensive, often costing several times more than conventional oils.


The 4-cycle engine oil that snow blowers use is the same oil used in any 4-cycle engine, which means it also can be used in lawn mowers, power washers, and even cars and trucks. The 5W-30 oil provides adequate protection not only during the colder months but also in warmer months, thanks to a high-temperature viscosity rating.

Engine oil generally comes in 1-quart bottles, ideal for snow blowers that hold around that much. Motor oil also comes in 5-quart containers.

With a shelf life of about five years, 5W-30 oil can be stored in the garage so it’s on hand when needed. Keep motor oil in a cool, dry environment in a tightly sealed container to prevent contamination.


Now that you know more about oil for snow blowers, you may have additional questions. To learn about the best type of oil for your snow blower, keep reading for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about snow blower engine oil.

Q. Can I use synthetic oil in my snow blower?

Yes, synthetic oil can be used, and it may be the best oil for a snow blower. Synthetic oils are refined to run cleaner, leaving fewer deposits in the engine. Many also include additives that clean grime and sludge from the engine to improve performance.

Q. Can I use car oil in my snow blower?

Yes. Snow blowers, like cars, are 4-cycle engines, so they use the same type of motor oil. Make sure to use a motor oil weight with a low-temperature viscosity rating, such as 5W-30.

Q. How do I know which oil is the right one for my snow blower?

Snow blowers operate in frigid temperatures, so the most important factor to consider is viscosity. Use motor oil with a low-temperature viscosity rating, such as 5W-30 or 5W-20, to ensure the snow blower starts easily and runs smoothly.

Q. What happens if I put too much oil in my snow blower?

Adding too much oil to a snow blower, or any 4-cycle engine, will cause the oil to rise and come in contact with other moving parts around the engine, aerating the oil and creating a huge mess.

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How to Mix Fuel & Oil for Your 2-Cycle Snow Blower

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  4. Snow Blower 2-Cycle Oil Ratio: Learn the Recommended 2-Stroke Oil Mix


What is the proper 2-stroke fuel and oil mix for a single-stage snow thrower?

Two-cycle (or 2-stroke) engines require a mixture of fuel and oil be added to the fuel tank. This mixture results in both engine combustion and lubrication. Operating a 2-Stroke engine on gasoline alone will result in engine failure.

If your your snow blower was built after 2006, it’s unlikely that it has a 2-cycle engine. As a precaution, refer to the gas cap. The manufacturer will usually have the recommended fuel octane, and, if it’s a 2-stroke engine, the Fuel / Oil ratio (e.g. 40:1) printed directly on the cap.

MTD two-cycle snow throwers use a 50:1 ratio of gasoline to 2-cycle oil, which is one gallon of gasoline to 2.5 oz of 2-cycle oil. 


Calculate the Correct 2-cycle oil ratio

Refer to the chart before fueling to make sure you’re using the correct 2-cycle fuel and oil mixture:

Mixing Ratio (Gas:Oil)

Volume of Gasoline

Volume of 2-Cycle Oil

32:1 1 US gal. (128 oz) 4 oz.
40:1 1 US gal. (128 oz) 3.2 oz. 
50:1 1 US gal. (128 oz) 2.6 oz.
32:1 1 liter 31.25 ml
40:1 1 liter 25 ml
50:1 1 liter 20 ml


Mixing the 2-cycle oil and fuel mixture

Pour the 2-cycle oil to an empty gasoline can before adding one gallon of fresh gasoline into the can. No additional agitation is necessary. If the mixture may be stored for more than 30 days, include a fuel stabilizer to the gasoline before mixing to help increase its shelf life.

Label the gas can containing the 2-cycle oil mixture, to prevent accidentally using it in other equipment, such as your lawn mower.

WARRANTY ADDENDUM. IMPORTANT: This addendum defines the start of the warranty period. The applicable Warranty Period will begin on the original date of purchase of the Product or on the date of delivery of the Product, whichever is later.

Oils and maintenance of small snowplows.

There is a lot of snow in Russia and today there are a lot of devices for cleaning it. Today we will not talk about shovels, but about simple mechanized cleaning methods available to most country owners. We are talking about snow blowers built on the basis of gasoline engines, or small diesel engines. Yes, do not be surprised, diesels are also installed on small snowplows.

What are the features of snow blower engines? Everything is simple and common for garden equipment in general. Gasoline engines are identical to those used in lawn mowers and power generators. There is only one difference, a slightly larger engine displacement, respectively, and power, since snow creates a significant load. There are also electric (even battery) devices, but not all of them are able to clean the yard or parking space, and the wires become tan in the cold. So there is no alternative to powerful devices with internal combustion engines. Snowblower engines are built traditionally and even conservatively for 4-stroke engines. Air cooling, starting with an electric starter or cable, 2 valves in the cylinder head, driven by a lower camshaft (such engines usually have an OHV inscription on the cover), there is no separate oil pump, its role is played by a scoop on the lower connecting rod bearing, and there is no oil filter, respectively. Gasoline supply by gravity, to the carburetor. Everything is simple and reliable. Advanced models have a start lock when the engine oil level is low. The engine oil is changed on average once every 100 hours (at the same time, the oil in the auger drive gearbox is changed), and the first change after running in is 20 hours.

What are the features of snow blower oil? Due to the traditional design of engines, the oil does not need any super properties, but there are certain specifics.

The first is the absence of an oil pump in the engine, and therefore, the oil must have a relatively low working viscosity in order to better penetrate by gravity to the parts. That is, it is recommended to use an oil of 30 viscosity according to SAE, which is quite liquid at operating temperatures by modern standards. The low temperature of the use of snow blowers dictates the requirements for low-temperature properties, so the winter oil class should be 5W, that is, to ensure engine start up to -35°C. Thus, snowblowers require a synthetic oil with a viscosity grade of SAE 5W-30.

Secondly, snow blower engines are air-cooled, so the oil must have an increased margin of safety against overheating and simply high temperatures. Do not be surprised, winter equipment heats up quite strongly.

Third – the oil must be universal gasoline / diesel , among snow blowers there are options with diesel engines, and they are equipped with particulate filters built into the muffler. This type of technology requires oil with a modified additive package, the so-called low-ash. And for gasoline instances, the reduced ash content of the oil is only beneficial: when the oil burns, there is less solid residue that can increase the abrasive wear of the engine. Such oils are classified as ACEA C2 or C3.

For ease of selection, snow blower oil Garten-Wintergerate-Oil 5W-30 with a special label

Engine oil in the snow blower changes according to the regulations specified in the instruction manual, deviations are undesirable, and seasonal specifics are also added. In most regions of Russia, snow blowers are not used in the summer and they must be mothballed. At the same time, it is highly undesirable for old oil to splash in the crankcase during downtime. Rather, it did not splash, but settled, leaving wear and oxidation products on the walls, in short, sludge. Therefore, you should not only just change the oil, but also flush the engine oil system. For this, a special additive for motorcycles is used – Motorbike Engine Flush, one bottle of which is enough for an oil volume of 4.5 liters.

How to change the oil in a snow blower? The procedure is simpler than in a car, no lift or pit is needed, no need to change the oil filter.

The first is to warm up the engine to operating temperature.

Second, fill in the flushing compound and let the engine run for exactly ten minutes.

Third, drain the old oil using the drain plug (usually two, on each side of the engine) or remove the oil with a large syringe through the filler neck. The latter method allows you to spill less mining on the floor.

Fourth, fill in fresh oil and run the engine again for a few minutes to distribute the new oil throughout the engine.

Simultaneously with the engine, it is customary to change the oil in the snow blower gearbox. But here it is necessary to open the instructions and determine what the gearbox is lubricated with, since a grease that does not need to be replaced is put into budget models during production. You can distinguish such a gearbox by the presence of a grease fitting on its body, the so-called “grease maker”. If there is no grease fitting, but there is a filler plug, then any gear oil should be used, for example: Liqui Moly Motorbike Gear Oil Scooter 80W-90.

This is a gear oil in a small but very handy package with a thin filling spout. Its presence allows you not to use a funnel or syringe to fill the unit.

The snow blower in its “life” warms up to the operating temperature of the engine and cools down to street temperature a huge number of times. This leads to the formation of a large amount of condensate, and to active icing of the entire structure. To reduce the amount of condensation and adhering snow, you should regularly treat the exterior of all parts of the snow blower with a water-repellent spray, which is an excellent penetrating lubricant Liqui Moly LM 40 Multi-Funktions-Spray.

The same lubricant will prevent corrosion, freezing of cables, prevent aging of plastic and ensure the movement of parts. It is enough to spray the spray on the outer parts of the equipment and wipe off the excess with a rag.

In winter, the snow blower engine does not always start easily. The Start Fix engine starting tool will help to significantly facilitate the start of the snow blower engine; it helps to quickly start the engine at a negative temperature, in damp conditions, with a low battery, flooded spark plugs, and irregular fuel supply.

A modern snow blower is a rather expensive type of equipment, therefore, competent and timely maintenance using high-quality lubricants guarantees its serviceability and a long service life. All of the above products are convenient to purchase in shops specializing in motorcycle equipment, since the specifications of power and motorcycle equipment are close.

Snow blower oil change

The use of high-quality lubricants is essential to ensure that gasoline-powered snowplows operate flawlessly and perform well. The condition and degree of wear of the main working units of the snow blower directly depends on the characteristics of the oil. If you use low-quality products, the engine and transmission will quickly overheat, and this will lead to spontaneous shutdown of the equipment, failure of important working mechanisms. Use certified lubricants, keep an eye on the oil level, top up and change it if necessary.

Why fill snowplows with oil?

Lubricants for engines are designed to lubricate mechanisms and parts that are in constant motion. In addition, oily fluids perform a number of other important functions:

  • protection of metal elements against corrosion damage;
  • prevention of the formation of burrs and other defects on the surface of parts that impair the performance of mechanisms;
  • ensuring the necessary speed and smooth operation of the main angles and units;
  • neutralization of the negative effects of temperature changes and high humidity.

The properties of the lubricant determine whether it is capable of performing certain functions. Practice shows that the use of high-quality lubricant increases the working life of parts by 2-3 times.

Snow blower oil selection

The range of automotive oils is impressive. Manufacturers offer products with different specifications. Means differ in cost, properties, consistency, composition. When buying oil, consider the operating conditions, the temperature regime of the region, as well as the recommendations of the manufacturer of snowplows. Consider the main types of lubricating fluids that can be poured into a snow blower engine.


Lubricant is obtained during the distillation of oil. Oils of this type contain sulfur, and this significantly increases the susceptibility of metal parts to the oxidation process. Give preference to products with a sulfur content of less than 1%. Mineral oils are affordable, but they provide a low level of protection against external influences. It is not recommended to use products from this category for pouring into premium models engines.


Products of this type are obtained by mixing mineral and synthetic oils in a ratio of 70% to 30%. Lubricants contain special components that improve the properties of liquids. For snow blowers, such oils are better than mineral oils, however, their cost is slightly higher.


Lubricants of this type are more expensive than others, but they have excellent performance properties. If you are faced with the question of how to lubricate the engine of a snow blower, synthetic oil is by far the best choice. High-tech raw materials are used for manufacturing. The composition contains anti-corrosion, anti-foam additives, as well as components that provide metal parts with a high level of protection against overheating, premature wear, carbon deposits on the surface, etc. Synthetic-type products are consumed much more slowly than semi-synthetic and mineral oils. The only disadvantage of synthetic lubricants is the rather high cost.


Universal oils can be used for operation in different weather conditions. They contain special components that prevent freezing at low temperatures and boiling at high ones. The most popular products in this category include:

  • Oregon SAE 30 – high-quality lubricant, economically consumed, contains a complex of cleaning additives, thanks to which components and mechanisms are maintained in a clean state;
  • Ravenol Shneefraese 4-Takt 5W-30 is a high performance product that provides metal parts with reliable protection against premature wear, abrasion, corrosion damage;
  • Craftsman SAE 5W-30 is a universal oil that reduces noise during operation, cleans surfaces from carbon deposits, and is compatible with various models of snow blowers;
  • MTD SAE 5W-30 is a German-made product that demonstrates a high degree of protection of engine elements from damage, wear, corrosion, does not form sludge and deposits.

There are branded lubricants made by snow blower manufacturers on the market. Such lubricants are designed specifically for pouring into the engines of snowplows. So companies such as Husqvarna, Champion and Hammerflex produce their own oils.

Oil brand selection

What kind of oil should be poured into a snow blower? When buying a lubricant, we take into account not only the type of material, but also its brand. It determines in which weather conditions the product can be used. 10W30 and 10W40 are semi-synthetic oils that can be used if the snow blower operates in temperatures down to -20 degrees. 5W30 – winter oil, suitable for operation at temperatures up to -30 degrees.

How often to change the oil?

The first change should be made after 5 hours of snowplow operation. This is the so-called running-in machine. It plays a particularly important role in cases where intensive, frequent operation of the snow blower is expected. The next replacement depends on the specifications of the model.

Read the operating manual, there should be a maintenance manual for the snow blower, which, in particular, indicates the period of time after which the oil needs to be changed. If there is no instruction manual, follow these recommendations: for intensive use, replace every 50 hours, for moderate use of the snow blower, once a season.

Snow blower oil change algorithm

The performance of snowplows depends not only on the characteristics of the selected lubricant, but also on whether the replacement is carried out correctly. The presence and level of fluid should be checked before each start-up. We change the used engine oil in the snow blower engine according to the following algorithm:

  1. Start the engine and let it run for 10 minutes at idle or at low speed. So the working fluid heats up and flows out of the tank more easily.
  2. Turn off the engine. We put a container under the drain hole of the tank and carefully drain the waste liquid. We twist the lid.
  3. Unscrew the filler cap, pour in fresh lubricant. How much to pour? We monitor the amount of oil in the tank with a dipstick.

Do not change the lubricant in the cold. We carry out work in a dry, heated room, where the temperature regime fluctuates between + 5-15 degrees. Install the snow blower on a flat surface, preferably on a hill. When changing car oil, make sure that dirt, dust, snow and other impurities do not get into the tank, as this will certainly affect the subsequent operation of the equipment. Use an old sieve or other lubricant filter device.

Gear oil

It is not enough to change the oil in the engine itself. The lubricant in the gearbox is also subject to periodic replacement. This element is intermediate between the motor and the auger of the snowplow. Gearboxes are divided into two categories: serviced and unattended. If the mechanism is serviceable, in the event of a breakdown, it can be disassembled, repaired or the oil changed in it to restore normal operation. If maintenance-free, you will have to buy and install a new gearbox.

To lubricate the gearbox, we use gear oil, which is characterized by high resistance to low temperatures. Choose products from trusted manufacturers, as they combine the optimal consistency and balanced component composition. The lubricant must contain a set of additives that provide components with protection against wear and corrosion.

Instructions for changing the oil in the gearbox:

  1. Remove the shroud from the radiator. Carefully remove the cable that is responsible for driving the auger.
  2. Remove the auger belt from the pulley.
  3. We unscrew the screws responsible for fixing the drive shaft.
  4. Removing the auger and impeller.
  5. Unscrew 6 more screws to completely disassemble the gearbox.
  6. We remove the remains of the old transmission oil. For high-quality cleaning of the gearbox elements, you can soak it in gasoline and leave it for a day.