Snowblower oil change - spring or fall?

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
3,294
381
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#1
Do you change your snowblower's oil (and you could extend this to your lawnmower) at the start or the end of the season?

I have been changing my oil at the start of the season and I have had no problems, but I'm thinking about doing it at the end of the season before I put it into storage. Fresh oil is probably way better than dirty oil sitting for seven months in the machine. My only concern is the fresh oil going bad (if that's possible) while in storage. I keep my snowblower in my garage which is fully insulated.

I'm thinking of switching to this method for snowblower storage (reverse it for lawnmower):


Winter is gone...
-Run engine until gas is depleted
-Change oil
-Store

...Winter is here...
-Change spark plug
-Fill with gas
-Blow some snow
 
Feb 4, 2009
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#2
I've always drained gas & oil in the spring, then added more gas and oil in the winter. I store it with no oil in the blower.
 

Raizinman

Platinum Member
Sep 7, 2007
2,284
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#3
Do you store in basement, garage or other? If you store in a place there a gas leak can be a problem, such as a furnace or such, then store without gas. With my snowblower empty the gas with a electric pump and then add Stabil. Then I run the snowblower until it runs out of gas.

As for changing the oil. I do this in the spring as I don't want dirty oil in the engine sitting for 6 or 7 months. Also, (like this year) I didn't use the snowblower all winter. If I had not changed the oil the old oil would then be sitting for 17 or 18 months; not good. I also tend to use Mobil 1 Synthetic.

My snowblower is a 10 HP pretty heavy duty. I also like to spray the movable parts with WD40 or other similar spray to prevent rusting.

I would not ever store it without oil in it. What happens in the winter when you are rushed to use your snow blower and you throw gas in it and start the motor. It could happen.
 
Feb 4, 2009
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#4
Do you store in basement, garage or other? If you store in a place there a gas leak can be a problem, such as a furnace or such, then store without gas. With my snowblower empty the gas with a electric pump and then add Stabil. Then I run the snowblower until it runs out of gas.

As for changing the oil. I do this in the spring as I don't want dirty oil in the engine sitting for 6 or 7 months. Also, (like this year) I didn't use the snowblower all winter. If I had not changed the oil the old oil would then be sitting for 17 or 18 months; not good. I also tend to use Mobil 1 Synthetic.

My snowblower is a 10 HP pretty heavy duty. I also like to spray the movable parts with WD40 or other similar spray to prevent rusting.

I would not ever store it without oil in it. What happens in the winter when you are rushed to use your snow blower and you throw gas in it and start the motor. It could happen.
Yeah I fear that last part. Mine has a "key" I can turn to off with tape that says "NO OIL"
 

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
3,294
381
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#5
Cool, thanks for the replies.

Raizin, any reason you use WD40 as opposed to something like lithium grease? I see it's typically recommended over WD40, at least for metal parts.
 
Jun 19, 2000
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#6
It's been covered but to add to the discussion, the combustion process introduces acids into motor oil. Leaving it in over the months it's idle can etch metal parts. While I'm not sure that is a real concern, I have always changed oil at the end of the season to start out with fresh when it's put back in use.

I see no value in storing a piece of equipment without oil in it. In fact, the film left would contain acids that would potentially damage metal parts. Better IMO to change it, start it up to let it circulate and then shut it off until next seasonal use. Coat the parts with clean fresh oil for storage.

To touch on a few things, motor oil going bad is some kind of myth. If it's been in there forever you would want to change it because of condensation. Drain the old oil and with it hopefully, whatever water has accumulated. As far as spark plugs, I have a 30 year old chainsaw with the original spark plug. That doesn't get regular use by any means. But my last mower was in use for 28 years and had the original spark plugs. If they'd needed to be changed I would have changed them. They didn't.

As far as fuel full or empty, I top everything off to reduce condensation in the tank. I have never used Stabil. Now, having said that, I learned early on that with my generator that I must close the petcock and let it run until it dies. Leaving gas in the carb will mean rebuilding the carb if it sets too long and the carburetor is a real pain to get to. I still leave that tank topped up though.

I have a 30 year old Stihl string trimmer that I haven't used in decades. I set the yard up to not require trimming many moons ago. It had dried residue in the tank the color of 2-stroke mix and hadn't been started in eight to ten years - easily. I added fuel and it took about 20 pulls to start. It started up, I was able to take the choke off and it ran and revved like a champ. I think the new owner will be happy with it.
 
Aug 30, 2000
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#7
A lot of carbs have a drain valve in the float bowl. Empty that and you're good to go.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
 

Juenter

Junior Member
May 8, 2019
1
0
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#8
I put in new oil in my snow blower this winter but I didn't get a chance to use the machine for this winter. Do I need to empty the clean oil for the summer?
 

lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
51,939
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#9
My last mower was an ~86 Deere I got used in 02. I changed the oil in it *once* using full synthetic. It was still running strong when it died last year due to fuel issues. I could have fixed it, but due to it's age and stuff broken and/or held together with tie wire, I got another new to me mower.

I wouldn't worry about it much. Change the oil, don't change the oil, whatever... I'd change it if it looks gross, and of course make sure the level's fine, but it isn't worth a lot of attention. By the time it dies, you'll be ready for a new machine anyway. I would use corn free gas if it's available. It holds up better for storage.
 
Jun 2, 2000
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#10
My two cents: The timing of when you change oil isn't as important as doing it. I do it in the spring because a whole lot more important thing is getting all the fuel out versus changing the oil.

I got my first snowblower from my father when he got too old for it. It was probably 30+ years old when I got it and it ran like a top because he took care of it. Apparently about five years after I got it I left the gas in one year. It turned to varnish over the summer, gummed up the carburetor-which was ruined even after a rebuild.

It's very important to drain the fuel out then run the engine until the rest is burnt up, even if you put fuel stabilizer in it. I always put fuel stabilizer in the gas can I use for lawn mower/snowblower/etc every time I fill the gas can. I figure the stabilizer I "waste" during busy time of summer is cheap insurance.
 

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
3,294
381
136
#11
Whoa, I forgot I created this thread! I've been changing the oil in my snowblower and mower at the end of the season, and draining the gas tank/running it dry even though I use Sta-Bil. I keep the old spark plug in until the start of the season, and then install a new one. No problems at all.

Thanks for the all the advice.
 

WilliamM2

Golden Member
Jun 14, 2012
1,642
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#12
I leave the gas in the tank with Stabil. It's a metal tank, and keeping it full stops condensation in the tank. I turn the gas valve off, and run it until it quits. As far as oil, I change every other season, and it's still so clean it's hard to see on the dipstick. I usually change it when I have time in the summer. I may replace the spark plug this year (8 years old) since I bought a new one two years ago. But maybe not, It still starts on the first pull.

Current blower is 8 years old, previous blower was 16 years old when replaced. Motor still ran like new, and started on the first pull, but everything else was failing.
 
Aug 30, 2000
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#13
So in other words you do more maintenance than probably 70% of homeowners. Sounds like a plan!
 

drifter106

Golden Member
Mar 14, 2004
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#14
put it in to where it sits with new oil during the off season. Goes for any engine....
 
May 24, 2003
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www.uovalor.com
#15
I have yet to change mine in either snow blower or lawn mower, probably should this year. Since I don't have a heated garage I pretty much would do it on any day that it's nice enough out so I'm not doing that in miserable weather. I don't think it matters TOO much but don't change the oil and then immediately try to use it, you want to let it settle.

As for gas, I try my best not to have old gas sit off season so for snow blower I will run it with gas valve turned off until it runs out of gas. I try to not fill the tank too much either so that I can put in new gas at the start of the season. I also only buy ethanol free premium gas. The snow blower gets more mileage than the lawnmower, so I just use the same gas in the lawnmower even though it's not really necessary for it.
 

Sgt. York

Senior member
Mar 27, 2016
393
127
71
#16
How long should I wait for the oil to make itself at home in my snow blower? I don't want to ask too much of it before it gets settled in.
 
May 24, 2003
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www.uovalor.com
#18
Where did you come up with that?
Experience. And common sense. If the oil is not where it needs to be and you try to run the engine you risk damaging it. Usually notable by the thick black smoke that comes out of the exhaust. :eek: Chances are it's not going to kill it or anything, but it does not hurt to give it a bit of time before you try to use it.
 
Jun 2, 2000
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#19
When putting up a snowblower, lawnmower, etc. for the season you should (after draining the fuel & changing the oil) remove the spark plug, pump an ounce of so of motor oil in the cylinder chamber, put the plug back in WITHOUT hooking back up the spark plug wire and plug the starter cord gently until the compression is tight. This coats the inside of the cylinder with oil to help prevent rust there.

When you first start the motor next season you should get a puff of oil smoke initially as that oil is burnt off. That's perfectly normal.

As far as waiting for the oil to settle I'll start doing that when those oil change places hand push your car out of the stall and advise having it sit for a while before starting it.
 

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
3,294
381
136
#20
When putting up a snowblower, lawnmower, etc. for the season you should (after draining the fuel & changing the oil) remove the spark plug, pump an ounce of so of motor oil in the cylinder chamber, put the plug back in WITHOUT hooking back up the spark plug wire and plug the starter cord gently until the compression is tight. This coats the inside of the cylinder with oil to help prevent rust there.

When you first start the motor next season you should get a puff of oil smoke initially as that oil is burnt off. That's perfectly normal.

As far as waiting for the oil to settle I'll start doing that when those oil change places hand push your car out of the stall and advise having it sit for a while before starting it.
Yeah, I do this. My string trimmer's manual said to pour a little bit of oil into the spark plug hole and pull the starter cord until the piston is at the top. For my snowblower and mower, I spray fogging oil into the spark plug hole.
 

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