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How to Change Snow Blower Oil

12/22/2022 9:20:51 AM

If you are like most people, oil in your snow blower is a lot like air – you tend not to think about it until you don’t have any.  And if this is you, you aren’t alone.  Many people seem to pull out their Sno-Thro® at the beginning of the season, fill it up with gas, and let it rip.  At the end of the year, they park it and forget it until winter.  But your Sno-Thro® has engine oil to keep its engine internals running smoothly and, much like your car, it requires changing every so often to keep it clean and working.  The good news is doing an oil change on your machine is surprisingly simple and you can do it at home with a just a couple common tools.  We even have oil change kits on our website for you!  By the time you are done, you’ll feel like you are ready for a pit crew at the Indy 500!

First, you will want to gather up the tools you will need.
•    Set of basic open-ended wrenches
•    Drain pan (something to catch the used oil in)
•    Funnel (this is optional but highly recommended)
•    Shop towels or a couple paper towels (again optional but highly recommended)

It should go without saying but always make sure you are performing maintenance in a safe environment, especially since you will be running the machine for a moment here.  And always dispose of used oil properly – many auto parts stores or city recycling centers will take it, down the drain or in the trash, not so much.  

One trick I do before an oil change is run the unit for a few minutes, just enough to warm it up.  This helps the oil drain easier.  It also makes it hot (duh) so be careful.  Rule of thumb, if you let the machine run for about five minutes and then let it cool down for five, that seems to be the sweet spot, just be careful around a hot engine.  Also – one other safety tip, unplug the spark plug after you shut it down.  My dad used to make me do this before changing sheer pins and its always stuck with me (good tip if you are changing lawn mower blades too).  No spark – engine can’t run; peace of mind the machine won’t start while you work (or that you don’t start a machine with no oil in it – been there too).

Out with the old:

At the lower back of the unit, under the handlebars, is a horizontal metal tube with a plug at the end.  This is the drain tube.  Make sure your catch pan is underneath this first and slowly loosen the plug.  Once it is almost off, use your fingers to reduce the chance you drop it in the oil.  And yes, many people drop it in, you just dig it out and wipe it off (this is what all those towels are for).  You can tip the machine back a bit to make sure it all drains out if you want, or just sit and wait.  Maybe I should have added a reading book to the supply list …
Once the flow has slowed from a trickle to a drip to basically nothing, wipe the end of the tube with a towel and carefully insert the plug and snug down with your fingers.  It is easy to strip the threads if you start with a wrench so just use your fingers here.  Once it is finger tight, use the wrenches to snug it up that last bit, probably not much more than a half-turn or so – you’ll feel it get tight.

In with the new!

Every unit uses a unique oil spec and quantity so check your owner’s manual for the correct information.  Find the oil dipstick on top of the engine.  It has a yellow cap and an oil can symbol on it (if you don’t know what that symbol is, it looks kind of like the magic lamp from Aladdin, and if you don’t know what that is, watch the movie, its great!)  Remove the dipstick and wipe it off and put a clean funnel in the tube.  Carefully pour in the oil until you’ve poured in the amount required.  Remove the funnel and reinsert the dipstick.  

Always check your work – just like math class

Make sure the dipstick is in all the way and then remove it.  You will notice some lines on the end of the stick, you should see oil on those lines.  Don’t get too hung up on if its at the top verses in the middle, just so long as its not at the bottom and not overfilled.  I usually wipe it off and check a second time just to be sure, but its not required.  Once you are confident oil is refilled to the proper amount, replace the dipstick and you are all set.  Remember to plug the spark plug back in or you will be trying forever to start the machine and won’t know why it won’t fire.  

Believe it or not, that’s all there is.  Now that we’ve got you contemplating quitting your day-job and doing oil changes full time, you are ready to go out and tackle winter yet again with your freshly serviced machine!  If reading isn’t your thing and you skipped down here to find the “short cut”, here is a link to our YouTube video where Aaron from Ariens (yes, that’s his real name) takes you through these exact steps.  Still not feeling like this is a job for you?  Not to worry, our dealer locator tool can help you find an Authorized Service Center and they will do all the work for you.  Or, if you REALLY hate oil changes, shop online for a new model for this season; they come from the factory with fresh oil already!


Nik Krueger, AriensCo Product Manager – Snow
A Wisconsin native, Nik is no stranger to snow. Growing up in an Ariens household, his first experience with a Sno-Thro was being promoted from shovel to ST824 as a kid. As the product manager for all Ariens Snow products since 2021, Nik has enjoyed being part of continuing to grow the Ariens heritage and product line. When his driveway (and the neighbors’) is clear, he enjoys time snow skiing, snowboarding, and tubing with his kids.