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How to change snow blower oil

2/20/2019 6:00:00 AM


By: By Aaron Abler, Email Marketing & Content Specialist,

Do you know when to change your snow blower oil?

Why oil changes are important

One of oil's unique properties is that the degradation and contamination of engine oil is unavoidable regardless of its use light, normal or extreme conditions. Its quick degradation means it's important to change regularly, because operating with dirty or degraded oil puts an engine at risk for inefficient operation, hefty repair bills, or even a trip to the junkyard. On the other hand, performing regular engine oil changes helps ensure reliability, strong performance and a protection of your investment.

Detailed instructions for changing the oil in your snow blower are listed in the engine manual for your unit, but we condensed those steps into easy-to-understand highlights below. Changing snow blower oil is easy and inexpensive.

How to change engine oil

  1. Run the engine for a couple minutes to warm the oil.
  2. Stop the unit, remove the key and move the unit to a flat, level surface.
  3. Wait for hot parts to cool, then remove the spark plug wire from the engine.
  4. Position an oil drain pan below the oil drain plug.
  5. Remove the oil drain plug and allow oil to drain.
  6. When oil stops draining, reinstall the drain plug and tighten.
  7. Remove the cap from the oil fill port and fill your engine with the correct oil type (usually 5W-30 for snow blowers) and quantity. Click here to buy snow blower oil.
  8. Reinstall the cap / dipstick.
  9. Remove the dipstick and confirm the oil level is adequate, according to the markings on the dipstick.
  10. Reinstall the dipstick / fill port cap and reinstall the spark plug wire.
  11. Start the unit and run the engine for a few minutes to verify no oil is leaking.

 

Continue reading to learn what happens to oil throughout its lifecycle in your snow blower engine.

Small engine repair

Cars, trucks, motorcycles and outdoor power equipment – anything with an internal combustion engine needs regular maintenance. This equipment requires maintenance at different times of the year, with one of the most important items on that checklist being completing regularly scheduled oil changes.

Good news for consumers is that small engine oil changes are much less involved than that of a vehicle, meaning there’s no excuse to neglect your snow blower engine.

What engine oil does

Oil is sensitive, and it has a very important purpose. For starters, oil’s viscosity, or slippery properties, allow the tight-fitting, precision engineered parts of an engine to slide past each other at thousands of revolutions per minute. By reducing the amount of friction between those fast-moving, intricate parts, your engine uses less effort and operates more efficiently.

Oil also acts as a heat transfer. After cycling through the engine, it carries damaging heat away from those fast-moving parts and into the oil sump where it cools before recycling through the oil system.

Snow blower break in

Oil becomes extremely contaminated during an engine’s first two hours of use, or the “break-in” period. Certain engine components, though engineered and manufactured to precise tolerances, aren’t a perfect fit. By design, the wall of a new engine cylinder has peaks; it’s not perfectly smooth at a microscopic level.

As the piston moves rapidly up and down that new cylinder, the piston’s rings file the peaks and deposit metallic contaminants into the oil system.

How does engine oil get dirty?

As shown in our video, oil going in looks a lot different than oil coming out. Fresh oil has a warm, unsullied, golden appearance, whereas oil coming out is blackened. So what happened to it?

Intake, compression, power, exhaust. Those are the four cycles of most gasoline engines produced today. As an engine piston moves down, it intakes air and gasoline in to the engine cylinder. The piston then moves up to compress the fuel / air mixture, which combusts and then powers the piston down the engine cylinder and then back up again where it expels exhaust produced from combustion. During the combustion phase, small amounts of soot are created and circulated throughout your oil system, darkening the color of the oil.

While oil discoloration and soot is normal and not a cause for concern, soot particles cluster and become larger after multiple uses of your snow blower. If these contaminates grow large enough, they can cause engine wear.

Do snow blowers have oil filters?

Generally, snow blower engines, including Ariens snow blowers, do not have engine oil filters. Not an issue for a machine that is used less frequently than a lawn mower engine or a car, but that’s all the more reason to make sure the contaminates in your oil system are flushed regularly with an oil change.

How does water get in oil?

While a snow blower is running, it's oil heats to temperatures greater than 200 degrees Fahrenheit. After the engine stops, the temperature cools to temperature of the area where you store your snow blower. That may be an area kept at room temperature, or it could be an outdoor shed exposed to subzero temperatures. In any case, the warming and cooling across a broad range of temperatures allows water condensation to form inside the engine.

If your snow blower is used for long enough periods, its engine will heat to a temperature capable of burning the moisture that collects in the oil system. However, if your snow blower is only used for short periods of time, your engine may not become hot enough to boil away the moisture, leaving water in your oil system.

Water left in the oil system not only corrodes the steel components in your engine, but it also dilutes the rating and the effectiveness of the oil.

How engine oil degrades

Of the many factors that contribute to the deterioration of engine oil, mere contact with the air can break it down, or “oxidize” it over time. When heat is added to the equation, the process is accelerated.

As oxidation occurs, oil becomes more viscous and eventually turns into a sludge. Oil viscosity, or rating of slipperiness, may start at 5W-30 (as an example) but the oxidation renders its viscosity below the engine manufacturer's specification. Oil change intervals defined by the manufacturer in the engine manual are based on calculations of when the oil is expected to deteriorate below its original condition. If the same oil is used beyond that interval, it becomes less effective at protecting your critical snow blower engine parts.

Changing snow blower oil

The best solution for protecting your engine is by changing the oil at the frequencies defined in your engine manual. First, immediately after the two-hour break in period, then at the regular intervals after engine break-in is complete. For added assurance, you can change your oil more often than recommended if used in an area of higher contamination or extreme conditions.

If you prefer performing oil changes on your own, you can complete the procedure in as little as twenty minutes in your own garage at the bare minimum expense of a few dollars in fresh oil. Just remember to follow the instruction provided in your engine manual and dispose of or recycle old oil appropriately. Oil changes shouldn’t be approached with a one-size-fits-all mentality.

Engines of different sizes and manufacturers require different oil quantities, types, ratings and filters and should be performed at the intervals outlined by the manufacturer, which is why it’s important to reference the engine manual beforehand.

Above all, make sure this critical maintenance procedure isn't forgotten.

If you prefer assistance changing your oil, you can find your nearest Ariens dealer and have them do it for you. If you would like to purchase Ariens snow blower engine oil, you can find it at your nearest Ariens dealer or at our online parts store.

Remember to wear your safety glasses

1/31/2019 6:00:00 AM


By: Aaron Abler, Email Marketing & Content Specialist,

using a snow blower safey with proper clothing 

How to use lawn mowers and snow blowers safely in 2019​​

As a family-owned brand, Ariens values the importance of our family members, which is why we understand your importance to your family members. We value each other, and that's why we believe you can never be too safe when operating a lawn mower or snow blower.

Though the safety practices outlined ahead apply to both lawn mowers and snow blowers, we'll use this opportunity to focus more on snow blower safety since we're still caught in the middle of winter. Just know that the content in this post isn't a substitute for the details listed in the operator's manual for your unit. We strongly recommend reading the safety instructions located in the front pages of your operator's manual in their entirety before operating your outdoor power equipment. For sake of brevity, we'll quickly skim some of the safety highlights here.

Clear the driveway

That's the objective, but before you clear the sidewalk and driveway, you first need to clear the driveway from any ice skates, hockey sticks, rocks, frozen newspapers and other obstructions that could get caught in the auger and impeller. Survey the entire clearing area and think about what could be hidden under that fresh blanket of snow. It's especially helpful if you marked the perimeter of your driveway before the season—think about that for next year.

Not only could an obstruction damage your unit, but they could get tossed from the impeller and projected toward another person or property and cause injury or damage.

Keep the kids inside

It's extremely dangerous for kids to be outside during snow clearing. As an operator, your attention is devoted to the task at hand and less on anyone who wanders into the clearing area, making it possible for pets and small children who enter the clearing area to be unseen and unheard. This risk is even greater with blowing snow and during nighttime operation.

If you're a parent who likes taking their children for rides when cutting the grass, we know it's because you like spending time with your kids and giving them fun experiences, but we strongly urge you to keep them far away from outdoor power equipment while in use. The only surefire way to prevent tragic accidents involving kids, pets and outdoor power equipment is by keeping them inside under and the watchful eye of a responsible adult.

using a snow blower safey with proper clothing 

Clothes

When considering your attire for clearing snow, it's most important to make sure loose clothing and hair is neatly tucked close to your body to help prevent it from getting caught in moving parts. Additionally, make sure you’re wearing clothing that's adequate for the season. There’s no sense risking hypothermia over a clean driveway.

Quality winter boots with good traction, goggles and hearing protection are highly recommended. Ariens makes quiet snow blowers, but no outdoor power equipment with an internal combustion engine is quiet enough for you to skip the earplugs or earmuffs. Prolonged exposure to noise that may seem quiet enough can actually be loud enough to damage your hearing over time. Don't think that it couldn't happen to you.

You'll also want to use protective eyewear. Simple protective goggles may help prevent a rogue ice chunk or piece of asphalt from flying into your eyes and injuring them, but a quality pair of ski goggles are best for superior coverage, comfort and visibility.

Practice situational awareness

Take pauses every now and again to scan your clearing area, and, if you see a cause for concern, stop the engine, remove the key and wait for all moving parts to stop before leaving the operator’s position, and correcting the situation.

Being alert is especially important when operating near a roadway, whether it's busy or not. We've all seen the news stories of the police officer or tow truck driver struck by a distracted or impaired driver when stopped on roads with busy traffic. If some drivers can’t see flashing emergency lights during a dry summer day, there’s no way they'll see you walking into the roadway in the middle of a blizzard at dark, even if you have a bright orange snow blower with a headlight. Always operate with caution.

Operating while intoxicated

This goes for your snow blower, too. Just don't. Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never acceptable, regardless of the machinery you're operating because it can put yourself and others in harms way. Remember the alertness bit? There's no way you can remain alert to everything happening in your work area when operating under the influence.

using a snow blower safey with cleanout tool 

Snow Clogs

We saved the most important highlight for last. If you cleared snow in the past, you'll know that in certain conditions, mainly wet and heavy snow, your discharge chute may become clogged. If this happens, stop the engine immediately. You may think it to be harmless to simply clear it with your hand, but this could be the worst mistake of your life.

If your chute becomes clogged, follow these steps, and nothing but these steps in the following order before attempting to clear a clogged discharge chute:

      Stop the engine.
      Remove the key from the ignition.
      Wait for all moving parts to stop.

After those three items are complete, and ONLY after those items are complete, you may then remove the clean-out tool from the top of the auger housing and use it to clear the clog. If a clean-out tool isn't included with your unit, use a different suitable device such as a broomstick. Never use your hand to clear the clog, even after the engine has been stopped. When finished, return your clean-out tool to its appropriate location, restart the engine and resume your work.

Ariens owner manual

For a detailed list of safety practices, we strongly suggest reviewing the safety section of your Sno-Thro operator’s manual. A paper copy is included with every unit and digital copies are available for free download at ariens.com.

Ariens® partners with U.S. Biathlon team

1/28/2019 6:00:00 AM


By: Aaron Abler, Email Marketing & Content Specialist,

An American brand lends support to an American team on a growing American stage

A logical partner

For the 2018—2019 season, the Ariens brand will follow the U.S. Olympic Biathlon team along the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup tour in the Alps, Scandinavia, the U.S. and Canada. As the A​riens name travels throughout the competition circuit, it will provide increased brand exposure to some of the snowiest regions of the world and offer a solution for those who experience apocalyptic snowfalls year over year.

 

"The Ariens brand is proud to partner with the U.S. Biathlon, a longstanding successful team,"" said AriensCo Chairman and CEO Dan Ariens. "This partnership offers us the opportunity to get the Ariens name in front of consumers in key winter markets, both in the U.S. and especially in Europe."

The Ariens brand, which was born during the heat of the Great Depression, has been an American symbol of endurance and strength for over 85 years, making it the ideal partner for a team of strong athletes with the endurance to not only be competitive, but to grow the popularity of biathlon in the United States.

 

 

"The partnership with Ariens provides our athletes with an opportunity to build our brands together through the global World Cup tour," said U.S. Biathlon President and CEO Max Cobb.

Much like the characteristics of our landmark product, the Ariens Sno-Thro®, our partnership is designed to clear a path for the team's journey to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The support from Ariens this season will help the team stay competitive and build up to a strong showing in Beijing.

What is biathlon?

If you're unfamiliar with biathlon, you’ll know it better as the sport where competitors race through a trail on Nordic, cross-country-style skis with a bolt-action .22 rifle strapped to their back. Competition is composed of a demanding cross-country ski race incorporated with either two or four stops to shoot at five 115-millimeter targets placed 50 meters down range from competitors' shooting positions. Once the targets are cleared, the skier races to the next stop and eventually, the finish line.

 

 

 

Endurance required

Participation in this sport doesn't come easy. The display of extreme physical exertion displayed by these athletes during competition does no justice to the actual amount of effort required to be competitive in the IBU. According to the website of the U.S. Olympic Biathlon team, the physically demanding sport of cross-country skiing combined with the need to keep steady hand and controlled breathing in the shooting lane is among the most disciplined in the world. Even with hearts beating up to three times per second, these athletes are expected to hold steady enough to be precise in their marksmanship.

 

Follow the U.S. Biathlon team

The U.S. Biathlon Team has been posting strong athletic results in recent years and has been helping grow the nationwide interest in the sport so much that this year marks its strongest domestic broadcast and streaming schedule. Additionally, the IBU World Cup will return to Utah's Soldier Hollow Olympic venue for the first time since 2001, making it even more special for involvement with the strong, American Ariens brand.

 

The U.S. Biathlon team, which trains competitors for five different competition classes, is running the full competition circuit throughout the globe. Competitions are ongoing through late March and are broadcast through various NBC Sports channels on television and online.

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