Oil filters are essential for the smooth running of a car, but do snow blowers have oil filters?
It is an interesting question, as you might assume an oil filter is vital for any working piece of machinery.
And you don’t want your snow blower to let you down in the middle of a snow storm right?
So let’s find out the whole story about snow blowers and oil filters…
Do Snow Blowers Have Oil Filters?
Snow blowers do not have oil filters. This is primarily because the frequency with which they are used does not justify one, and because they are used in snowy conditions where there is very little dirt or dust for an oil filter to filter out.
What Does An Oil Filter Do?
Before we dive into the main question, let’s quickly consider the job of an oil filter.
As the name suggests it removes contaminants from oil that can accumulate over time.
So in essence, its job is to keep your oil clean.
And that is very important because if you run an engine without an oil filter the oil will attract hard particles that will wear the internal parts of your engine or could get lodged in the engine and stop it working.
So a snow blower must have an oil filter right?
Why Do Snow Blowers Not Have Oil Filters?
So there we go, after bigging up the importance of oil filters the fact is very few snow blowers have them.
But why don’t they?
Well, there are a few reasons:
- They Are Used Very Infrequently (For 90% Of People).
Unlike a car or a riding lawn mower, snow blowers are not used that regularly. Even if you live in an area that has bad winters, there might only be three or four months of the year your snow blower will be regularly in use. This low usage means the oil will take much longer to get contaminated with dirt and dust.
- They Are Not Used In Dusty Conditions
Think about the conditions in which you use a car, or a riding mower. Then think about the conditions in which you use a snow blower. They are quite different right? Snow blowers are not used in dusty conditions, they are usually used in dry, winter air, which is very clean. Thus there is less need for an oil filter.
- There Is No Oil Pump
Ok, oil is being pumped to the necessary parts of a snow blower, but there is no pressurized oil pump pushing oil through a filter. And for the low usage a snow blower gets it doesn’t make sense to add one.
- Snow Could Build Up On An Oil Filter
Finally, there is the fact that if an oil filter was to be added to a snow blower, snow and ice could easily build up on it and freeze over it, which would choke the motor.
So as you can see, it really doesn’t make sense to have an oil filter on a snow blower.
The conditions they are used in don’t warrant it, and adding an oil filter would push up the cost and potentially introduce a number of running problems.
What this does mean is that you need to make sure you take care of the oil that is in the snow blower.
That means changing it regularly. If you don’t, even though snow blowers are used in relatively clean conditions, over time dirt and grime will build up in the oil and could damage the engine.
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How Often Should You Change the Oil in Your Snow Blower?
The easiest and most reliable answer to this is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in the manual.
If you can’t find the manual, there are a few guidelines that are generally considered to be good practice when it comes to changing the oil on a snow blower.
If the Snow Blower Is Brand New
If you have just bought a brand new snow blower, most manufacturers will recommend the first oil change is made within the first 20 hours of use.
That is because this initial oil change will remove the metal particles remaining from the manufacturing process that could contaminate the oil.
In short, it helps your snow blower run in.
If Your Snow Blower Isn’t Brand New
Once you have had your snow blower for at least one season, then the commonly held principle is that the oil should be changed every 50 hours of use at the very least.
Like many people, however, I will always drain the oil out of my snow blower (and any small engine) at the end of the season before I put it away for storage.
Then the following season I add new oil and am good to go for another winter.
How Do You Know If the Oil in Your Snow Blower Needs Changing?
Aside from the guidance given above, there are a few key indicators when it is time to change the oil in your snow blower.
First of all your dipstick is a key ally in not only checking oil levels but also oil quality.
The oil on your dipstick should look smooth and clear. If it is dark, sludgy, has deposits on it or smells nasty then it is time to change the oil in your snow blower.
Other signs that oil has been in your snow blower for too long are a machine that runs hotter, is noisier and not as smooth, and a distinct lack of power.
Put simply if you are using your snow blower and it just doesn’t feel right, then it might be time to change its oil.
How Do You Change the Oil on Your Snow Blower?
Changing the oil on a snow blower might vary slightly from model to model, but if you follow the below steps it should work (or watch the video above!).
- STEP 1: Run the engine for a few minutes to warm the oil and make it easier to drain. Then give it a couple of minutes to cool off.
- STEP 2: Remove the spark plug.
- STEP 3: Locate the oil drain plug and place an oil container underneath it. The oil drain plug is often on the side of the machine.
- STEP 4: Remove the oil drain plug and the dipstick.
- STEP 5: Allow the used oil to drain into the container.
- STEP 6: Wipe clean the dipstick and replace the oil plug and the dipstick.
- STEP 7: Fill the engine with clean, fresh oil. Consult your snow blower manual for the recommended oil to use.
- STEP 8: Check on the dipstick you have added enough oil.
- STEP 9: Put the spark plug back.
- STEP 10: Restart the engine (if necessary), you are done!
All that is left now is to dispose of the old oil responsibly.
There are dedicated recycling centers that will take the oil, as will many auto shops.
Please don’t just pour it down a drain or onto the ground!
The short answer is no, snow blowers don’t have oil filters.
There is little need for an oil filter in a snow blower due to the relative infrequency of their operation, and the clean conditions they are used in.
An oil filter’s prime job is to filter out dirt and dust, and in snowy conditions, there is little of either.
However, this does mean it is important to change the oil in your snow blower at regular intervals because, over time, dirt and dust will gradually find their way in.
Most people drain the oil from their snow blower at the end of the winter season and then top it up again the following year when the snow returns.
If you let the oil in your snow blower degrade, then could end up paying a much higher price than the cost of some new oil…