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Too Much Oil in Your Snowblower Can Cause Engine Damage

So you got in a hurry and added too much oil to your snowblower engine. No big deal right? Wrong. The manufacturer provides a recommended amount of oil needed for your engine. So why add more than that? If you find yourself doing this, this could happen to your engine.

Too much oil in your snowblower may result in seal damage, blown gaskets, or the engine becoming hydrolocked. Your engine may not run well and may smoke.

Read on for more details on the effects of too much oil in your snowblower engine and how to correct the oil level. This article is for information on snowblowers with 4-stage engines.

While most snowblowers available today use 4-stage engines, you may find 2-stage engines in older models.

If you are lucky, the result can be somewhat minor with run ability issues that can be addressed by fixing the oil levels. If you are not that lucky, you can cause damage that may result in significant engine work or even an engine replacement.


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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.

Possible Results of Too Much Oil in Your Snowblower

1. Engine Seal Damage

You could damage the oil seals in the engine. This does not sound like significant damage, but if oil blows out of the seals, and you don’t catch it, you can blow up the engine by running out of oil.

When you run out of oil, the excessive heat of the engine will most likely spin a rod or weld itself to the crankshaft. This heat can also break the rod and send it out to the side of the engine block.

The piston can weld itself to the inside of the cylinder causing it to seize up.

2. Engine May Lock Up

When the oil is overfilled it may also find its way into the cylinder. This makes the engine turn over very hard. If the oil gets past the rings, due to wear, it could lock up the engine. This is what is known as hydro-locked.

What this means is the combustion chamber, which should only have air and a small amount of fuel in it, which has oil in it.

With the added compressions, the piston cannot compress the oil and it becomes hydro-locked. When this happens you can bend the piston rod when you go to start the engine.

3. Engine May Not Run Well and Smoke

Sometimes when there is too much oil in your engine it will run, but not very well. Too much engine oil can get up to the spark plug and foul out the plug. The oil inhibits the spark that is needed to fire the fuel properly.

Another reason why your snowblower may not run well is that oil can find its way into the valve train. This oil gets burned in the cylinder and you will find yourself in a thick cloud of whitish blue stinky smoke.

Adding a little additional oil may not seem like a big deal, but it is actually a huge deal that can result in requiring a significant repair or an engine replacement.

So when doing oil changes or adding oil look twice and only add what is required by your engine manufacturer and don’t assume a going over the required amount will be okay.

How to Remove Excess Oil

If you overfilled your engine oil, you need to get the oil down to the correct level. The first thing you need to do is remove the spark plug wire for safety. There are several different ways to remove engine oil from your snowblower.

  1. Drain Plug or Valve Port: You need to find the drain plug or valve port on the engine if your snowblower has one. It may be found on the side of the engine by the dipstick or a the bottom of the oil pan under the snowblower. Have your drain pan ready to collect the oil. Remove the plug for a quick second and replace it. Check your oil level.
  2. Oil Extractor Pump: An oil evacuator works well to remove oil. An extractor will remove the oil through a tube inserted into the engine oil fill hole.
  3. Turkey Baster: A turkey baster works well for removing small amounts of oil. Just make sure you don’t reuse it for cooking purposes after using it in your engine. These are pretty inexpensive to replace on Amazon.

How to Not Overfill the Engine Oil

Before you change your snowblower’s engine oil you need to look at your owner’s manual to find your engine oil capacity.

If you don’t have your owner’s manual, you can always use Google or the search engine of your choice to find the crankcase capacity.

Most small engines on snowblowers will take about 3/4 to 1 quart of 5W-30 motor oil.

The best way not to overfill your engine oil is to know your crankcase capacity and only add 1/4 quart of oil at a time. Keep checking the oil until you hit your mark.

If you are adding 1/4 quart at a time, when you get close to being full, just add a little bit at a time and check the oil level on your oil gauge or dipstick.

Will Too Much Oil Prevent a Snowblower from Starting?

Too much engine oil can prevent your engine from running. The oil pan on the small engines used on snowblowers is very small.

There is not much room for error with such a small space. If you put too much oil in an engine your engine can hydro lock.

Hydro locking is when oil gets up into the cylinder and past the piston. The oil then fills up the combustion chamber not allowing the piston to move to the top of the combustion chamber.

The piston is designed to compress air and not oil or water.

When you pull on the rope or start the engine with a starter the oil will not compress and it won’t let the piston move. This is referred to as being hydrolocked.

Too much oil can also foul out the spark plug and not allow the engine to run. Another damage too much oil can do to an engine is oil getting into the carburetor through the valve train causing the engine not to run.

If your snowblower starts and then stops, you may have a different problem. Check out “5 Reasons Your Snowblowers Runs and Then Dies“.

Don’t Skip Engine Oil Changes

The engine is the most expensive component of your snowblower. It is crucial you check the engine oil frequently to make sure it is not only at the correct oil level, but that the engine oil is clean. Engine oil degrades and becomes dirty with time.

Skipping engine oil changes can cause significant engine damage that can lead to having to put significant money into repairing the engine or, worse yet, having to replace it with a new engine.

The article “Skipping Snowblower Oil Changes Can Cause Engine Damage“.