When winter starts knocking on the door, every homeowner knows the headache of breaking out the snow equipment and getting it ready for the season, especially the snowblower. But many are left scratching their heads at the gas pump because they aren’t sure what type of gas their snowblower is supposed to use!
Snowblowers with 4-cycle engines use regular 87-grade unleaded gasoline which can be easily found at the local gas station. Make sure not to use any gas that has 10% ethanol or more in your snowblower.
Snowblowers with 2-cycle engines require a gasoline and oil mix. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct gas to oil mix required for your engine. When mixing gas with oil, use a 2-cycle oil and not a standard engine oil. NEVER run straight gas through a 2-cycle engine.
Whether you have owned a snowblowers for years or are just now purchasing one, you will want to learn more about the care of this equipment. Proper care will lead to a much longer life for your snowblower. To learn more about which gas to use and how to care for your snowblower, keep reading.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual prior to diagnosing, repairing or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
What is the Best Gas for Snowblowers?
Those with all sizes of driveways rely on a snowblower to clear snow and provide a clean pathway to their homes. While snowblowers come in different sizes and styles, they are all relatively similar when it comes to the internal components. Most snowblowers will feature the same four-stroke engine style, which uses unleaded gasoline.
While most snowblowers use unleaded gasoline, some will require other styles of gasoline, and it is critical that you look over your manufacturers’ guide to see what works best for your snowblower. However, if you are using any major brand snowblower that has a larger engine, traditional unleaded will be the best choice.
Some things to keep in mind when purchasing fuel for your snowblower:
- You should always purchase fresh gasoline. Never let gasoline sit for weeks before using and never allow it to get mixed with water if stored outdoors.
- Most choose a gasoline octane of 87 or more for their snowblowers.
- You should try to get gasoline with a lower ethanol content. If gasoline in your area has over 10% ethanol, you may want to purchase elsewhere.
We will further break down how to choose your gasoline and why these key components are important.
Choosing Gas for Your Snowblower
When purchasing a snowblower, the first thing you must realize is regular refueling is a must. Similar to a car, your snowblower simply will not run without being filled with gas regularly. The fuel used is vital to extending the lifetime of the snowblower and ensuring it runs smoothly.
Here are some tips to ensure you are buying quality gas for your snowblower:
Always Buy Fresh Gas!
One of the absolute most crucial steps to ensuring you are using quality gas is to always refill your snowblower with fresh fuel. The problem is that many will fill up a plastic gas can for their snowblower and allow this to sit for long periods of time. When left outside, this gas is subject to the elements and can become less potent or even ineffective over time.
The best option is to always get gas prior to snowblowing and ensure that you use the gas you have purchased quickly. You will want to get your gas from a larger, well-known gas station. This ensures that the gas you are choosing is of higher quality and often fresher than smaller gas stations may offer.
Try to Avoid High Ethanol Percentages
While ethanol can be an advancement in the fuel world and very beneficial overall, it is not always best for small engines. When it comes to snowblowers, the lower the ethanol percentage, the better.
If you are unfamiliar with ethanol, it is essentially a corn-based fuel that is more environmentally sound.
When you visit your local gas station, you will often see that there is a percentage of ethanol mixed with the gasoline. Various gas stations will offer different percentages of ethanol, but on average, it will be between 10 and 15 percent. Ideally, you will want to avoid using gasoline that has above a 10% ethanol content in your snowblower.
Some things to keep in mind about ethanol and how it can affect your snowblower are:
- Always avoid gas that is marketed as E85! This gas is used in some areas and is 85% ethanol. This will cause damage to small engines like those used in snowblowers.
- While ethanol works well in most motor vehicles, it is damaging to use in small gas engines. Ethanol-based gas attracts moisture from the air and this will cause the gasoline to separate from the ethanol. The gas sinks to the bottom of the fuel tank.
- The ethanol that separates from the gas in the tank will be fed through the engine. This will cause ignition problems for your snowblower.
- Another major issue that can arise from ethanol is that the product is corrosive. It can also burn very hot, which can cause overheating in small engines. Overall, this can cause irreversible damage.
If you absolutely cannot find gas that is ethanol-free or below 10% ethanol, you will want to add an extra fuel treatment. These treatments are easy to find and can help stop fuel from separating.
Purchase High Quality Fuel
Expensive fuel is not always better, but you should remember to use higher quality fuel with your snowblower. If you can afford higher-end fuel or Top-Tier fuel, you should try to use this. Since most snowblowers have a smaller fuel tank, it can be less expensive to use high-quality gas.
If you buy higher-end gas and worry you will not use all of it, there are some ways to keep gas fresh. The best option for storing any unused gas for later use is to do as follows:
- Use a plastic gas can that is designed for unleaded gas. Make sure that you are using a quality gas can; some plastic containers are not made to store gas and will break down.
- Add a fuel stabilizer to the can along with the extra gas that you are not using right away. This will help keep any gas that you may have leftover as fresh as possible.
- Try to avoid buying more than a 30-day supply of gas. The quicker you use the gas, the better. However, it can be hard to know exactly how much you have in your tank and how much you will need with each mowing.
- Before adding new gas, always empty out the gas can you are currently using. Use any gas that has been stored first. This will ensure you are not letting gas sit for months at a time and adding fresh gas to old gas.
- At the end of the season, if you have any gas remaining in your can, discard of this appropriately. This can often be added to your car or other machines if needed. You never want a gas can to sit for months after the season is over.
Once you get the hang of buying gas for your snowblower, it is relatively simple to know what you need and when you need additional gas. By adding a fuel stabilizer and routinely alternating through your gas, you will not waste expensive gasoline, and it will be well worth the price.
We explain more about fuel stabilizers with “Best Fuel Stabilizer for Your Snowblower“.
Don’t Overthink It
Truly refueling your snowblower should not be a stressful process and is relatively simple, even for beginners. The basics to keep in mind are to simply:
- Get fresh fuel
- Use a stabilizer if needed
- Avoid high ethanol percentages (>10%)
If you have any questions concerning your snowblower, the manufacturer’s guide is always a great place to start for additional help.
Answers to Your Other Questions about Fuel
Why Your Snowblower is Leaking
It’s frustrating to go to your garage or storage shed to find it smelling of gas or you see gas stains on the floor. There are many different reasons your snowblower may be leaking including a bad gas cap, carburetor problems, cracked fuel lines and more.
Check out our article, “Reasons Why Your Snowblower is Leaking Gas“