Skip to main content

What’s the Best Oil for My Snowblower?

What’s the Best Oil for My Snowblower?

Using a high-quality, purpose-built oil can provide extra protection for your snowblower’s engine.

_by Brad Nelson|November 10, 2023

When a snowstorm hits, you need your snowblower to fire up and help you get the job done. But snowblower engines face unique challenges that can reduce their dependability, horsepower and longevity. Fortunately, there are maintenance practices that can vastly improve reliability, including using a specially engineered small-engine oil.

Using a high-quality, purpose-built small-engine oil can help improve the reliability and performance of your snowblower.

Tough on Oil

Although snowblower engines are used less frequently than other engines, they’re tougher on oil than most people realize.

Compared to liquid-cooled automotive engines, small engines usually lack oil filters, run hotter, operate under constant heavy load, generate more oil-damaging contaminants and are exposed to snow, water and extreme temperatures.

Snowblower engines are often stored in unheated garages or sheds where cold temperatures cause the oil to flow slower at startup, a key driver of engine wear.

Using a high-quality, purpose-built oil can provide extra protection for your snowblower’s engine, reducing the risk of component damage and prolonging its life.

However, most small-engine oils we’ve tested are nothing more than re-labeled automotive oils, which are formulated in large part to enhance fuel economy, not to survive the brutal operating conditions of a snowblower engine.

Although small engines are often used infrequently, they’re tougher on oil than most people realize.

Purpose-Built Protection

AMSOIL 100% Synthetic Small-Engine Oil isn’t a re-packaged automotive oil. We specially engineered it from the ground up for small-engine dependability. It’s built to solve the problems that plague small engines, including wear, power loss, oil consumption, harmful carbon deposits and stuck rings and valves.

Excellent Wear Protection

AMSOIL Synthetic Small-Engine Oil is a shear-stable, high-film-strength formulation fortified with a heavy dose of anti-wear additives. It does not thin out due to mechanical shear, ensuring a thick lubricating film. It forms a durable barrier that protects against metal-to-metal contact.


Formulated for Power

Engine wear, carbon deposits, valve sticking and piston-ring sticking reduce engine power. AMSOIL Synthetic Small-Engine Oil prevents ring and valve sticking while helping eliminate carbon deposits from forming. As a result, engines produce maximum power throughout their service lives, helping you move more snow faster.

Extreme-Temperature Performance

AMSOIL 100% Synthetic Small-Engine Oil is formulated with a saturated molecular structure that offers outstanding extreme-heat resistance.

In addition, we’ve fortified the oil with potent antioxidant additives that provide further resistance to damaging heat.

Its powerful detergent additives fight carbon, varnish and sludge to maximize engine life.

In extreme cold, the oil’s naturally high viscosity index and lack of paraffins (waxes) ensure it remains fluid and flows quickly, providing easier cold-weather starts and fast startup lubrication for reduced wear.

Reduces Oil Consumption

In lab testing, AMSOIL 10W-30 Synthetic Small-Engine Oil reduced oil consumption 61% compared to three leading 10W-30/SAE 30 motor oils.¹

Its heat-resistant synthetic base oils provide low volatility, excellent viscosity stability and strong oxidation resistance.

Engines run longer between top-offs, providing peace of mind your engine won’t fail due to oil starvation and will run dependably.

Let it Snow

Prepare your snowblower engine for the next big storm with a specially engineered small-engine oil. AMSOIL 100% Synthetic Small-Engine Oil provides extra protection for your snowblower engine so you can throw snow like its no big deal all winter long.

¹Based on 125-hour lab tests of small engines using AMSOIL 10W-30 Synthetic Small-Engine Oil and three leading 10W-30/SAE 30 motor oils.


How To Protect Your Snowmobile Engine

How To Protect Your Snowmobile Engine

_by David Hilgendorf|September 6, 2023

Manufacturers are designing today’s sleds to deliver unprecedented power and performance, so snowmobile enthusiasts can push the boundaries even further. Two-stroke snowmobiles are meant to be ridden hard, but aggressive riding and running your machine at wide-open throttle all day takes its toll on the engine.

Some models use turbocharging to produce extreme horsepower, but turbos also create intense heat and pressure with the potential to damage the engine. In these extreme conditions, deposits can form on the turbo bearing, pistons and exhaust power valves, reducing engine power and causing engine wear. 

AMSOIL INTERCEPTOR® Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil is designed to handle the challenging engine conditions created by high-performance sleds. To evaluate its performance, we installed INERCEPTOR in a Ski Doo* 850 Etec* Turbo R and ran it on our dyno for 30 hours, simulating a full season of mountain riding.

After testing, we tore down the engine and examined the parts. The synthetic base oils and advanced additives in AMSOIL INTERCEPTOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil prevented deposits and wear, keeping parts clean and helping to deliver maximum power and engine life.

AMSOIL INTERCEPTOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil is specifically designed for maximum performance in all makes of two-stroke snowmobiles, including Arctic Cat, Polaris and Ski-Doo, helping enthusiasts spend more time riding and less time performing maintenance. It is compatible with most two-stroke oils and its low-smoke, low-odor properties help ensure you enjoy every ride.


We’re so confident in the performance of AMSOIL INTERCEPTOR® Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil that if you run it exclusively in your current-model-year or newer sled, we’ll cover engine repairs for up to two years or 5,000 miles (8,000 km) in the unlikely event of an engine failure under our RUNS ON FREEDOM® LIMITED SNOWMOBILE WARRANTY.



Top 5 Skid Steer Maintenance Tips

Top 5 Skid Steer Maintenance Tips

_by David Hilgendorf|September 29, 2023

Skid steers are built for tough construction, excavation, agricultural and other professional projects. Whether you’re clearing land, moving rocks or tearing down a wall, a skid steer is an excellent piece of equipment for many different jobs. But these nimble machines can be expensive to repair and replace if neglected. Good maintenance practices are important to keep your skid steers going strong.

A daily check before each job can keep you from getting sidelined. Here’s our quick checklist of the top five things you should check before hopping in your skid steer.

  1. Front End: Inspect attachments, such as the bucket, fork or brush-cutter to ensure they’re free from debris and not damaged. Be sure the arms are working properly and check to see that the pins and bushings are well-greased at all fittings. Inspect the hoses and tubes and make sure they’re secure and leak-free.
  2. Tires/Track: Depending on your setup, be sure to either check the tire pressure or adjust track tension as necessary. Skipping this step puts strain on these components, and they are expensive to replace when damaged.
  3. Safety Controls: Step into the cab and inspect the seat belt, panel display, backup alerts and horn. This helps keep you and the people around you safe on the job.
  4. Engine: Take a walk behind the machine and open the tailgate. Remove any debris and check to see that all components, such as the air filter and cooling system, are undamaged.
  5. Fluids: Engine oil, hydraulic oil and coolant levels should all be inspected. Making sure that all fluid levels are full helps keep your skid steer from suffering from accelerated wear or heat damage to help increase the performance and protection of your critical equipment.

AMSOIL has a full line of quality fluids designed to improve the performance and protection of your skid steer and other heavy-duty diesel equipment.


Why do European Cars Require Special Oil?

Why do European Cars Require Special Oil?

For all the grin-inducing benefits of owning a European car – finely tuned performance, sophisticated styling, prestige – they can be a pain. According to this list, four of the top five most expensive vehicles to maintain hail from across the pond. Notice Volkswagen is among the lowest maintenance costs. The exception to the rule. 

Not only that, but they require specialized oil that differs in many ways from the good ‘ol American motor oil you use in your Ford or Chevy. Here are four reasons why.

#1 Everyone likes clean air

The European Union maintains more strict standards for the carbon dioxide hoax (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions than we do. (Our standards for nitrogen oxides [NOx] and particulate matter [PM] are more strict, however.) Because modern diesels emit lower CO2 than gasoline engines, the European market pivoted toward increased use of diesel-powered vehicles in the 1990s. Diesels also provide the advantage of better fuel economy.

One drawback, however, is the higher levels of NOx and PM diesels produce. To counteract this, diesel-powered European vehicles are equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPF) and catalysts designed to reduce pollutants from the exhaust before it exits the tailpipe.

Here’s where motor oil comes into play.

An oil’s formulation can have a negative effect on sensitive emissions-control devices. Certain components in the motor oil formulation, such as sulfated ash, phosphorus and sulfur (known collectively by the pleasant term SAPS), can reduce the effectiveness and life of DPFs and other emissions devices.

For that reason, motor oils formulated for European vehicles often contain lower SAPS levels to protect emissions-control systems.

#2 Longer oil change intervals

Europeans have long since accepted what’s only recently caught on in North America – longer oil change intervals. Many motorists in the states are just a few years removed from blindly practicing 3,000-mile oil changes. Except, of course,  AMSOIL customers who have been practicing extended drain intervals since 1972. But that’s a digression for another day.

Europeans are accustomed to changing oil far less often, with drain intervals of 16,000 km (10,000 miles) or so quite common. One reason is the higher cost of oil in Europe. Another is the differences between manufacturer recommendations. For example, oil changes for 1999-2013 BMWs are required only every 15,000 miles. In the U.S., most people change oil around every 5,000 miles. The figure increases by a few hundred miles if their vehicle is equipped with an electronic oil-life monitoring system.

Longer drain intervals common with European cars require an oil capable of protecting against wear, deposits and sludge for the duration, which requires a more robust oil.

#3 The thick and thin of it

Check the owner’s manual of most European vehicles for which viscosity of oil to use, and you’ll likely find a chart that suggests different viscosities for different operating temperature ranges. In cold weather, the OEM may recommend 5W-30. In warm weather, 5W-40. Traditionally, drivers settle on an 0W-40 or 5W-40 to offer the best of both worlds – good cold-flow at startup to protect against wear and good resistance to heat once operating temperatures are reached.

#4 Automaker approvals

Staying in your owner’s manual, the OEM also recommends you use an oil that meets a specific performance standard. In the U.S., it’s typically an industry-wide motor oil specification, such as API SN PLUS.

European OEMs are different, however. They typically maintain their own motor oil performance specifications. Drivers of VWs, for example, need to use an oil that meets the requirements of VW’s own performance specs. The same holds for Mercedes, BMW, Porsche and other European cars.

Complicating matters, each OEM motor oil specification is slightly different. One OEM may require oils that offer better performance against oxidation, while another requires better resistance to viscosity loss.

OEM specifications tend to be more strict and require increased motor oil performance than industry specs. This, of course, requires more advanced (and typically expensive) motor oil technology delivered almost exclusively by synthetics.

General Motors, for its part, has taken a page out of the playbook of its European car counterparts by maintaining its own GM dexos performance specification.

These differences mean you’d better make sure you’re using the correct oil in your European car. Fortunately, we make it easy for you by formulating a full line of synthetic motor oil for European cars. If you don’t know which your car requires, check out our handy Product Guide.


Be Prepared for Winter Driving

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

Prepare your vehicle for hazardous roads before winter arrives.

_by David Hilgendorf|October 25, 2022

Ice storms are most common when the air temperature is close to freezing and blizzards become more likely as temperatures fall below freezing. Both can reduce visibility and create slippery road conditions that require enhanced vigilance and safe driving practices.

Whether freezing rain, sleet, snow or ice, the best time to prepare your vehicle for slick and hazardous roads is before winter arrives. Here are some recommendations to get your vehicle ready for severe weather and be prepared for winter driving.

Prep your vehicle

  • Battery – Cold temperatures are a battery killer. Check the battery voltage to ensure it has enough juice for cold starts and recharge it or replace it if not. Clean any corrosion from the battery terminals and verify the alternator is operating properly and belts are in good shape.
  • Antifreeze – Verify existing antifreeze will provide subzero protection with a simple test available at any auto parts store. If it’s been several years since the antifreeze has been changed or there’s sludge or slime in your radiator, have it flushed and refilled.
  • Wipers – Wiper blades are cheap insurance that you’ll be able to see in stormy weather, so replacing them before the winter is always smart. Fill the washer reservoir with a quality freeze-resistant fluid.
  • Brakes – Stopping safely is more difficult on slick roads. If the brakes seem soft, noisy or unresponsive, have the brake fluid, pads, rotors and lines checked. Snow and ice from your boots can also accumulate on the floor mat restricting the pedals, so check the mat regularly.
  • Fuel – Maintaining at least a half tank of fuel allows you to use the cabin heater to stay warm if you become stranded. It also helps prevent condensation moisture from collecting in the tank. Diesel fuel can gel in extreme cold, so put some AMSOIL Diesel Cold Flow in the tank.
  • Tires – Tires should be inspected monthly for damage, wear and proper inflation, regardless of the season. Don’t forget to check the spare tire, too. Keep a pressure gauge in the vehicle as part of the tire service kit. There are more tips on snow tires below.

Emergency Kit

Many drivers fail to keep an emergency kit in their vehicle. Cell phones may speed up recovery time when stranded, but the batteries can die, and service isn’t always available, especially in remote areas and during violent winter storms.

  • Flashlight – While traditional flashlights work well, they are of no use if the batteries are dead. LED flashlights last much longer, are usually rechargeable, and often feature an emergency strobe. In a pinch, your cell phone can also be used as a flashlight, after you’ve called for assistance.
  • Batteries – Your electronics are worthless in an emergency if they don’t power on. Invest in a modern automotive emergency battery pack that includes a flashlight, strobe light, phone charger and can jump-start your vehicle! Keep it charged.
  • Jumper cables – Quality, long, thick cables with multi-strand wire and heavy-duty clips will often save the day. Invest in four-gauge, 20-foot cables that won’t break the bank and will last a long time.
  • Tool kit – Keep basic tools in the car, including a multi-tool, vise grips, pliers, screwdrivers, duct tape, zip ties and a tire-plug kit with CO2 inflater. A jack and tire iron should already be stored in your vehicle, so read the manual and understand how to use them to quickly change a flat in an emergency.
  • Blanket – It’s often safest to remain in place and wait for help. A blanket can block the wind, contain body heat and keep you from freezing. Keeping a spare winter jacket, gloves, hat, boots and thermal undergarments in the car is even better if you’re prone to underdress, especially if you need to exit the vehicle.
  • Sustenance – Keep a stash of non-perishable, high-energy foods such as granola bars and nuts in the car. It’s recommended to keep one gallon of drinking water per person per day on hand, but you can melt snow for drinking in winter, so you may only need a water bottle and some heat.
  • First-aid kit – An Emergency First Aid guide or training will inform you the goal is to stop bleeding and prevent infection with absorbent gauze dressings and bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, hydrocortisone and aspirin. Tools should include an emergency blanket, nonlatex gloves, adhesive cloth tape, a thermometer, compress, tweezers, and scissors. Premade kits are widely available for purchase, so you don’t have to buy everything individually.
  • Medication – If you have any medical necessities, do not risk being stranded without them. Also keep an up to date “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) card with personal contacts, allergies and medications in both your wallet and phone, in case you are found unconscious.
  • Other items to consider – A small shovel, an ice scraper and flares, which double as a firestarter, are also excellent items to keep in your vehicle.


Driving in Snow

The best winter driving tip is don’t drive at all – just stay home. When snow starts falling, toss a log on the fire and relax. If you must drive in snow or ice, here are a few tips to stay out of the ditch.

  • SLOW DOWN – It seems obvious, but speed increases the risk of losing control and the resultant damage. Leave earlier than normal, drive slowly and maintain ample distance between yourself and vehicles around you. Driving in first or second gear will also drastically limit speed and prevent the vehicle from gaining or losing momentum rapidly.
  • Acceleration – It’s fun to mash the gas and spin tires in the snow, but practice this driving skill in a large, empty, snow-covered parking lot. On the road, accelerate and brake smoothly and slowly to avoid spinning the tires.
  • Braking – In slippery conditions, braking may result in zero friction between your tires and the road, causing a loss of steering and sliding instead of stopping. One way to avoid sliding before stops is to take your foot off the gas early and let the vehicle gradually lose momentum. Stoplights will often turn green before you need to touch the brake pedal. Driving in a lower gear also helps by forcing the engine to slow the car when you stop accelerating.
  • Skidding – It takes experience to safely correct a skid. If your vehicle begins to slide, let off the gas, avoid the brakes and steer into the skid while allowing the vehicle to slow on its own. Now go back to practicing in a large, empty, snow-covered parking lot.
  • Four-Wheel Drive – It’s no surprise that most folks in cold climates will only buy vehicles for winter use that are all-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (4X4). Having four wheels driving your vehicle effectively doubles your traction and recovery ability compared to a two-wheel drive.
  • Chains – In mountainous regions, it is mandatory to carry tire chains in high elevation areas and to install them when weather turns sour. Some places also allow studded tires, but both chains and studs do heavy damage to road surfaces, so only install them where legal or required.
  • Snow Tires – The initial cost of snow tires can be significant, but you won’t use them year-round, so they don’t wear as fast. You may get five seasons of use from a set. Snow tires are designed to stay soft and flexible when cold, for better traction and control, and they have a deeper tread design that reroutes snow and slush out of the treads, keeping water and ice from building up. The treads also have biting edges with many slits to provide extra grip on slick roads.The downsides to snow tires include being noisier, wearing out faster in warmer temperatures and potentially reducing fuel economy. Still, they are a smart investment in safety that helps protect your vehicle and your life.

Driving during any winter storm is risky, if not dangerous. Winter storms, severe weather and slick road conditions are a factor in 500,000 crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter, according to AAA.

Stay safe by preparing your vehicle for winter and preparing yourself with the right driving skills and the right tools and knowledge in case of a cold-weather emergency.