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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


So the engine manual calls for 5w-30 for ambient temperatures -20 to 30degrees F, and 10w-30 for 5 to 100degrees F. (Ariens AX LCT 291cc) Seems like everywhere I look, people are using and recommending 5w-30. Most of these people live in places that aren't typically in that -20 to 30deg range. Common sense tells me that using an oil suitable for such a broad spectrum of temps must be compromised in some other way. Am I missing something?

In regards to synthetic vs. conventional; does a synthetic 5w-30 broaden the operating range at all?

I posed these questions to LCT a few weeks ago but no luck in getting a reply.
 

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Who blows snow at 30+ degrees? If it's not cold enough to snow, it's not cold enough to blow. Sure, you might have a warm front blow through the next day, but 5-30 should be fine with ambient temps 80+ without an issue.

As far as synthetic vs conventional, synthetic oils are capable of maintaining their rated weights through extreme temperature ranges via some very good additives. Frankly synthetic 5w-30 is suitable in just about every small engine in just about every common application but there are exceptions. That said, follow your manual. The mfg did research on what works best in their engines and they have to warranty the thing, so they're not lying.
 

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Listen here folks, If you pay close to a grand for your new snowblower
you gotta use synthetic oil. I use mobil 1 5w-30 & it only takes a quart of oil or less. So for $ 10.00 or less why wouldn't you use the best oil out there?? Mobil 1, Royal Purple...ect. Its cheap insurance/
 

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The 2 numbers of a viscosity are for 2 temperatures. The first is a cold temp viscosity, the second is viscosity at 210F, approximate engine running temp. So, if you're nice to your engine and warm it up before going at it, 5W-30 or 10W-30 is all the same, it's just it will pull over a little easier with 5W.
 

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Listen here folks, If you pay close to a grand for your new snowblower
you gotta use synthetic oil. I use mobil 1 5w-30 & it only takes a quart of oil or less. So for $ 10.00 or less why wouldn't you use the best oil out there?? Mobil 1, Royal Purple...ect. Its cheap insurance/
Exactly. I use Amsoil and I put over 300,000 miles on my Hyundai Elantra. I even took it to Yellowstone and Glacier National park this past summer.A high quality synthetic will help prevent engine wear because it can take higher temperatures then a conventional oil and a high quality synthetic oil tends to not thicken as much in the cold weather as a conventional oil does and small engines are just splash lubricated and if you oil is as thick as honey when it is 40 below it is not doing your engine any good. Plus Amsoil had the least boil off and the smallest wear scar per the independent testing. Mobile 1 is great and so is Castrol syntec and Royal purple. $1.00 a quart cheap oil will only cause your engine to wear out faster and it pays to keep the equipment in good shape.
 

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Maybe it's just me but I have never lost a small engine piece of equipment due to what oil I used (regular or synthetic.) I have always lost my small engine equipment due to one reason - rust. And that's rust on the outside body not on the inside of the engine.

Today I ran out of 5W-30 for my snowblower so I used some Mobil 1 5W-30 that I had readily available but only because I didn't want to go out to the store. I change the oil every year as do most people I think. I really find it hard to believe that someone's equipment will die because they did not use synthetic. If it gives you piece of mind then by all means do it, I just do not think you need to.

(In a car, truck - yes. Snowblower - not really.)
 

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Listen here folks, If you pay close to a grand for your new snowblower
you gotta use synthetic oil. I use mobil 1 5w-30 & it only takes a quart of oil or less. So for $ 10.00 or less why wouldn't you use the best oil out there?? Mobil 1, Royal Purple...ect. Its cheap insurance/
I agree a good synthetic certainly won't hurt to use and chances are your engine will last longer when using it. I use Amsoil and I been using Amsoil since the late 1980's. I do recommend a good quality synthetic oil since it will help your engine last longer. Too many people feel synthetic oil is snake oil and I now know this to be not true because of my experiences with using Amsoil. My snowmobile broke a mag side bearing in 2010-2011 winter and I was still able to drive it home slowly. I brought it in to a place in town that repairs motorcycles and snowmobiles and out board engines. They called me after a few days and said that the outer Mag side crank bearing will need replacing, but they have some good news. Since the engine had 7200+ miles on it they checked the cylinder walls with the calipers and it still tested with in specs. The mechanic asked which Oil I use and I told him Amsoil Interceptor. He said it is a good oil and it saved you over $300 in new pistons and they will only need to repair the crankshaft bearing and put in new crank seals and gaskets and do a light hone on the cylinder walls and put in new rings. He said the pistons and cylinder walls had little to no wear on them and you could still see the original hone marks on the cylinder.
 

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i think as long as you do regular oil changes it won't make much difference which oil you use ( dino or syntetic ) my ford van had 388,xxx miles on it using quaker state. what i think synthe does is flow better at colder temps. i tryed amsoil and mobile1 for bikes in both my goldwings and went back to conventonal castrol 10w40 or 20w50 and i do 5000 mile oil changes on them
 

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Too many people feel synthetic oil is snake oil and I now know this to be not true because of my experiences with using Amsoil.
There's a reason why Subaru requires synthetic in all their newer turbo cars. It saves them millions in warranty repairs.

Ask anyone who's done a used oil analysis to compare dino vs synthetic. Furthermore, there's a big difference in synthetics. Amsoil is a very good synthetic, so is Rotella t6. There are even differences various ranges...Mobil 1 0w-20 and 10w-30 are much better oils than mobil 5w-30, but any of them is better than dino oil.

In most small engines, it's not lubrication failures that end their life but usually something to do with the fuel delivery. That said, There's no reason not to use a good synthetic, they rarely even use a whole quart..a couple dollars tops in extra cost. It will likely start easier in a bitter cold and protect the engine that revs to full throttle instantly. There is simply no downside to synthetics.

Oils do matter. Even the difference of oil 15 years ago is not as good as today.
****, if you're after cheap, go pick up some of the US spirit oil you can find at Gypsy gas stations. It's often on sale...that "5w-30" ends up being "15w-30" and is not suitable for engines built after 1930. No, I'm not exaggerating. This is what you get when you buy cheap oil. Petroleum Quality Institute of America
 

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Well, we just had temps overnight of minus 29...so I was glad to have 5-30 Mobil 1 in my Honda's. Mechanics will advise a good 10 hours on regular oil when new to help with seating the rings. After that, 5-30 Mobil 1 has all of your winter temps covered and in theory may help cold weather starts and prolong engine life.

To the " I put the cheapest oil I can find in my machines", well, good luck with that!

Cheers
 

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Hmm... we are talking about snow blowers here. I and probably many others use our snow blowers probably 15-20 hours/year and then replace the oil. After 10 years the engines will have 150-200 hours, and 10 oil changes in that time frame. Something tells me the engines can survive without synthetic. Many snow blowers are 30+ years old and their engines still run like champions, and oil of 10+ years ago was junk compared to todays standards (API-SN). Today's API-SN oil is incredibly good stuff, but I'm not even sure it is necessary in something that runs so few hours and then gets an oil change.

Synthetic is better than normal, but a snow blower is probably the item that benefits least from it. Unless it's the same price, synthetic is better put in your lawn mower since you use it every weekend in Spring, Summer, and Fall, or your car that you use everyday. In the meantime my snow blower (which is a Honda) is getting whatever is on sale if the old snow blowers can last 30+ years on crap oil, the new will run 40+ years on today's great oil. There's just no comparison of how good today's oil is compared to yesterdays, there's not as much benefit with Synthetic as there used to be... and the benefits of Synthetic in cars being mentioned don't apply to a snow blower. The newer cars have new technology, performance, and tolerances so tight that they were exceeding the oil specifications... that's why new specifications of oil had to be developed and distributed to meet today's high-performing cars and fortunately the high performing oil is what's going in our snow blower even though snow blower engines aren't high performance. Synthetic meets the needs of todays high-performance engines, and most oils do as well but doesn't apply to a snow blower. Anyone will be fine using regular oil in their snow blowers, I'm getting what's on sale. I do recommend synthetic after the first oil change, possibly the second. From there, it's up to the individual I personally get what's on sale after that.
 

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well piedmont i would have to agree with you. my toro 826 ai a '79 model and others on the forum have even older machines. even if they use synth oil it wasn't avalable when these machines were new and those machines lasted all those years using conventional oil
 

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Synthetics don't flow any better in the cold than conventional oils. That's the point of viscosity. A 10w-30 should have a 10w-30 viscosity whether it's conventional, synthetic, or blended. If it flows better, it's not a 10W-30. The upside of synthetics is they handle heat much better. Great in turbo cars and engines that break down an oil but snowblowers? Nah....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Who blows snow at 30+ degrees? If it's not cold enough to snow, it's not cold enough to blow.
The last storm ended overnight. It was 35degrees when the sun came up next morning. I've had plenty of mornings or early afternoons that approached 40degrees with 6+inches still on the ground.

Sure, you might have a warm front blow through the next day, but 5-30 should be fine with ambient temps 80+ without an issue.
...not trying to be an @$$, but explain to me why the engine manual clearly shows the upper cut-off point for 5w-30 to be about 30F. Furthermore, 10w-30, not 5w-30, is recommended for general use. (see below)

 

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Synthetics don't flow any better in the cold than conventional oils. That's the point of viscosity. A 10w-30 should have a 10w-30 viscosity whether it's conventional, synthetic, or blended. If it flows better, it's not a 10W-30. The upside of synthetics is they handle heat much better. Great in turbo cars and engines that break down an oil but snowblowers? Nah....
Well synthetics have much lower pour points temperatures than do conventional oils. Conventional oils can be semi solids or fully solidified at 40 degrees below zero and actually nearly as thick as honey at 20 below zero. Thick oil will not flow and all small engines are splash lubricated. There is no real downside to using synthetics in small engines and in automobiles there has been shown to be a reduction in engine wear if you use a high quality synthetic and performance models will state in the owners manuals that you will need to use a high quality synthetic oil. Amsoil 5W-30 will pour as low as 51 degree below zero Fahrenheit. Since 1989 Chevrolet has only recommended a high quality synthetic oil in the Corvettes.

Amsoil, Mobile 1 Castrol Syntec and Royal Purple are all high quality synthetics. No downside at all in using them in a small engine.

  • Any Corvette built since 1989 needs the specific oil recommended by Chevrolet for your engine. Generally this is 5W-30 synthetic oil, and GM specifically warns against using any other formulation, such as 10W-40 or 20W-50. For the last several years, GM has specified Mobil 1 5W-30 synthetic oil, and filled every Corvette with that oil at the factory.
High temperature tests show that synthetic handle the heat better and are recommended for high performance and turbocharged engines. Amsoil film strength is much stronger than a conventional oil and the ASTM wear test it had the smallest wear scar because the only thing between your metal parts in an engine is an incredibly tough film of oil so using a synthetic will provide more wear protection. My 1996 Polaris XLT known for crank bearing failures if modded had a crank bearing go out on it. The cylinders were checked with a calipers and tested with in specs. The mechanic said he never seen an engine with so many mile on it (7200 miles) that did not need an over bore. He said there was little to no wear at all and the original hone marks were still visible on the cylinder walls. New piston rings and a light ball hone were all that was needed.


 

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Some who live in extreme low temperatures will see these benefits, but for those that live in areas that don't drop below -15 F, conventional oils act and react on a chemical basis no differently than synthetics. A small engine's standard operating temperature will not fluctuate like that of a car unless you exceed recommended operating rpm so the extreme high temperature benefits of synthetics are irrelevant to small engines. Fresh oil of the proper viscosity for the ambient outside temperature is all that is needed to maintain any small air cooled engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Lots of good info here, regarding synthetic vs. conventional, although that wasn't actually the question.

So, to help simplify and get things back on track a bit...While keeping in mind the manufacturers recommendations from the chart, can someone explain why the majority of people still recommend 5w-30 over 10w-30? (assuming operating conditions are between 10F and 40F, which are actually quite typical of Connecticut and the rest of southern New England)
 
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