An ice auger uses two-cycle oil because it has a compression crankcase, two-stroke engine. The oil can be synthetic, semi-synthetic, or made from petroleum or castor oil. An ice auger operator mixes the two-cycle oil with gasoline before running the engine.
Mixing two-cycle oil with gasoline lubricates the ice auger's engine. The ice auger has a total-loss oiling system in which the oil burns along with the gasoline when the engine operates. This creates exhaust emissions that may appear as bluish-gray smoke with a distinctive odor. Using synthetic oil may decrease oily build-up on spark plugs and reduce emissions. Two-stroke oil has a lower ash content than regular lubricating oil.
An ice auger operator uses the device to drill clean, precise holes in ice. An ice auger has a threaded helical shaft attached to a two-stroke engine, or it may have a hand crank. The threads dig into the ice and lift out waste while creating the hole. This process can weaken surrounding ice, especially in situations where the ice covers water, and people or equipment may fall through during or after drilling.
Common uses for an ice auger include ice fishing and scientific research. A fisherman drills a hole in the ice to fish through, sometimes erecting a tent over the hole for shelter. Scientific uses for an ice auger include taking core samples or boring a hole through ice to lower scientific data collecting equipment.