Briggs And Stratton Oil Capacity Guide
Briggs and Stratton are a major supplier of mower engines besides making some of the best riding mowers you can find. While you may not think a mower takes much abuse cutting the grass for one or two hours at a time, they take their fair share of abuse.
As part of your routine maintenance, you need to change your oil and thus would need to know the recommended Briggs and Stratton lawn mower oil capacity for the mower you have.
In our guide, you can learn the oil type your mower uses and how much you need to add for your Briggs Stratton small engine to perform at its optimum.
By the end, you can learn how much oil you need and how to carry out oil changes without needing to search further for motor oil types.
Can I Use 10W30 Instead of SAE 30 in My Lawn Mower?
It isn’t possible to use SAE 10W30 rather than SAE 10W as it is different in viscosity or thickness. At lower temperatures, the oil has a thickness comparable to SAE 10W and an SAE 30 viscosity when running at higher temperatures.
The W denotes ‘Winter,’ and in temperatures below 40°F (4°C), the use of SAE 30 results in hard starting of mower engines. It is recommended to use SAE 30 for warmer climates of 40° F and higher. (Find the Best Riding Snow Blower)
Recommendations for Small Engine Oil Types
How Much Oil Does a 22 Horse Briggs Stratton Hold?
On this lawn mower engine, you can find two Briggs and Stratton oil capacities. These vary slightly based on mower engines having an oil filter or not.
If you have a Briggs Stratton 40H700 Series Engine, then note, two bottles are required to meet your engine oil capacity. It is also a recommendation to use 100% Synthetic Briggs, Stratton SAE 5W-30. 18 oz. for the Classic.
How Much Oil Does a 10 HP Briggs and Stratton Take?
With being a smaller engine series, you can find that your mowers need less oil to run. On a Briggs Stratton 204400 Series Engine, you will need an oil capacity of 28 fl. oz. Using the right oil and you get protection for longer engine life, and you will skip by your engine warranty easily.
Use Briggs, Stratton SAE 30W Oil when over 40°F for any series of mower engines, including the 12.HP Briggs and Stratton engine.
To maintain optimum performance, oil is required to be changed following the first five hours of use. Once you do this, you can then do so each year or following 50 hours of use based on which comes first. (Read our Briggs and Stratton Snow Blower Reviews)
Here you can find the steps to change your oil.
Check oil-level regularly according to the lawn mower manufacturer. (You will discover air-cooled engines may burn around an ounce of oil in each cylinder, in every hour of operation)
Only meet your oil capacity and fill to the dipstick mark and make sure not to overfill.
Changing Lawn Mower Oil
- Start your mower so the engine will run warm.
- Stop the engine and disconnect the spark plug cable and hold it away from the plug.
- Clean the area around the oil fill and drain plug sections to stop dirt from accessing the crankcase
- Remove your dipstick if your engine has one
Draining Your Oil
- Tilt your mower, so the air filter or spark plug side faces upward.
- Place newspaper and an oil pan beneath the mower
- Use a 3/8-inch drive socket wrench and extension. Turn the plug counter-clockwise, so the old oil drains.
- Replace the drain plug with a clockwise twist, and then tighten. (If your mower engine has no oil filter, skip this step)
- For any engine with an oil filter, it is advisable to replace it once per season.
- Replace your oil filter by twisting counterclockwise with a filter wrench.
- Check the sealing surface on your oil filter adapter and clean if required.
- Lightly oil your filter gasket using fresh engine oil. Install the new filter by screwing by hand and tighten another 1/2 to 3/4 turn.
Add New Oil
Once you replace the oil filter, add approximately 4 oz to the dipstick mark. If there are two oil fill plugs (yellow or white) on either side of your engine, either can be used to fill the oil. (Read Does Gold Tarnish)
Never overfill the engine with oil. Effects of excess detergent oil in your lawnmower engine would generate more heat than it normally does. Excess oil in a lawnmower engine affects the crankcase, and if oil drowns the crankcase, you will have to remove it quickly. (Read Briggs and Stratton Won’t Start When Hot)
Small engines use SAE 30 single-weight detergent motor oil service-rated SG or higher. Although some use multi-viscosity oils like 10W-30 or 10W-40
How to Change the Oil in a Push Lawnmower (Example: Craftsman, Murray, Briggs Stratton Engines)
Regular lawnmower maintenance is essential to ensure your lawnmower stays in top running condition. You should perform complete maintenance on your mower at least once per cutting season to maximize the mower’s life, and to ensure your grass is cut perfectly every time.
This article is one in a series of maintenance articles that provide complete coverage of lawnmower care. While not the most glamorous of topics, its a job many of us put off far too long. Want to learn more about mower maintenance? We’ll also teach you how to:
We’ll be performing maintenance on two mowers: a Murray with a 4.5 horsepower (HP) Briggs and Stratton engine, and a Craftsman self-propelled push mower with a 6.5 HP BS engine.
Note that this tutorial is for general information only and isn’t a replacement for the maintenance instructions included in the mower. You should always follow those instructions to maintain your mower properly.
Finally, lawnmowers aren’t the only thing in your garage or shed that should be maintained this way. Any gas powered yard equipment, like pressure washers, chipper shredders, and string trimmers require regular maintenance to keep them running smooth. Most of the principals in this series will apply to all of these types of equipment.
Changing the Oil in a Push Lawnmower
Changing the oil in any gas powered 4-cycle engine ensures the engine stays well lubricated. This keeps the cylinder and piston moving freely against once another, and ensures that scarring doesn’t occur on either, increasing the life of the engine. Changing the oil also offers more immediate benefits: it reduces overall gas consumption, and allows the engine to burn more efficiently, which is better for the environment.
Step 1: Determine whether the engine has an oil drain plug, or if the oil must be drained by turning the mower over. Most push mowers have no drain plug and will need to be turned over to empty the oil.
Step 2:If the mower has a drain plug, unscrew the plug and let the oil drain into a funnel down into a pan. If the mower has no drain plug, unscrew the oil cap, and tip the mower away from the side that the air filter is on. This reduces the chances of the air filter being drenched in oil, which can occur on some engines.
Allow the oil to drain for 45-60 seconds, or until very little is flowing out of the mower. A typical oil change will drain about 3/4 of the oil in the mower. The remaining 1/4 will remain inside the engine, clinging to internal parts.
Step 3: Identify the right oil for your engine. In some cases, the engine will have the oil type listed on a tag on the engine. The maintenance manual will always include the right type of oil to use. Many 4-cycle, small Briggs and Stratton engines take SAE 30 4-cycle Small Engine Oil available at home improvement and auto supplies stores everywhere.
Step 4: FIll the oil resevoir with oil. Be sure to fill only until the dipstick registers “full.” If you overfill, the lawnmower will billow white smoke as the excess oil is burned off during combustion. An engine that is slightly overfilled will exhibit this behavior going up and down hills. Note in the picture below that the top of the Craftsman dipstick indicates a 20oz. capacity; however, this is an “empty” capacity, not a “change capacity.” In this case, we started by adding 10oz., then checking the dipstick every 2-3 oz. until it registered full.
Step 5: Perform the remainder of your maintenance, or start the mower if you are done with maintenance. The mower should be running smooth (or at least smoother than it was running). If the mower isn’t running smooth, check these steps and ensure you’ve done everything correctly. Changing the oil a second time likely won’t solve the problem unless you’ve made a mistake. You’ll notice if you check the oil again that it has turned brown. This is because the new oil and old oil have mixed together. This is OK and is not indicative of a bad change.
What do you think? How often do you change your lawnmower’s oil? Are you due for a change and putting it off?
Save Money and Time with a DIY Lawn Mower Oil Change: A Beginner’s Guide with Pictures
Doing a mower oil change, especially on a modern mower, is a gift; the manufacturers are making them so DIY and user-friendly that I doubt you’ll need a tool.
So when should you do a mower oil change? Lawnmower engine oil should change at least once per season or every 50 hours of operation. Most engines will take a 1/2 quart (.6lt) of 10w30 engine oil.
If your yard is challenging terrain, hilly, over an acre, or dusty, then a second oil change mid-way through the season will help protect the motor. Clean the air filter regularly, about every 25 hours, more often in very dry, dusty conditions. Ideally, a mower needs a full tune-up at the start of the season, and it’s only a little more work than an oil change.
This post covers the oil change and tune-up process; if you need additional help, check out “Mower tune-up video.” The video walks you through the whole process step by step. Easy oil draining technique, adding oil (type and quantity). It also covers plug change, air filter change, carburetor bowl draining, and blade sharpening. You know, a complete pre-season tune-up.
When to Tune-up
This is a question I get a lot. I tell my customers to service their mowers at the start of the new season before the first cut. Mowers that overwinter can often have issues that arise from being idle, such as stale gas in the carburetor, sticking valves, sticking wheels, cables, etc.
Moisture can collect inside the engine if the storage area isn’t heated. That’s why I recommend a tune-up in the spring.
Proper winterizing will eliminate many problems; check out “Lawn mower winterizing”. If your mower is a tractor mower, check out this guide, “Riding mower maintenance”.
Modern mowers are user-friendly; increasingly, manufacturers are adding little features that make DIY repairs almost enjoyable. Features like: large easy to read dipstick; large fuel filler opening; fuel shut-off valve; quick-release air filter cover; carburetor fuel bowl drain plug; easy oil drain.
Knowing how to service and repair your own mower is a useful skill. Four-stroke lawn mower engines are simple, and most are designed thoughtfully so that the homeowner can easily DIY service.
Tune-up Includes – Change engine oil; change plug; clean/replace air filter; fuel filter (if fitted); drain carburetor bowl; inspect and sharpen blades or replace; inspect drive belt; lube all axles and controls.
The Tools You Need
While doing an oil change likely won’t require any tools, a tune-up will require just basic ones. Doing a tune-up might sound like a lot of work, but really it isn’t. It’s also not technical, and no special tools are needed. Like many tasks, it’s about the right knowledge and good preparation.
- Socket set with plug socket
- Selection of wrenches
- Selection of screwdrivers
- Torx drivers
- Inspection light
- Flat file
- Wire brush
- Oil catch
- Dust mask.
Check out all the tools I use here on the “Small engine repair tools” page.
Tune-up Parts You Need
All engines will have a model code and date stamped. Briggs and Stratton stamp their codes into the metal valve cover at the front of the engine. Kohler has a tag, and Honda has a sticker on the body.
After you find these numbers, buying the tune-up kit online is easy. Most mower engines are common, so you won’t have a problem getting a match-tune-up kit.
The tune-up kit includes oil; plug; air filter; fuel filter (if fitted); new blade (optional).
Check out part numbers with your engine maker.
Engine Code – The engine code is useful information when ordering a tune-up kit.
Your mower may not be the same as the demo model, but that’s not important; the process will be close to identical no matter what model you have. There are many different makes of mowers, and many are fitted with the very reliable Briggs and Stratton single-cylinder engine. Kohler and Honda are also quite popular engines.
Here’s the stepped process; you don’t need to follow it in this order; this is how I usually do it. I do begin the process by warming the engine; it helps the oil flow. Warm oil moves more freely than cold. Warm oil also drains more quickly, which helps bring all the contaminants with it.
Be sure to wear gloves and goggles when working with gas, and do so in a well-ventilated area. Remember to disable your mower by removing the plug wire before actually starting any work.
I’ve covered it in video format, also. You’ll find the video here on “Tune-up video.”
Note on blade sharpening: In this guide, I do not remove the blade to sharpen. However, removing the blade to sharpen is the best practice. The blade ideally should be balanced after the sharpening process. An imbalanced blade leads to vibration.
All that said, when a blade is in good condition, it is acceptable to sharpen it while remaining on the mower. Removing the blade comes with risks, too; a blade must be tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications. Too loose is obviously bad, but too tight is problematic, also.
A mower blade, coupled with a blade boss, works together to help protect the crankshaft from damage. The blade is designed to slip on the boss in the event of a blade strike. This prevents crankshaft damage; over-tightening the blade bolt, as you can imagine, could be a costly mistake.
If you do choose to remove the blade to sharpen and balance or replace it altogether, use a torque wrench to tighten it. You’ll find videos in the video library covering torque wrench use, sharpening, balancing, and fitting blades, and a ton of other repairs also. You’ll find a post here on the torque wrench I use.
1 – Remove the plug wire (Twist Pull) and leave it off until you are ready to start the engine later in the process.
2 – Turn off the gas tap if fitted. Or pinch the gas line gently with grips. When turning your mower over, always turn the carburetor side up.
3 – Remove and replace the plug. Check that the replacement plug is the same. Thread in the new plug by hand before using the plug tool.
4 – Snug the plug down and give it a little tightening. Not too tight! Don’t fit the plug wire just yet.
5 – Not all mowers will have a gas filter like this. Gas filters may be directional and will have an arrow pointing to the carburetor.
Some filters will be built into the gas line; these types of filters can be cleaned and reused.
Some gas tanks will have a filter mesh screen at the bottom. You may have to remove the tank to clean it, depending on how bad it is.
6 – Remove replace the air filter. Clean the air box being careful not to allow dirt into the carburetor.
7 – Check your blade for damage or excessive wear. If worn, replace. A new blade will be easier on the mower and your lawn. Never attempt to repair a bent blade; this will weaken the metal and can lead to injury.
Removing the blade for sharpening and balancing is advised. If the blade is in good condition, you can sharpen it in place. See replacing mower blades video here.
8 – We will sharpen this blade in place. It is, however, always better to remove, sharpen and balance the blade before tightening to spec. An imbalanced blade leads to vibration.
Here we’ll file the face of the leading edge to remove any small nicks.
9 – Here, we’ll file at the same angle as the bevel; some blades will have the bevel facing the other way.
10 – Now dress the opposite side to remove the burrs. A sharp blade is the secret to a beautiful, healthy lawn, and it extends the life of your mower.
11 – Most mowers will have a belt to drive the mower. Check the condition of the belt and the pulleys.
These belts have a difficult job and can be the cause of various issues. Regular inspection will tell you if your belt is at the end of its life. Things to look for are flat-spotting, glazing, cracking, and fraying.
12 – Drain the oil while the engine is still warm; this helps the draining process.
13 – Add oil a little at a time, and check the level. Overfilling is not good for the engine. It will cause oil leaks, misfiring, and lots of smoke. Most small engine mowers will take a little over half a quart (.6lt) of 10w30 engine oil. Yes, you can use car engine oil. See the oil chart below.
How much oil does a push mower take? Most mowers will take about half a quart of oil or.6 of a liter from empty. Overfilling will cause the engine to smoke.
Can I use 5w30 engine oil? 5w30 or 10w30 engine oil is good for a lawnmower engine.
Hey, I’m John, and I’m a Red Seal Qualified Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience.
I’ve worked on all types of mechanical equipment, from cars to grass machinery, and this site is where I share fluff-free hacks, tips, and insider know-how.
Q: I haven’t changed my lawn mower’s oil since last season, so I’m feeling rusty. Remind me: What type of oil can I use in my lawn mower?
A: You’re not alone. In fact, this bit of lawn mower maintenance happens so occasionally that some people forget to replenish lawn mower oil in the first place. It needs replacing after every 20 to 50 hours of operation, depending on your mower’s specifications. If your yard is small, that might mean as few times as once a year! But, while this task is infrequent, it’s also important to change the oil properly—starting with the correct type of oil for lawn mowers—to keep your machine running.
Different Kinds of Lawn Mower Engine Oil
According to a survey of consumers conducted by Briggs Stratton, the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment, 48 percent of those who buy automotive oil for their mower believe that automotive oil and small engine oil are one and the same.
In fact, lawn mower engine oil (as well as oil for other small engines) might actually be the only type your mower can tolerate. Using motor oil meant for a tractor or car can clog and disable some units completely due to its higher viscosity.
Always check your manufacturer’s specifications first. No owner’s manual handy? If yours has a Briggs Stratton engine, you can use the company’s interactive tool to determine the best oil for your specific lawn mower’s engine based on its make and model, motor type, and local climate. Talk about a shortcut! Otherwise, at a minimum, it’s important to keep a few guidelines in mind.
Lawn Mower Oil Types
Not all oils are equal, and it helps to get to know the subtle differences to determine the best oil for a lawn mower and avoid a costly mistake. In general, there are two main types of oil: motor oil and small-engine oil. Brands vary in their formulas, with some being regular oil, some a mix of regular and synthetic and some fully synthetic. Older oils typically were one weight or grade only, but newer oils have a viscosity rating added.
- SAE 30 is a single-grade, or straight weight, oil with a viscosity rating of 30 and is safe for small, air-cooled engines, typically older models.
- SAE 10W-30 is a multigrade engine oil that can work in cold temperatures, as well as hot, for a fairly balanced temperature range.
- SAE 5W-30 is a multigrade engine oil with a low viscosity to flow better at colder temperatures (than 10W-30), but protect the engine enough in heat.
- Synthetic SAE 5W-30 is a synthetic (artificial) lawn mower oil that works for both cold and warm weather. Synthetic oils tend to be more stable across temperature ranges than conventional oils.
- Vanguard 15W-50 is a brand of fully synthetic engine oil designed for commercial applications that operates at temperatures ranging from 20 to 130 degrees.
Motor Oil SAE Viscosity Grade
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) grades motor oils by viscosity. Viscosity loosely relates to weight, or thickness, and more accurately as a measure of how the oil flows at specific temperatures. In colder temperatures, thinner single-grade oil performs better in engines.
It gets a little more complicated with multigrade engine oil. Look at the first number, with a W (10W, for example) as a measure of flow in cold temperatures. The W stands for winter (not weight). The lower this number, the less viscosity an oil will have at colder temperatures, and the better it will flow. Too thick when the engine starts, and it won’t flow through and protect those critical engine components.
The higher number that follows (the 30 in 10W 30) refers to viscosity at higher operating temperatures and in hot weather. Multigrade oils typically are designed to flow in a range of temperatures to match conditions. Some oils have additives that also keep viscosity steadier in cold or heat.
How to Choose the Best Oil for Your Lawn Mower Engine
When choosing the right lawn mower oil type for your mower, your best bet is to check the manufacturer recommendations. Also consider the engine type (such as 2-stroke engine), oil viscosity, and average temperatures where you live.
Motor Oil for Four-Stroke Engines
Four-stroke engines tend to power heavy-duty equipment, but are reliable and your best bet for larger lawns. These engines are common in large and/or riding lawn mowers as well as some push mowers. Even so, be sure to check your manufacturer’s manual or website for specific instructions on which grade of motor oil to use, since—much like a car—the engine might be sensitive to certain additives.
Oil and gas are kept separate in a four-stroke engine. Oil with a grade of SAE-30 is often a safe bet, but it’s still worth confirming since a lawn mower is no small investment. You can buy SAE-30 motor oil online (view example on Amazon), at any auto parts store, from most gas stations, and in the automotive section of a hardware store.
Small Engine Oil for Two-Stroke Engines
This type of engine is most commonly found in smaller and older push mowers, plus other small engines, like on weed trimmers and chainsaws. Its popularity as a preferred lawn mower engine has decreased some over the years as four-stroke units have become more common. Louder and smokier than their four-stroke counterparts, two-stroke motors can keep running no matter how steep an angle you’re trying to tackle (think: hilly or sloped terrains).
Two-stroke engines are lighter and cost less, too. And, since they use the same fill port for both gasoline and small engine oil, two-cycle motors require owners to mix them together in a specific ratio such as 32:1 or 50:1—refer to your operator’s manual for the correct gas-to-oil ratio.
These oils typically have additives to help clear carbon deposit and minimize wear, among other tasks. Find small engine oil online (view example on Amazon) or in the lawn and garden section of any hardware or auto parts store.
Know when to change your lawn mower’s oil.
A brand new mower might need an oil change after the first 5 hours of use; refer to your unit’s manual. Beyond that, small motors might need an oil change every 25 hours of use or thereabout, while larger motors typically can last up to 50 hours before requiring oil replacement.
A handful of factors can increase the frequency of oil changes, including extreme dust and dirt, rough terrain, frequent mowing of wet or muddy grass, and even a hot climate—conditions in which the engine is forced to work harder. If you have a large yard (or if you mow a small yard frequently), use a dipstick or clean cloth to check the lawn mower engine oil level before each use once it’s run beyond 20 hours or so.
Even if the mower hasn’t hit the 20-hour mark at the end of a season, make a point of changing your oil each spring, before your first mow. Avoid overfilling the mower by checking the oil level with a dipstick.
FAQ About Lawn Mower Oil
What kind of oil do you use in a lawn mower?
The oil type depends on the engine type, typical operating temperatures, and especially the recommendations of the lawn mower manufacturer. In general, small-engine oil that is a mix of oil and fuel works in two-stroke engines, and straight oil typically works for four-stroke engines. Factors such as temperature affect which grade to choose.
Can you use regular motor oil in a lawn mower?
Lawn mowers with four-stroke engines might do fine with regular motor oil, but always check the manufacturer documentation to make sure. Some automotive oils are too high in viscosity and meant for larger engines, so don’t assume that more is better. Many deluxe models of push mowers and riding mowers use regular motor oil. Two-stroke engines cannot use motor oil; they need a mix of fuel and oil specially designed for small engines.
What’s the best oil to use in a lawn mower?
The best oil to use in a lawn mower is the one recommended by the manufacturer. Viscosity and whether the oil is synthetic or regular oil can vary based on climate, conditions, and engine type.
Can I use 10W30 instead of SAE 30 in my lawn mower?
No, it is not recommended. Most engines that call for SAE 30 are older models of mowers with engines designed for straight weight oil. These models were designed before multigrade oil became available, so you should not substitute with the multigrade option.
Lawn mower oil is essential to keeping your mower running efficiently and effectively, and use of the right oil, plus regular oil changes, can protect the life of the mower’s engine. Take the time to find out the best oil for your lawn mower based on the mower’s model and recommendations of the manufacturer. Also consider operating conditions, viscosity, and type of engine.
A little prep avoids irreversible damage caused by forcing the wrong oil through your lawn mower’s engine.
What oil type is best to use for my lawn mower?
For Briggs Stratton manufactured small engines, we recommend the use of Briggs Stratton Warranty Certified mower oil for best performance in Snapper lawn mowers, tractors, snow blowers and other outdoor power products. Other high-quality detergent small engine and lawn mower oil types are acceptable if classified for service SF, SG, SH, SJ or higher. Do not use special additives.
When changing the oil in your Snapper mower, use the outdoor temperatures to determine the proper oil viscosity for the engine. Use the chart to select the best viscosity for the outdoor temperature range expected.
Lawn mower engine oil recommendations for brands other than Briggs Stratton would be best obtained through the engine manufacturer, engine Operator’s Manual or local Snapper Service Repair Dealers.
When performing mower maintenance or repair, Snapper recommends reading and following all safety precautions outlined in the Snapper Product Manual. This extends to changing the oil in all Snapper products, including tractors, riding mowers, zero turn mowers, tillers and other outdoor power products. Any FAQ instruction provided on the website are not intended to replace work completed by a Snapper Authorized Dealer. Terms and Conditions apply to all of the information presented on this website. Before operating your equipment or conducting small engine maintenance, you should always read and comprehend the entire Operator’s Manual.
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What Does SAE Stand For in Oil?
SAE is the acronym for the Society of Automotive Engineers. They are an organization that sets global standards in a variety of fields related to transportation and aerospace. It is the responsibility of the SAE to ensure that automotive oil is standardized throughout the world.
Yes. As previously stated, engine oil made for cars and trucks is the highest quality oil on the market and it works optimally with nearly all four-stroke engines.
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