How Often Should You Change Lawn Mower Oil?
Maintaining your lawn mower, whether its a push mower or a riding lawn mower, is crucial to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. One aspect of lawn mower maintenance that is often overlooked is changing the oil. It can be easy to forget, but neglecting to change your lawn mower oil can result in significant damage to your machine that may require costly repairs. So, how often should you change your lawn mower oil? In this blog, we will explore the answer to this question and provide tips for proper oil maintenance.
What is Lawn Mower Oil?
Lawn mower engine oil is specially formulated for small engines that power outdoor equipment such as lawn mowers, generators, and snow blowers. Most lawn mower oils are made from petroleum-based products blended with additives that offer protection from wear, corrosion, and deposits. Some new lawn mower motor oils are also known as synthetic oil. providing even more protection and better performance in extreme temperatures.
Why is Changing Lawn Mower Oil Important?
Lawn mower engines use oil as lubrication for the internal components, reducing friction and preventing damage. Over time, oil breaks down, becomes contaminated with dirt and debris, and loses its ability to protect the engine. Old, dirty oil can cause engine wear, reduce performance, leaks, and potentially harm your lawn mower permanently. Regular oil changes are necessary to keep your lawn mower functioning optimally and to prolong its lifespan.
How Often Should You Change Lawn Mower Oil?
The frequency of oil changes depends on the type of lawn mower, the climate, and how often it is used. A general guideline is to change lawn mower oil every 50 hours of use or at least once a year. However, you may need to change the oil more frequently if you use your lawn mower frequently or in harsh conditions.
If you frequently mow in heavy dust or dirty conditions, you should check the oil more often and replace it more frequently. Dirt and dust can mix with the oil and create contaminants that wear down the engine more quickly. Additionally, if you use your lawn mower in hot weather, consider changing the oil at shorter intervals as heat can speed up the break down of oil.
How to Change Lawn Mower Oil?
Changing the oil on your lawn mower is relatively easy and should not take much time. New lawn mower engine oil should be an amber color, whereas dark oil is a telltale sign of oil oil. Here is a step-by-step guide:
- Turn off the motor and let it cool down.
- Drain out the old oil into an oil-safe container such as a drain pan. Most lawn mowers have a drain plug on the underside that you can unscrew to drain the oil. Tilt the mower over a container to catch the oil.
- Replace the mower’s oil filter if applicable. Check your owner’s manual to see if your model has an oil filter and how to replace it.
- Refill with fresh oil. Consult your owner’s manual to determine which type of oil to use and how much to add to prevent overfilling. Alternatively, you can check the model of your lawn mower online. Tip: use a funnel to avoid spills.
- Check the lawn mower’s oil level a couple of times. Make sure your lawn mower’s oil level is correct by using a dipstick. If it’s too low, add more oil. If it’s too high, drain some out.
- Run the mower for a few minutes to allow it to warm up. This will help distribute the new oil throughout the engine.
- Dispose of old oil correctly. Check your local regulations on how to dispose of old oil safely.
Lawn Mower Engine Oil At Landscape Supply Waco
Maintaining your lawn mower‘s oil is critical to its performance and longevity. Neglecting to change your lawn mower oil can result in damage that can be costly to repair. As a general rule of thumb, you should change your oil after 50 hours of use or at least once a year. Regular oil changes keep your lawn mower in top condition, ensuring it runs smoothly and lasts for years to come. With proper maintenance, you can keep your lawn looking great without any hassles.
At Landscape Supply Waco, we offer a wide variety of lawnmower maintenance items such as motor oil, spark plugs, spark plug wire, air filters, spark plug wires, and mower blades. Whether you need your lawn mower’s oil changed or you would like to pick up the oil to do it yourself, we have everything you need to get your mower ready for the beginning and the end of the mowing season.
Easy Mower Oil Change Using The Same Oil You Use in Your Car
How to Change Lawn Mower Oil
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This article and its video explain how to change lawn mower oil on most mowers, and how to change oil filters on mowers that have them.
The small engines that run lawn mowers need their oil changed just like car engines. Most mower engines need their oil changed every 20-50 hours of operation.
A mower’s owner’s manual will indicate how often to perform oil changes on the mower. At the very least, an oil change should be done annually with other seasonal tune-up maintenance.
This article explains the steps for changing oil in most mowers. Changing mower oil is very simple and can take as little as five minutes.
Step 1: Prepare for the Oil Change
Warm up the engine
Warming up the mower engine will speed up the oil change because the oil will flow more freely. It will also be a little easier to get all of the old oil out of the engine.
Clean around the oil fill area.
Use an air compressor or a clean towel to clean up around the oil fill area
Prepare an oil pan to catch the oil.
You’ll need an oil pan or something similar to catch the oil from the mower. Position the pan on the side of the mower towards which you will tip it to drain the oil.
Step 2: Dump the Old Oil
Remove the oil fill cap.
Tip the lawn mower on its side to drain its oil.
It’s a good idea to leave the mower resting on its side for about a minute while all of the old oil drips out.
Step 3: Replace the Oil Filter (if Applicable)
The majority of walk-behind lawn mowers do not have oil filters, but several models on the market include them in the engine design. We’ve included the steps for changing a mower’s oil filter below in case your mower model includes one.
If your lawn mower engine model does not include an oil filter, skip to step Step 10 to complete your oil change.
Prepare something to catch the oil.
Unscrewing your mower’s oil filter will spill the oil it is holding inside of it.
Find something to catch the oil that is small enough to fit under the filter as you unscrew it.
Unscrew the old filter.
The old filter simply unscrews.
Coat the seal of the new filter with oil.
The seal of the new oil filter needs to be coated with oil before it is installed.
Using your finger, apply a small coat of motor oil to the outside lip of the new filter. This thin coat of oil will ensure that it seals tightly when you install it.
Install the new oil filter.
Screw the new oil filter into place until it touches the plate it seals against. Then, give the filter a firm 1/4 or 1/2 turn to tighten it down.
Step 4: Refill Mower Oil
Now the mower is ready to have its engine oil refilled. Remember that over-filling the oil on a lawn mower engine is just as bad as under-filling it.
Check the mower owner’s manual for the exact quantity of oil that the mower takes.
Use the mower’s dipstick as the final judge on the right oil level. Most mowers take between 2/3 and 3/4 a quart of oil
Add engine oil gradually until it is full.
Stop a couple of times as you fill the oil to check its level with the dipstick.
Creeping up on the full line like this reduces the chance of overfilling.
Replace oil cap.
Your lawn mower oil change is now complete.
Changing your lawn mower’s oil will help its engine run powerfully and dependably. This and other simple equipment maintenance will greatly extend the life of your tools.
eReplacementParts.com can help you with your lawn garden machine repairs. Visit our Lawn Mower Parts page to shop for parts by mower brand, or visit our Small Engine Parts page for more small engine maintenance parts.
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Комментарии и мнения владельцев
My lawn mower that a friend recently gave me wouldn’t stay on today when I was trying to cut the grass after filling it with gas so I’m assuming it might need an oil change. Now because I’ve never been responsible for the maintenance of a lawnmower prior to now, I’m wondering if I have to drain the gas out first prior to tipping it over?
What about removing the drain plug from under the deck.
Many new mowers no longer have a drain plug under the deck unfortunately.
Funny I spent 10 minutes looking for a drain plug on my self propelled TORO, since my last lawnmower had one under the deck. Well I finally gave up and asked my brother for advice and he suggested exactly what is described in this article. The only drawback with this method is that oil tends to get in the combustion chamber resulting in a puff of smoke (pollution) the next time I start it.
Just want to point out that I hadn’t changed the oil in 4 years since I bought it (don’t know how I forgot as I am usually pretty good) and boy was the oil black and dirty. Had to flush it about 5 times (starting it between changes and letting it run for a minute or two) before the oil started to drain clear. I used synthetic oil as it’s the only oil I use for all my 4 stroke combustion engines.
How to Change the Engine Oil in a Lawn Mower
Keeping your lawn maintained helps to cut down on insect populations in the yard, builds strong roots for healthier lawns and adds an exceptional amount of curb appeal.
Lawn maintenance begins with a well-maintained lawn mower which means there are certain tasks you need to perform in order to keep the machine in top working order. One of the most important aspects of ownership is knowing how to change your mower’s oil. We’ll take a closer look at that in this article.
Preparation and Setup
Location is important when preparing to change your lawnmower’s oil. You’re going to want to avoid servicing the machine on grass or near flower beds and foliage due to the chance of oil spillage which can kill your plant life. Select a hard, flat surface such as a driveway or sidewalk and be sure to employ a drop cloth to catch any mess that may occur.
Warm oil is better. While it is certainly possible to change the oil in a cold engine, remember that this lubricant becomes more viscous at higher temperatures. A good rule of thumb is to run your mower for a minute or two to heat it up a bit. In doing this, you’ll have much less trouble extracting the old oil. It’s also good to take precautions with handling a warm mower as the likelihood of engine burns increases. It is recommended that you use work gloves to mitigate the risk of injury.
Finally, you will want to remove the spark plug wire from the plug itself and keep it away to avoid any sort of accidental engine start. The last step in your preparation should also include cleaning the area around the oil fill opening as this prevents any outside debris or dirt from entering the oil reservoir.
Removing the Old LawnMower Oil
Extracting the old oil is one of the most important steps in the process. You’ll want to ensure that you remove as much of the old product as possible. Here are three methods to help you do so:
- Use a siphon: If using a siphon place one end of the tube into the dipstick/oil fill hole until it reaches the bottom of the oil reservoir. Place the other end of the siphon into a structurally sound container that you will specifically use for this and future oil changes. Make a note to use a container that is easy to handle as you will need to transfer your oil into approved containers for proper disposal. Finally, place wood blocks or other sturdy material under the wheels of the mower on the opposite side of the oil fill hole. This helps to remove as much of the oil as possible.
- Remove the oil plug: Depending on what type of mower you have, you can remove the oil plug to drain out the old lubricant. Refer to your owner’s manual for the location of your drain plug and be sure you have the proper sized socket wrench for the job. Once located, position the plug over your catch container and remove it. When the oil is fully drained, replace the plug securely.
- Tilt Method: If you do not have access to a siphon, you can drain by tilting the mower on its side. When tilting the mower, position the oil fill cap over the container you are using to collect the used oil. Once positioned correctly, remove the fill cap and let the oil drain completely. You should be aware of the fuel level of the mower when using this method and should only attempt to do so with an empty or near the empty tank to avoid spillage. This method also requires you to make a note of where the air filter is located as you do not want to contaminate it with draining oil.
Fill With New Oil
Now that the old oil has been removed, it’s time to fill your reservoir with fresh lubricant. Once again, refer to your owner’s manual for the approved type of oil for your mower and the proper amount your machine requires. Keep in mind that both over and underfilling your oil reservoir can be harmful to the life of your mower. Fill the oil tank and replace the dipstick cap. Let the oil settle for at least two minutes and then check the level with the dipstick to ensure you have a proper fill.
Final Steps to Change Oil in a Lawnmower
Once you have the oil reservoir filled to the proper level, you will need to place the spark plug wire back on the spark plug. Your used oil is recyclable and most towns and counties have ordinances on proper disposal. You should check with your local government to find out the specifics, but chances are you’ll need to transfer it from a catch pan into a sealable container. Empty household detergent containers are perfect for this – just be sure the oil has cooled before you do this. Seal the cap tightly and bring your oil to a recycling center. Most gas stations and auto repair shops will accept used oil although some will charge a slight fee.
Be sure you change your mower’s oil annually or after 50 hours of use to keep it in top working condition. If your machine has an air filter, you’ll want to change that annually as well (You may need a filter or pipe wrench to remove it).
Congratulations, you now know how to change the oil in a lawnmower!
Proper maintenance for your mower is key to a working machine and a healthier lawn—and it all starts with the right refill. Get to know your lawn mower engine oil options here.
By Amy Lynch and Bob Vila | Updated May 27, 2021 10:13 AM
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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.
Two types of oil can go into operating lawn mowers, but your mower’s size, type, and capacity might help determine which of these two is the better option. Even the climate you live in can make a difference when the time comes to change or add oil, since each type of oil for lawn mowers has its own recommended temperature range. If you live in a place that frequently heats up to more than 100 degrees, for example, it might be wise to choose an oil made to withstand a wide range of temperatures.
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.
Proper Way To Tip A Lawn Mower Over
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.