What Happens When There’s Too Much Oil in a Lawn Mower? How to Drain Excess
If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.
It’s crucial to maintain your lawn mower to give you clean and consistent cuts for your lawn. And when it’s time to do some mowing, you may have added excess lubricant than you ought to on the oil tank.
What if you spilled too much oil in a lawn mower? Here are expert tips our seasoned landscapers and gardeners could do.
Signs that Your Lawn Mower Has Too Much Engine Oil
Firstly, you should check the mower’s engine components to ensure they are functioning correctly. Our experts have compiled a list of common mistakes people make, such as adding too much oil to the lubricant tank.
#1: Engine Seal Damaged
Excess oil will cause malfunction and damage to the lawn mower engine seal. This usually happens when the lubricant passing through the oil filter is too hot, so be careful not to overfill.
#2: Overheating Engine
An overheating engine is one of the most common problems in riding mower caused by adding too much oil than the recommended oil requirements for your mower.
When the oil is too hot, it can cause the lawnmower engine to surge or seize up and not work correctly. In addition, too much oil can damage the seals, gaskets, and combustion chamber. At worst, the engine may even catch on fire.
#3: Locked Up Engine
Your lawn mower may become hydro-locked if you’ve spilled too much engine oil.
This is where there’s oil overfill, causing the engine to no longer run. If this happens, you may need to take your lawn mower to a repair shop to have the excess oil removed from your mower.
#4: Smoking Engine
Another common problem caused by too much oil is a smoking engine. This usually happens when the oil is overheating, causing a lawn mower to blow white smoke from its combustion chamber.
#5: Malfunctioning Engine
Adding extra oil may result in problems with the spark plugs, fuel injection system, or other engine parts, causing the engine to malfunction.
Another sign of a damaged or bad engine is when the crankshaft repeatedly strikes bursting oil during operation.
If you notice any of these problems, we suggest you take your lawn mower to a repair shop to have it checked out for engine block. Stop using your current engine oil and evaluate for compatibility.
#6: Damaged Part/s
Check if your lawn mower shows signs of oil leak and inspect for damaged gasket or spark plug wire. This can be caused by overfilled oil tanks.
What Should I Do If I Added Too Much Oil to my Lawn Mower Engine?
It’s essential to know the signs of too much oil in a lawn mower particularly when readying your mower for the summer, so you can do proper oil removal and refill.
What Happens When You Overfill Lawnmower Oil
A distinct burning smell or even fumes coming from your engine is a result if you’ve spilled too much oil. It is especially true if you don’t regularly change your oil and the residue has built up.
If there’s too much visibly, you can start by removing the oil dipstick or cap first, then drain. Place enough oil and don’t exceed the maximum mark. Also, clear the oil drops around the engine and air filter as a preventive measure.
If you notice leaks from the engine, this can also be a sign that there’s too much oil in your lawn mower. If this is the case, you need to clean the leaking oil running down its side.
A low-level hum from the engine or even white smoke coming from it can indicate too much lubricant. Our experts recommend you observe this as part of preventive measures against fire hazard.
It’s important to identify and address these signs to prevent overheating your machine and avoid extra cost in repairs and maintenance. It would also be beneficial to check for equipment reviews from others who purchased the same brand.
What Oil Should You Use for Your Lawnmower
Proper maintenance of your lawnmower will improve its performance and help to extend its overall life. One of the most important aspects of lawnmower care is to ensure that you always have the right amount of oil in your lawnmower. It’s equally important to make sure you use the type of oil that is ideal for your specific lawnmower.
Here’s a few tips to help make sure that you have the right type and amount of oil in your lawnmower at all time.
How to Drain Oil from a Riding Lawn Mower
How to Check the Oil in Your Lawnmower
You should check the oil level in your lawnmower on a regular basis. This is done similarly to how you would check the oil level in your vehicle. Simply remove the dipstick from the lawnmower and wipe it off with a clean rag. Then, fully insert the dipstick back into place. For best results, you should twist the dipstick back into place before pulling it back out to check. Oil residue on the dipstick should be somewhere between the full and add marks. If it is lower than the add mark then it’s time to put more oil in your mower.
When to Change the Oil in Your Lawnmower
Most experts agree that you should change the oil in your lawnmower every 50 hours of use for a walk-behind model and every 100 hours of use for a riding mower, or annually, whichever comes first. Regular oil changes can help to enhance the overall performance of your mower.
What Type of Oil to Use in Your Lawnmower
The type of oil you should use for your lawnmower depends on several factors, including the type of mower you own, the engine in the mower and the outdoor temperature in the area where you will be mowing.
- Type of Mower – Lawnmower manufacturers typically recommend a specific type of oil to be used in the mowers. Take a minute to read the lawnmower owner’s manual to determine which type of oil the manufacturer recommends for your specific mower. Most manufacturers also provide this information online.
- Mower’s Engine – It is vital that you know what type of engine is in your lawnmower. You cannot use standard motor oil in two-cycle engines. These types of engines require a specialized lightweight oil, such as oils with APR performance ratings of SF, SH, SG or SJ. Four-cycle engines, on the other, do use standard motor oil because the engine stores the gasoline and oil separately. The specific type of motor oil you should use with four-cycle engine depends on the outdoor temperature in the area where you will be mowing.
- Outdoor Temperature – In warmer temperatures, SAE 30 is your best option. In colder areas, you should stick with SAE 5W-30 motor oil. If you live in an area where the temperature fluctuates between 0° and 100° then you should use an SAE 10W-30 motor oil.
Benefits of Using Fuel Stabilizer Treatment
If you are looking for a way to extend the life of your lawnmowers oil to a full 24 months and avoid the need to drain the oil before storing during the winter months, try using a high-quality fuel stabilizer treatment, such as STA-BIL. This fuel stabilizer treatment works well with all types of gasoline engines at preventing varnish and gum buildup in your mower. Best of all, when your mower’s oil is enhance with STA-BIL, you can be rest assured that your lawnmower will start up quick and easy every time.
Keep your lawnmower working at peak performance by making sure you always have the right amount and type of oil in the mower. You can improve your mower’s performance even more, and reduce the amount of maintenance it requires by adding a dynamic fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL to your gas.
Why Is My Lawn Mower Smoking? 9 Reasons Solutions
It’s a fine day and you plan to give your lawn the much-needed grooming, but as you start the mower engine, it starts billowing smoke. It’s the worst you can even imagine, right?
Even though the lawn mower smoking would be the last thing you would want to see, it’s not unusual for the lawn mower to emit a different color of smoke. But the immediate question that may strike your mind is, why is my lawn mower smoking?
There are numerous causes why your lawn mower emits blue, black, or white smoke. The most common reason is oil leaking from the exhaust or spillage if you’ve overfilled the tank. Motor overheating is another cause for an electric lawn mower to smoke, leading to wire breakage and short circuit.
There are several other reasons for the lawn mower to smoke. In this article, I’ll discuss all the probable causes of lawn mower smoking and their solutions. Keep reading for more.
- 0.1 Key Takeaways
- 1.1 1. Low Oil Levels
- 1.2 2. Motor Overheating
- 1.3 3. Clogged Air Filters
- 1.4 4. Spark Plug Issues
- 1.5 5. Carbon Build-up
- 1.6 6. Fuel Issues
- 1.7 7. The Deck Has Gathered Debris Grass
- 1.8 8. The Discharge Chute Is Blocked
- 1.9 9. Worn Out Motor
- 2.1 1. How Do I Fix White Smoke From My Lawn Mower?
- 2.2 2. Why Is My Lawn Mower Smoking Blue?
- 2.3 3. Why Is My New Lawn Mower Smoke When I Start It?
- Lawn mowers smoking black, blue, and white smoke is very common.
- The primary cause of lawn mower smoking is oil leaking from the exhaust.
- Motor overheating is another cause of electric lawn mower smoking.
- There are multiple other causes for the issues like low oil levels, clogged air filters, worn out motor, dirty discharge chute, etc.
- You need to maintain your lawn mower and check for probable causes to keep the lawn mower protected from further damage.
Top Nine Causes of Lawn Mower Smoking and Effective Solutions
Mentioned below are some of the main reasons your lawn mower may emit smoke:
Low Oil Levels
Low oil levels are one of the causes of lawn mower smoke. Like your car, the lawn mower engine needs appropriate levels of oil to work smoothly. If smoke is coming out of the engine, this could be a sign of not enough oil.
Operating the lawn mower at a low oil level may cause increased friction up to the point that it heats up the internal parts and causes smoke.
Please note: Similar to low oil levels, overfilling oil can also cause smoking in the lawn mower. The smoke comes in the form of burning oil, which usually has a blue or white hue.
The simple solution to the problem is to fill the lawn mower tank to appropriate levels. Don’t underfill or overfill it. Use the dipstick to check oil levels if you notice symptoms like noise, overheating, engine heating up, etc.
An overheating motor will also lead to smoking in an electric mower. But what causes the motor to overheat? There are several causes of the problem, such as:
- You didn’t clean the inside of the motor, and it got too dirty. A dirty motor can’t cool itself, leading to overheating.
- If the grass is too tall, it can put force on the motor, causing overheating.
- Something has been stuck in the blade for a long time, leading to overheating. Make sure to inspect the blades regularly before and after using the lawn mower.
- A very old electric lawn mower can also overheat easily.
Since a dirty engine is one of the primary reasons for overheating, keeping it clean is the top solution. To clean it, remove the mower casing and clean the inside using a soft brush or compressed air.
Another way to prevent overheating is to keep the machine’s cutting height a little higher than where it’s set now. Pro tip: Never cut more than 3rd of the length of grass in one go.
Clogged Air Filters
If your lawn mower is emitting blue or white smoke, stop the machine and check the air filter once the engine cools down. Clogged air filters are another common cause of lawn mower smoking, similar to having a stuffy nose. Clogged air filters mean that the combustion chamber isn’t getting enough oxygen, leading to a rich oil mixture and smoke being emitted.
The easiest solution to the problem is replacing the air filters. You should anyway replace the air filter once a year as part of your yearly maintenance.
If the smoke issue persists even after replacing the air filter, it means the lawn mower’s carburetor needs adjustment. You can either do it yourself or get help from a professional.
Spark Plug Issues
The spark plug is an essential component in the lawn mower as it ignites the fuel and air mixture in the cylinder. Examining the spark plug regularly is essential because a dirty one can cause various problems, and smoking is one of them.
If the spark plug is dirty or too old, or if the plug’s gap is too large, it won’t start the mower and will sputter black smoke.
Many people would start adjusting the plug gap as an immediate solution, but getting a new one is the best thing to do as it’ll cost you only a few dollars.
Excessive carbon build-up can also lead to lawn mower smoking. But what is the cause of carbon build-up? Incomplete combustion is one of the top causes of carbon build-up. Carbon build-up can happen if the plug is designed to run at a cooler temperature or if you keep the machine idle more than when you run it at full speed, which the engine needs for proper combustion.
If the carburetor sprays too much fuel into the combustion chamber, the fuel burns cooler. The smoke resulting from such a cool burn can ruin the air filter, plug, and the spark arrestor that covers the engine’s exhaust port. This ultimately can cause smoking in the lawn mower.
Regular cleaning of the air filter and the cylinder is essential to prevent carbon build-up. Additionally, you should only use quality oil to run the engine. Maintain regular oil changes as recommended by the manufacturer, and you can use a fuel additive like AFC to improve combustion and engine efficiency.
A good quality additive reduces the amount of engine deposit and keeps the engine in pristine condition. If you’re already facing the carbon build-up issue, try increasing the engine’s RMPs to let the engine burn off carbon build-up within the machine.
Other solutions you can adopt to cure the problem include chemical cleaning, special fuel additives, fuel treatments, etc.
Seeing smoke from the lawn mower could be due to various fuel issues. As I mentioned before, leaking oil from the exhaust is a reason for the problem. If you have recently changed the oil and overfilled the tank, it could be a probable reason for oil leakage, causing blue or white smoke.
You should change your lawn mower oil after every 50 hours of operation. If you are using old, contaminated fuel, it can cause the engine to smoke and further damage the engine. Additionally, if the carburetor is dirty or damaged, it can also cause fuel issues as it’s responsible for the correct combination of fuel and air.
To prevent damaging the engine, make sure to change the oil at regular intervals. Also, you should use good quality oil to prevent easy and smooth functioning of the engine. Also, check the oil level using the dipstick located at the reservoir.
To check the oil level, remove the dipstick, clean it with a rag, and re-insert it in the reservoir. Remove the dipstick again to check the oil levels. If you have overfilled it, drain the oil completely and start refilling it following proper instructions from the user’s manual.
The Deck Has Gathered Debris Grass
The deck of a lawnmower is responsible for keeping grass and debris away from the motors and blades to help them run smoothly. Therefore, cleaning the inside of the deck regularly is important to keep it running smoothly.
If you don’t, the deck will start accumulating grass leading to motor overheating and smoking. over, it can also interrupt the smooth rotation of the blades, which will ultimately affect the grass cut.
Some common signs of a dirty deck are: the mower leaving grass clumps and trails of debris behind, the deck accumulating lots of debris underside of the deck, or the deck being visibly very dirty.
If you see the above symptoms, you should immediately clean the deck. To do so:
- Disconnect the mower from the power source.
- Tip it to the side to access the inside of the deck, and use a brush to get rid of all debris and grass.
- Clean it further using a hose and let it dry before using the mower again. Make sure there is not even a single droplet of water before you use the lawn mower again.
The Discharge Chute Is Blocked
Just like the deck, the discharge chute also plays an important role in keeping the grass clipping away from the blade. But if the discharge chute gets blocked, it can cause grass build-up inside the deck. And as you already know, excessive grass build-up will cause overheating and smoke.
Hence, keeping the discharge chute clean is paramount to avoid the problem.
The cleaning procedure of the discharge chute is quite similar to cleaning the deck. Here are the detailed cleaning steps:
- Turn off the mower and disconnect it from the power source.
- Next, remove the discharge chute from the mower and thoroughly clean it using a hose.
- Once the discharge chute dries, reattach it.
Worn Out Motor
If you have an electric lawn mower and it’s smoking, an old or worn-out motor is one of the main reasons. Some early signs of a worn-out motor, apart from the smoke, are that the motor isn’t operating as smoothly as it used to.
The solution in such a case is replacing the motor and getting a new one. However, you can also ask a professional to inspect the motor and see if minor repairs can be done. But it’s better to replace the motor to save additional costs in the future.
Why Is My Lawn Mower Smoking? FAQs
How Do I Fix White Smoke From My Lawn Mower?
White smoke isn’t very harmful, so you can fix the issue by allowing the spilled oil to burn completely.
Why Is My Lawn Mower Smoking Blue?
The usual cause of blue smoke is burning oil, and the reasons for burning oil are- incorrect oil grade, overfilling the oil crankcase, or operating the engine at higher than 15 degrees.
Why Is My New Lawn Mower Smoke When I Start It?
Overfilling the oil tank is again one of the common causes for even a new lawn mower to smoke. So always be careful while filling the oil tank.
The lawn mower plays a crucial role in keeping your lawn spick and span, hence it’s important to maintain it in the best possible condition. There are many reasons that can cause your lawn mower to smoke. And there’re, of course, some simple ways to fix the issue. Keep in mind that the earlier you diagnose the problem with your garden equipment, the easier and more cost-effective the solution will be. And if you can’t resolve the repair yourself, it’s best to turn to a professional in the field.
Will Too Much Oil REALLY Hurt A Lawn Mower Engine? (Explained)
We are often reminded of the dangers of too little oil in a mower, but what about the opposite?
Will too much oil hurt a lawn mower engine?
Will Too Much Oil Hurt A Lawn Mower Engine?
Yes too much oil can hurt a lawn mower engine. It all depends on how much extra oil you have added to the tank, but the more you overfill a mower with oil the more likely it is to cause permanent or even irreparable damage to the engine.
What Happens If There Is Too Much Oil In A Lawn Mower?
Using too much oil will have negative effects on your mower. Damage could range from mild and temporary to significant and permanent.
It all depends on how much extra oil you have put in and how long you use the mower without realizing it.
I have overfilled a mower with oil before and got away without it causing any real damage.
Mainly because I only overfilled it fractionally, so the mower ran without any major issues.
Adding too much oil to a 2-stroke mower engine is less of an issue than adding too much oil to a 4-stroke mower engine.
You will most probably see a white plume of smoke coming from the exhaust and end up with a spark plug that short circuits.
It is easier to resolve too. Usually, you can just add non-mixed fuel into the tank to dilute it.
But most mowers these days have 4-stroke engines.
So what happens if you put too much oil in a 4-stroke engine?
Slightly overfilling a 4-stroke engine with oil? You should be ok.
Excessively overfilling a 4-stroke engine with oil? You could see some very serious problems…
And as ever we like to look at the worst-case scenario here at Suave Yards!
So let’s spotlight what some of these problems could be…
#1: It Will Stop Vital Parts of the Mower from Being Lubricated
It might seem counter-intuitive that one of the main problems of overfilling your mower with oil might be reduced lubrication inside the engine, but that is exactly what could happen.
Four-stroke mower engines have an oil pan at the bottom of the engine along with an oil pump that lubricates the various parts of the engine.
The pump simply takes oil from the bottom of the pan and circulates it around the essential parts of the engine.
Then gravity comes into play and the oil trickles its way back to the pan at the bottom of the engine.
But when the oil level is too high the crankshaft will dip too much into the oil and the oil will be whipped up into a foam.
Any liquid oil that is pumped from the bottom of the pan will trickle down back onto the top of the foamy oil.
Eventually, the pump has no liquid oil to circulate, only the air-filled foamy oil.
So sufficient oil will not be dispersed around the engine, and it won’t be properly lubricated.
This can ruin crankshaft bearings and, at worst, lead to terminal engine failure.
#2: It Could Blow the Gaskets and Seals
Oil will heat up and expand as your engine runs.
So if you have too much oil in your lawn mower, as it expands it will naturally need somewhere to go.
Pressure could build up on the crankcase, and oil could leak into the carburetor, destroy your pistons and push out the gasket and seals.
The end result is either a rather large repair bill or a mower damaged completely beyond repair.
#3: It Could Hydrolock the Engine
Too much oil could also cause a hydraulic lock.
This is where oil seeps into the air space in the combustion chamber. So instead of this area only having air and a small amount of fuel in it, it now has oil as well.
The pistons in the chamber cannot compress oil as they do air, and it denies them sufficient space to move in.
The engine may still turn over when you try to start it, but it is hydro-locked and won’t start.
Continually attempting to start it will make any internal damage worse and could cause rings to break and gaskets to blow.
#4: It Could Foul the Spark Plug
In the above instance, oil in the combustion chamber can also have another unwanted effect.
The poor combustion as a result of excess oil in the chamber will see your little lawn mower belching a lot of smoke.
than you might imagine possible for such a small engine.
Apart from your mower not working properly the other result is a fouled spark plug.
#5: The Engine Will Overheat With (Potentially) Drastic Consequences
With too much oil you are effectively overloading many different parts of the mower.
This can lead to the engine getting hotter and hotter as the crankshaft and rod attempt to push through more oil.
The excessive loads and the heat can then even bend and break the rods and crankshaft.
At the same time, all of the internal parts of the engine will be under extra pressure, so a whole host of damage could be caused.
Symptoms of Too Much Oil in a Lawn Mower
If you have put far too much oil in your lawn mower, it will usually become obvious pretty quickly.
Usually you will notice your mower is either very difficult to start or, it starts up but feels very underpowered or like it is misfiring.
Once it is going, white smoke being emitted from the exhaust is a sure sign something is wrong! Often this could be too much oil.
If you notice oil in the carburetor, or on the air filter, or leaking from other parts of the machine then you undoubtedly have too much oil in the mower.
What Should You Do If You Have Overfilled Your Mower With Oil?
Too much oil can and will hurt a lawn mower engine, although it depends on how much you have overfilled your mower.
Overfilling it by just a few ounces most probably won’t cause any problems. I say probably as I can’t say for definite everything will be ok.
The more you have overfilled your mower, the more likely it is to suffer severe damage, as shown in the infographic above.
Large overfills could cause irreparable damage to your mower’s engine, meaning you might need to shell out on a brand-new lawn mower.
Or you might get lucky and just have to pay an excessive repair bill…
Either way, a lawn mower can definitely have too much oil, so please be careful when adding oil to your mower and only fill it to the recommended level.