A lawn mower is your best friend when it comes to cutting grassy lawns. The maintenance of your lawn mower is very important for extending its lifespan, and changing the oil is an important part of the maintenance just like for any other motorized machine. But many people wonder how often they should change lawn mower oil.
Lawn mower oil should be changed once every spring or summer or after 50 hours of use. For a new lawn mower, refill the oil after it has been used for 5 hours. If the oil is low before it is time to be changed, fill it to the fill line, and start the time of use over again.
Luckily, lawn mower oil does not need to be changed very often, but why should you change it at all? Why not simply let it run out? These are fair questions and we’ll answer them (and others) below.
How Often Should I Change The Lawn Mower Oil?
Lawn mower oil needs to be changed after the lawn mower has been used for 50 hours, or once every spring or summer. If you use your lawn mower more frequently than 50 hours per season, you will need to keep track of how many hours you use it for and change the oil after the appropriate amount of time.
A good way to keep track of how many hours you used it is to figure out how long it usually takes to mow your lawn. Then simply keep track of how often you cut your lawn and you can easily calculate how many hours of use your mower has had.
However, if you only use the lawn mower during the 5 months of the year that are warm, just change the oil when spring or summer begins. You probably only used it once every week or two, so it is unlikely you’ll go over 50 hours in a single mowing season. If you have a bigger lawn, make sure to keep track of the hours, you may need to change it one time in the middle if your lawn is huge.
It is best to change the oil after the lawn mower has sat for a long time unused and before you start to use it. If you use your lawn mower with old or dirty oil in it, the engine can become damaged.
If you live in an area with year-round grass growth, you may want to stick to the 50-hour rule instead of seasons. If you continue to mow your lawn through the winter months, you won’t get a break the same way that other people might.
Why Should I Change Lawn Mower Oil So Often?
While changing the oil after 50 hours of use or once a year does not seem to be a hassle, you will be surprised at how quickly the refill time rolls around. Once you start to pay attention, this can seem like a tedious task and you may wonder why we even do it in the first place.
So why should we change the oil? Why not just use it until it gets low, then refill it? As time passes, oil ages and becomes old and dirty. When old and dirty oil is used, it wears at the engine and will cause it to fail sooner than it should, even if you change it when you realize that the oil is old and needs to be replaced. If you have used dirty oil, the engine may break sooner than you expect it to.
Check your lawn mower oil levels often, even if you do not use the lawn mower very much. It is best to check it before and after you use it. If a lawn mower is used while it has no oil, the engine will become ruined, and then you will have to purchase a new lawn mower. It is best to take the few minutes it takes to check the oil level before you mow the lawn than to have to purchase a whole new lawn mower.
How To Change Lawn Mower Oil
Changing the oil in your lawn mower may seem complicated, but it is easier than it seems. However, if you have a drivable lawn mower, the process of changing the oil will be slightly different than what is instructed here. We will be focusing on how to change the oil of a push lawn mower.
It is best for you to change the lawn mower’s oil in a place that is easy to clean, just in case you spill some oil or get grease on your surroundings. Never pour the used oil down a drain or on the ground, as this will cause pollution and plumbing blockages. Take it to an oil disposal area or a place that is designed to recycle oil so it can be disposed of properly. A drain pan is necessary to collect the oil and makes sure it doesn’t spill on the ground and fall into street drains.
In order to change the lawn mower oil, you will need:
- Lawn mower owner’s manual
- Oil drain pan
- Dirty towels or rags
- Old newspaper, cardboard, or tarp
- Socket wrench
- Spark Plug Socket
Instructions on How to Change Lawn Mower Oil
- Make sure the engine is turned off.
- Disconnect the spark plug wire, just to make sure the lawnmower doesn’t accidentally spark or start while you are changing the oil. How to do so should be in the lawn mower’s owner manual. You’ll need the spark plugs for this step.
- Locate the oil plug and open it up
- Clean the dip stick shaft and drain plug areas with an old towel or rag.
- Remove the dip stick and set it aside. The dip stick may also be the oil fill plug as well. If it is, do not remove it until you are ready to refill the oil.
- Prop the mower deck up so the spark plug is facing upwards.
- Put the oil drain pan under the mower where the oil plug is.
- Use a socket wrench to unscrew the oil plug until oil starts to escape.
- Empty all the oil into the oil drain pan.
- If your lawn mower has an oil filter, replace the old oil filter with a new one by twisting it counterclockwise until you can pull the oil filter out. Then replace the old oil filter with a new one and twist it clockwise to secure it.
- Put the oil plug back and screw it in tightly with a socket wrench.
- Locate the oil fill plug. If there are two oil fill plugs on your lawn mower, you can use either one to fill the machine with oil. The dip stick may be used as the oil fill plug as well.
- Remove the oil fill plug or dip stick and set it aside.
- Pour the oil into the hole where you removed the oil fill plug or dip stick from.
- Pour the recommended amount of oil, or until you reach the fill line, if there is a fill line on your lawn mower.
- Replace the oil plug or dip stick. Wipe off the dip stick with a towel or rag before you put it back into place.
- Wipe off the oil that dripped onto the outside of the lawn mower.
Do not overfill the oil. The manufacturer of the lawn mower has a recommended amount of oil that you should put into your lawn mower. It should be listed in the owner’s manual that came with your lawn mower.
What Type Of Lawn Mower Oil Should I Use?
Now that you know how to change the oil in the lawn mower, you may be wondering what kind of oil you should put into it.
There are three different types of lawn mower oil that you should use: SAE 30, 10W30, and SAE 5-W30. SAE 30 is the most commonly used type of oil to use for lawn mowers.
SAE 30 is an oil that is commonly used for small, air-cooled engines, like the ones that lawn mowers use. This type of oil is a great oil to use in temperatures 40° Fahrenheit and higher, so it is a great oil to use for your lawn mower if you live in a warm area or will be mowing the lawn while it is very warm outside. It is typically used for older models with older engines, but it will work well with any lawn mower.
SAE 10W30 is the type of oil to use if you will be using your lawn mower in cold weather. This oil can also be used in very hot temperatures, but it is meant to withstand cold temperatures. It can be used in temperatures from 0°-100° Fahrenheit. However, you may use more of this oil than you expect.
SAE 10W30 is typically used for newer, modern lawn mower engines, but it will work for older engines as well if you want to use it with an older lawn mower. This type of oil works great in the south in areas that still get a cold front during the winter. Orlando, Florida is warm year-round but can drop to 30° or 40° Fahrenheit in the winter sometimes.
SAE 5-W30 is a synthetic type of oil and has a wide range of temperatures to use it. It can go as low as -20° Fahrenheit or all the way up to 120° Fahrenheit. If you are someone who moves around a lot, this oil will work great for you because no matter where you live the oil will work.
Can I Use Car Motor Oil For My Lawn mower?
The oil you should be using in your lawn mover should be a translucent liquid with a golden-brown tint to it. Dark oil is not good for lawn mowers and shouldn’t be used at all. You should return the oil if it appears dark. You can tell your oil is dirty and ready to be changed when it becomes dark brown or black. You should dispose of this if you find the oil in your lawn mower like this.
With this in mind, you can use car oil in your lawn mover. SAE 30 is a good oil to use that is both a car and lawn mower oil. However, it is also a very high-quality oil. The oil that is versatile for cars and mowers alike is usually of higher quality, which can mean it is more expensive too.
Best Lawn Mower Oil Brands to Use
Luckily lawn mower oil isn’t always going to be expensive, even if it is high quality or can be used for cars as well. I have listed some of the best brands of oil to use on your lawn mower below.
- Briggs and Stratton 30W- It is under $5 and is highly recommended on various websites with great reviews.
- Briggs and Stratton- 1000074 Pack of 2, 1-Quart 5w-30 Synthetic Oil is what you are going to look for. If you get the one pack it’ll be about $10 a bottle and the two-pack is about $20. Once again, this is a high-quality brand and is very common to use.
- Honda 08207 10W30 PK2 Motor Oil- This has a wide range of prices. I suggest getting the two-pack off amazon for only $16. Walmart has a one-pack for $13.
- Pennzoil (550034991) 6PK SAE 30 Motor Oil- This 6 pack is gonna be around $33 while getting it in the one pack can range from $5-$8.
- Toro 38916 SAE 30 Oil 18 Oz Bottle- This one is going to be a bit more expensive. You can get the 18oz for $5 but getting a 32oz can cost over $10.
- STP 18589 Oil- This one is going to be a lot more expensive, getting closer to being $20 or more in price.
- Castrol 03093 GTX- This oil is around $18 at Walmart and Amazon. However, this high price does mean it is high-quality oil.
- The Rotella T1 Oil- This is gonna be about $15-$20 wherever you get it. It is also great for older lawn mowers and it has the ability to clean the sludge in your lawn mower engine. Definitely worth the price.
- The Lawn Boy 89930 Oil- This oil is going to be about $5 wherever you get it.