Those relatively new to mowing the lawn may have a lot of questions about how to properly care for and maintain their mowers. These tools aren’t cheap so extending their life for as long as possible is important.
Much like other household appliances, lawn mowers need regular maintenance as they are doing a lot of hard work. If you didn’t already know, they also require oil to function properly.
Many of us are tempted to just fill them up with motor oil, but does this actually work?
In this article, learn the vital importance of keeping your mower topped up with oil and which type of oil works best.
- Why Do You Need To Put Oil In A Mower?
- What’s The Difference Between Car And Lawn Mower Oil?
- Can I Use Car Oil In My Mower?
- Suitable Types Of Motor Oil For Lawn Mower
- When Should You Change The Oil In Your Mower?
- How To Change The Oil Of Your Lawn Mower
- The Bottom Line
Why Do You Need To Put Oil In A Mower?
As mowers have an internal combustion engines, they need oil to run just like any other engine. The oil plays an important role in lubricating and cooling moving parts that usually run at high speeds and high temperatures.
Many regard engine oil to be one of the most important elements to check on the mower. When a mower has a low oil level, this can cause the engine to break down.
To check the oil level, there is a dipstick similar to that of a car that indicates the oil levels.
For best results, check the oil level before every use when using a standard push-along mower.
What’s The Difference Between Car And Lawn Mower Oil?
The oil you put into your car is very similar to the oil you put in your mower. The major difference between the two is the additives found in car oils. These additives are suitable for a car engine as they are larger and more sturdy.
There is no ‘one’ type of oil on the market, just as there are different types of gas there are also different types of oil used for a number of purposes. We recommend reading the mower manual to find out which oil the manufacturer states to use.
Can I Use Car Oil In My Mower?
This depends on the type of engine your lawn mower has. Although car oil is quite versatile for use in lawn mowers, there are exceptions to the rule.
Two Stroke Engines
Two stroke engines are simple systems that require a mixture of gasoline and oil. These engines cannot use motor oil as they are too small and lightweight.
As the parts run quicker and become hotter, the engine requires a certain type of oil to help cool it down.
If you use motor oil in one of these engines, it will become clogged causing it to struggle to function and ultimately reduce the efficiency of the motor. In the worst case, it will cause the engine to fail completely.
Four Stroke Engines
Four stroke engines on the other hand work in a similar way to a car’s combustion engine and similar oils are used to run them.
Here oil and gas are stored separately. Certain types of motor oil can therefore be used in four stroke engines.
High-quality motor oils are recommended for use in four stroke engines as they will have fewer additives minimizing any damage to the engine over time.
Suitable Types Of Motor Oil For Lawn Mower
Good news for those with a compatible lawn mower engine! You’ll be able to save a little money and hassle by using the motor oil in your lawn mower. However, it’s important to make sure these are compatible by reading the mower manual.
- SAE30 – ideal for warmer weather conditions
- 10W30 – better for areas with cold winters and year-round operation
These types of oil are easy to find from any hardware store, garage, or online marketplace.
When Should You Change The Oil In Your Mower?
The general consensus is that the oil in your lawn mower needs to be changed around every 50 hours of operation. This can be difficult to remember, so another good rule to follow is to change the oil after every mowing season.
Challenging conditions such as dust, high temperatures, hilly terrain, or damp grass may impact the oil level as the engine is working harder. Dirty oil will wear your mower engine faster, decreasing its lifespan.
If these conditions apply to you then you’ll need to change your oil more frequently.
How To Change The Oil Of Your Lawn Mower
Learning to change the oil is an essential part of lawn mower maintenance. If you’ve checked the oil levels with the dipstick and you notice that it’s rather low, it’s time to change the oil.
Each mower is different, so finding out how to drain the oil from your specific mower is the first step. This could be done through the dipstick tube, a drain plug, or using an oil extractor tool. Consult with your manual if you are unsure.
To perform an oil change, follow these simple steps for best results:
- Get the engine running for 10-15 minutes to allow the oil to warm up and remove any debris from the engine.
- Turn off the engine and disconnect the ignition cables for safety.
- Drain the gas from the tank or cover the gas tank with a plastic bag to prevent leaks, screw the top on here for further protection.
- Pump the oil out of the engine into a plastic bottle or container.
- Pour in the new, clean engine oil, insert the dipstick and check to see it’s at the right level.
- When the level is correct, put the cap back on and reconnect the ignition cables. (Put new fuel in if it was removed at this stage)
The Bottom Line
Motor oil can be used in a lawn mower depending on the type of engine and the quality of the oil. Always check the user manual of your specific lawnmower before pouring in any old oil to avoid damaging or breaking the engine completely.
Keeping your lawn mower running smoothly is easy when you know how!