“How often should you change lawn mower oil?” is something more property owners need to ask.
With the popularity of gas-powered mowers, these yard tools need plenty of maintenance. It’s essential to know when to change the engine oil, as old or low oil levels can seriously damage your equipment.
This guide will go over the essential information you need to know to help you change your lawn mower’s oil. We’ll also explore a few additional maintenance steps to help you keep your yard tools in their best condition.
How Often Should You Change Lawn Mower Oil?
Changing the oil in your mower is dependent on the model, the type of oil you use, and how often you use your mower. With that said, there isn’t a specific time frame that applies to everyone.
You should look at your owner’s manual to see what the specific needs of your model are.
With that said, there are a few ways to determine whether it’s time to change your oil or not. Most homeowners find that after 50 hours of use, it’s likely your lawn mower could do with an oil change.
But it’s important to keep an eye on your mower’s performance and regularly check its oil to be sure.
When your lawn mower engine is cold, do a quick oil check to get the most accurate reading. If you find your oil is under the level your mower needs for safe operation, it’s time for a change. There are also a couple of other considerations for doing oil changes.
Hours of Use
As you can expect, how often you use your mower is the number one influence on oil changes. The more often you mow, the more you’ll need to replace the oil. Most models work well with an oil change every 50 hours of use.
Off-Season Storage Length
Most models recommend taking the oil out when you prepare your lawn mower for the off-season.
However, if you leave your oil in your mower, it’s best to empty it and start fresh at the beginning of the season. The last thing you want is old oil clogging your engine and causing irreversible damage.
The quality of your oil is also essential to think about when making oil changes. Low-quality synthetics can cause clogs, especially if the engine stays cold for extended periods. If you use high-quality oil, it’s more likely the mower will be ready-to-use without any changes.
How you use your lawn mower can also affect how often you do oil changes. If you’re constantly doing heavy-duty tasks, such as mowing wet grass and working on hilly terrain, oil changes are more often.
Whereas smaller, lightweight projects do less wear and tear on your mower, reducing the frequency of oil changes.
The last thing to consider with oil changes is the type of lawn mower you’ve purchased.
Standard push mowers usually need oil replacements after 50 hours, but more expensive models require less maintenance. Riding mowers, for example, only need oil changes every 100 hours but require more oil when refilling.
How to Change the Oil in my Lawn Mower
Now that you have a good idea of when to change the oil in your lawn mower, it’s time to get into lawn mower maintenance.
Fortunately, replacing and adding oil is just as easy as it would be for any other vehicle. Again, if you have access to your owner’s manual, you should follow the steps in the guide for your specific model.
Otherwise, use these foolproof tips to help you finish your first real lawn mower oil change.
Step 1: Prepare Your Mower
The first step to changing your lawn mower’s oil is to ensure the tool is ready. There are a few essential things to do before you switch out the oil, including:
- Check the Oil Level
With the engine cool, do your oil checking procedures. This will let you know how much oil you’ll need to put into the unit. If your lawn mower is empty, you can continue to the next prep step.
- Warm the Engine
Before changing your oil, it can be a good idea to warm the engine, allowing the liquid to move freely.
You should only have to leave the mower running for one to two minutes to free up any oil in its reserves. Warm oil will drain considerably faster, helping you save time.
- Prepare for the Oil
The final prep step you should consider is ensuring you have something to catch the oil as it drains. You can typically find oil pans from your local hardware store or autobody shop. Honestly, you can use any old container that can be properly disposed of.
Step 2: Drain the Oil
Most lawn mowers are designed with a unique cap known as a drain plug. These devices keep the oil in their tank until it’s time for a change. You’re going to want to ensure you have your oil catcher in the right position before opening the cap.
Once you’re ready, remove the oil fill cap, allowing the oil to spill out into your container. It’s good to tilt the mower as it drains, getting rid of all the old oil. You’ll want to continue maneuvering the mower until all of the oil has been removed.
Step 3: Replace the Oil Filter
The next step to changing the oil in your push mower is to make sure you replace the oil filter. The oil filter catches extra debris, keeping your oil clean as it enters the engine. With that said, with new oil comes a new filter.
Fortunately, oil filters aren’t too expensive, like a spark plug, but are one of the essential engine components of oil changes.
Most lawn mowers will have one, but smaller yard tools such as weed trimmers might not. Always double-check with your lawn mower engine model before buying a replacement filter adapter.
Step 4: Refilling the Oil
High-end mowers will require the perfect amount of oil so ensure you don’t go under or overfill the tank.
Typically, you’ll find a fill line to help you find the perfect amount for the next 50 hours of use. Most models will tell you how much oil they require in the owner’s manual.
As you refill your oil, make sure to check the level continually. Most standard models will require up to ¾ of a quart. You can also find lawn mower-specific oil that comes in the perfect amount for most tools.
Step 5: Clean the Oil Fill Area
After you’ve finished all of the above steps, take the time to clean the oil fill area. This will keep your mower in a better condition and prepare it for its next oil change. You can do this using a clean towel.
Keeping the oil fill area clean is important for lawn mower maintenance. If you own expensive mowers, you’ll want to keep your lawn mower parts clean for longevity.
Effectively Changing Your Lawn Mower Oil
If you’re wondering, “How often should you change lawn mower oil?” the answer differs from mower to mower. It’s best to look at your owner’s manual to know when it’s best to replace your unit’s oil. Otherwise, you can stick to the standard rule of thumb of replacing the oil every 50 hours based on use.