Think of oil as the lifeblood of any engine. Keeping fresh oil in your lawn mower is just as important as it is in your vehicle. However, you may not be certain as to how often you need to change it in your mower. A lot of manufacturers suggest oil changes after “25 hours of operation,” but honestly, who’s keeping track? Here’s a quick rundown of how and when to perform a lawn mower oil change.
Checking your oil every time you use your mower is a good habit to get into. You should check before you mow, while the engine cold, to ensure an accurate reading. Most times, the oil level will be fine, although you may need to top it off occasionally.
To check the oil, locate the oil fill cap on your mower’s engine, which should be located on the opposite end of the engine from the spark plug. Before you remove the cap, use a rag to wipe away any dirt and debris that could fall into the oil. Pull the cap off, wipe the dipstick clean, and reinsert and remove it to inspect the oil level and quality.
What to Look For
Make sure that the oil level falls between the two marks on the dipstick that indicate the minimum and maximum oil levels. You should also inspect the color and clarity of the oil. Your oil is good to go if it shows clear and has an amber color; if your oil is burnt or has debris in it, it’s time for a change.
It’s also possible that your oil could be clean but low. In this case, add engine oil with identical viscosity into your engine. Oils with different viscosity will not mix properly and can cause poor performance.
Time for a Change
When it comes time to change your mower’s oil, refer to your Operator’s Manual to determine quantity and viscosity. It’s also best to perform an oil change when it’s warm out; warm oil will carry floating debris out rather than leaving it in the bottom of the engine.
- Start by stopping the engine and disconnect (or better, remove) the spark plug.
- Locate the drain plug, typically beneath the deck or on the side of the engine close to the bottom of the fill cap spout. With a catch basin ready, tilt the mower toward the drain, and remove the plug.
- Once the oil is completely drained, wipe the area clean with a rag and replace the plug.
- Place the mower on level ground, and add the quantity of oil your mower’s manual calls for.
- Start the engine, and allow it to idle while you check for any leaks.
- Finally, dispose of your old oil and rags in accordance with your local environmental laws.
Changing a lawnmower’s oil is a quick and simple DIY job that will keep your mower’s engine running smoothly for a long time. Remember to check your oil regularly to avoid operating your equipment with bad oil.
Check out all the lawn & garden products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on your lawn mower oil change, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.