How to Change the Oil in Your Lawn Mower

by Mike Palmer

When you have a gas walk-behind lawn mower, one of the most important maintenance tasks you need to perform regularly is to change the oil in your mower. Like a car, your lawn mower needs oil changes in order to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Changing the oil regularly will also help extend the life of your gas engine mower.

How Often Should I Change the Oil in My Lawn Mower?

You should follow the recommended schedule in the owner’s manual of your lawn mower. Generally, you should be fine with changing the oil 1-3 times a year, depending on how often you use your mower. Tip: Be sure to also change your oil at the end of the mowing season before putting  the mower in storage so you won’t have sludgy oil sitting in there through the winter months.

What Type of Engine Oil Should I Use for My Lawn Mower?

Below is an example of engine oil recommendations for the top-rated Snapper SE Series SPV21675E with a Briggs & Stratton engine.

Lawn Mower Oil Change Recommendations

* Below 40°F (4°C) use of SAE 30 will result in hard starting. ** Above 80°F (27°C) the use of 10W-30 may cause increased oil consumption. Check oil level more frequently.

What Tools Do I Need for Lawn Mower Oil Change?

1. Work Gloves

2. Drop Cloth

3. Oil Vacuum/Fluid Evacuator

4. Used Drain Pan/Container

5. Engine Oil

Changing the oil in your lawn mower is very simple. Just follow the step-by-step lawn mower oil change instructions below.

Step 1: Find a well-ventilated area. Because you’ll be working with engine oil and dealing with its fumes, find an area that’s well-ventilated. If you want to work inside your garage, make sure the garage door is open to allow for air circulation.

Step 2: Prepare the area you’ll be working at by putting down a Drop Cloth on the ground to catch any accidental spills.

Step 3: Away from the drop cloth, start your lawn mower and let it run for about a minute or so. Once it warms up, it’ll help the oil drain more quickly.

Step 4: Shut off the engine and disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug. This is a safety measure to keep the mower from accidentally starting while you’re working on it.

Step 5: With the lawn mower back on the drop cloth, remove the oil cap and dipstick.

Drain Lawn Mower Engine OilStep 6: Tip the mower on its side and empty the oil into the Drain Pan/Container. Make sure that you are tipping the mower with the dipstick side down (and the spark plug side up). Also be careful to keep the oil away from the carburetor, air filter and gas tank. If you’re uneasy with tipping the mower on its side or don’t want to deal with the mess, you can use an Oil Vacuum/Fluid Evacuator to vacuum out the old oil. Please dispose of the old oil properly. Do not just pour it down a drain. Instead, take it to your local recycling center.

Step 7: Add the manufacturer recommended Engine Oil and make sure not to over-fill it. Pour slowly and check the dipstick until you reach the proper level.

And that’s it! Changing the oil in your lawn mower is a simple and easy task. Remembering to change the engine oil regularly will keep your mower running efficiently and smoothly for years to come.

In addition to changing the oil regularly, check your mower blade to see if it needs to be sharpened or replaced. Or, you can review the complete checklist of how to give your lawn mower a tune-up.

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