What Kind of Oil Goes in a Lawn Mower

what kind of oil goes in a lawn mower

A lot of experts define oil as the lifeblood of a lawn mower. Naturally, some lawn mowers cannot start with no oil or really low oil levels, while others can start but are much more prone to damage. So, you want to avoid this by having enough oil at all times.

However, this does not mean that you can have just any oil. You need the right oil for your lawn mower to give it the best level of efficiency! Now, what kind of oil goes in a lawn mower? That’s exactly what we are going to take a look in today’s article here at Turf Mechanic!

We really hope that you would take your time to read the article till the very end. It is really recommended that you do it, because this is a seriously important issue that is often underestimated. After all, your sprinkler can actually stay in the top notch condition for much longer if you take care of this, Anyway, let’s get started now!

What does my Lawn Mower need oil?

You might be wondering why your lawn mower needs oil in the first place. Well, to put it simply, the oil acts as a lubricant for the piston of your lawn mower. Think of it the same way as you think of it for your car, the lubricant just helps the smooth functioning of the whole mechanism.

Quoting Hunker:

Oil lubricates the piston, valve springs and other internal parts of the motor to cut down on friction. This cools it down so that it prevents overheating. If something thicker than SAE 30 was placed into the engine, it would gum up the piston, causing the motor to move slower or not at all. If a thinner oil was placed into the engine, it would not lubricate well enough and it would overheat the internal pieces, which leads to a blown piston and broken valve spring.

When is it time to use oil?

Well, there are some clear indicators that can help you decide when it is time for you to add oil again. So, what are these signals, you ask? Well, you might consider the following ones as among the most prominent:

  • As I mentioned earlier, some models might not start at all if there’s no oil. So, in case your model is refusing to start, this might be one of the reasons why. You might want to add a little oil and check if it works after that- it just might!
  • You might also head a really weird cranking sound. This happens when the oil is running low, and it’s failing to lubricate the piston properly. In a case like that, you might want to actually put some more oil in there.

Now, keep in mind that you should not be too late when using the oil, because running on low oil or without oil is really harmful for your machine even if it’s working. Keep that in mind and oil it as soon as you possibly can.

What does the type of oil depend on?

Now, when we mentioned that there are several types of oil, you might have wondered what these are. You might also have wondered about what these types depended on, and how you might figure out which one is the best for you.

Before we take a look at the different types of oil out there, let us take a look at the main factors that the type of oil mainly depends on. The main factors might be summed up in the following points:

  • Lawn Mower Engine Model: The most important factor by far is the Engine that the model is using. Naturally, not all oil types are compatible with all engines. So, be sure that you go for one that actually fits yours, because only that can ensure the smooth functioning of your model.
  • Engine temperature range: Again, you might also want to consider your engine temperature range when selecting the oil. This depends on the engine model to a great extent too. However, I would like to state that you take the amount of use into consideration at the same time when you go for an oil.
  • Regular vs Synthetic: Now, there’s also the decision that you have to take a the end of the day anyway. There are both conventional choices as well as new synthetic choices that you might want to go for. This is another thing you need to consider. Don’t worry, we are going to explain this in a little more detail later on during the course of today’s article.

What kind of oil goes in a lawn mower?

Let’s address the real question now! After all, what is the right oil for you that you can use for your lawn mower? Well, as we remarked earlier, there are a few factors that you might consider, and the right oil for you generally is decided based on this.

However, naturally, there are some common choices that people usually go for. So, most commonly, people just go with the SAE 30 weight oil, the same one that people use when it comes to their cars. However, there are quite a few other choices too that you might want to consider if you’re a little more familiar with the technical aspects of the Lawn Mower- Quoting BriggsAndStratton,

  • SAE 30 – Warmer temperatures, most common oil for small engines.
  • SAE 10W-30 – Varying temperature range, this grade of oil improves cold weather starting, but may increase oil consumption.
  • Synthetic SAE 5W-30– Best protection at all temperatures as well as improved starting with less oil consumption.
  • SAE 5W-30 – Very cold temperatures.
  • Vanguard 15W-50 – Varying temperature range. For continuous-use, such as commercial lawn cutting or pressure washing.

What about Synthetic oil?

Now, let’s take a comparatively more detailed look at the Synthetic oil. This is one of those choices that has seen increasingly growing number of people going for it! So, you are forced to ask yourself what’s so special about it and if it’s worth going for.

Well, it just so happens that it actually is worth going for! So, you might want to do your research and go for the synthetic oil choices available out there too! Naturally, the regular choices are still open to you, and you might want to do your research before you actually go for any!

How often should I change oil?

Now, another good question is how often should one change oil! This is one of the things that’s (naturally) subject to the amount of use your lawn mower sees. However, since the oil eventually dries up too, you need to take time into factor at the same time.

So, when it comes to walk-behind lawn mowers, expert recommend changing it after 50 hours or once a year, whichever is sooner. The time isn’t as much as you expect because the capacity of the model is generally around 15oz to 18oz- however, please do not try to forcibly put more oil in there.

Again, for the lawn mowers that you can ride on, the capacity is a little higher in the range of 48oz to 64oz, so you might want to change it once every 100 hours or once a year, whichever is earlier.

Where should I put the oil?

Now, you’ve found out how to select the right type of oil. You’ve also figured out how to find out whether the oil level is low or not, and how often you might want to change the oil in general. But, where are you supposed to put the oil in the lawn mower?

Well, you need to look for a yellow cap on the motor with an icon that looks like one of the conventional oil cans. Next, you might want to put the required amount of oil in it and then close it. That’s it, you’re done changing the oil- now that didn’t require an expert, did it?


This was a really informative article! We took a look at when it might be time to use oil, and how often you should normally change the oil. We also took a look at where and how you might want to put the oil.

And most importantly, we found out which type of oil you might want to use. We also checked out the main things this depends on, so that you can judge which oil would be right type for your model. Naturally, we also took a look at the most common choices that people make when it comes to oil.

We really hope that you could learn at least something new from today’s article, and we really thank you for taking your time to read this article till the very end! Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any more questions for us and we would be glad to help you!

So, we really hope to see you again on our next article! Until then, you might consider reading some other articles on Turf Mechanic, here are a few to get you started: