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how to drain oil from a lawnmower

One morning you wake up and realize you have just not given attention to your lawn in a while. You make yourself a cup of coffee to freshen up and aim to cut the grass that has grown exceedingly and looks too long. Or maybe you are a super ambitious person who wants to trim the property to keep it looking the best, fresh, and healthy. Before starting the mower, you check for oil level and realize an oil change is required.

How to drain oil from a lawnmower:

  • Step 1: Get the needed Tools
  • Step 2: Locate the Oil Plug
  • Step 3: Remove the Oil Plug
  • Step 4: Jacking the mower
  • Step 5: Collect the dirty oil in a collector pan

The steps to change the oil in your lawnmower are the following:

  • Step 1: Oil drainage
  • Step 2: Replenishing the oil
  • Step 3: Filter change

Reasons for a required oil change

Knowing more about the reason for an oil change and the consequences of not changing lubricants is necessary for proper and timely maintenance. When you ignore proper care and gear up, wear the safety equipment, fuel your lawnmower, and get ready to mow your lawn. At this very moment, the mower engine makes a strange noise or more than usual vibrations. You find It very unusual and try to find the root cause. You get lucky and realize that the engine is lean on lubricant, and the remaining oil is filthy and thin. You should now be thankful that you noticed the engine’s particular behavior and shut it down. Because if you had continued to use it, the engine would have seized and would need significant repair.

There might be various reasons that the engine oil needs a refill:

  • Oil burns in your engine: If oil burns in your machine, which is pretty standard if it is a 2-stroke engine, while needs consideration if it is a 4-stroke engine.
  • After a certain amount of working hours: You keep a good check on the engine’s working hours and want to change the oil as per instructions of lubricants’ hourly life in the manual.
  • Leakage: Oil seals around the sump where oil is stored might have leakage and needs a replacement. Or maybe the oil plug itself is leaking at the threads.

Oil drainage step by step

Whatever might be why the required oil change, one thing is must drainage of already present grubby lubricant. To do this, the first and foremost thing to be aware of is the oil plug’s location on the body of the oil sump.

Step 1: Required Equipment

The list of all required apparatus is as follows

  • socket wrench
  • collector pan
  • jack (either screw or hydraulic)
  • safety goggles and gloves
  • cleaning cloth
  • air blower

Step 2. Locating the oil plug

To locate the oil plug, you can use the following methods:

– using your instructions manual

The simplest one is to look for a detailed diagram of the lawnmower in the user’s manual that came along with it at the time of purchase. You can also check the internet if you do not have it anymore.

– locating the oil plug using visual steps

You can use the following steps to find the oil plug:

  • Step1. Locate the engine: The first step is to locate the machine. After removing the body, cover the central part in most mowers, which has all other components placed around it.
  • Step 2. Check for oil leakage: Things become a lot easier after the engine has been located. Use this moment to check for an oil leakage by noticing any black or greasy substance directly on the engine’s body. If you do not find any oil stains outside, only an oil change is required as a process of routine repair.
  • Step 3. Find the Container-like object: Look for a container-like item called the oil pan. There should be a sort of bolt visible. But this bolt is not used to connect or fix two parts; instead, it is the oil plug to hold oil inside and drain it from the pan when an oil change is required.

Step 3: Removal of the Oil Plug

After locating the plug, it can be loosened using a socket wrench and loosened. No in-depth tutorial is required, but the force must be applied counterclockwise, or you will overtighten the plug instead of removing it (it can even break). When you encounter problems during this step, such as a stuck plug, check the “The most common problem” section.

Step 4. Jacking the mower

After locating the oil plug, the next step is to ensure that the oil will drain itself after completely removing the oil plug. This means the mower needs to be put on its side for some lawnmowers and maybe jacked up slightly. For other bigger mowers, it can be done without any movement. You always have to ensure that the drained oil can freely leave the mower and be collected in a container for recycling.

Jacking the mower can be needed to help to drain the oil without pumping. To move the lawnmower, you can use a hydraulic or screw jack. For small mowers, a bench vise can be used.

Step 5. Oil collector: a must use

Before draining the oil, one crucial thing needs to be done: make sure that the oil is adequately collected in a container. When ready, you can remove the oil plug using a socket wrench. Once you feel the plug has loosened up, check that the collector below shows that oil does not get onto the ground or floor. Open the plug entirely with your hands.

The most common problem: A stuck oil plug

Sometimes, you might face a stuck oil plug that might be due to any of the following reasons:  

  • Sludge: Formation of sludge and sticking of sludge around the thread of the oil plug
  • Oxidation: Oxidation of sludge caused due to high temperature has made it harder to remove
  • Overtightening: Overtightening of oil plug last time it was removed
  • Rust: Rust on oil plug threads

Although there is nothing to worry about, all of these situations are perfectly normal, especially if engine oil is relatively older than it should have been.

Removal of a stuck Oil Plug

There are a few tips that can help to remove a stuck oil plug.

Tip 1. Warming up the Lawn Mower:

The first trick is to try warming up by starting the lawnmower. This causes the sludge to soften. And sometimes, due to expansion, the stuck surfaces release each other. However, this practice is not recommended if the engine is already making a rattling noise. A blow torch can also be used but it must be handled with great care. Once the plug seems easier to remove with a wrench, the procedure mentioned above for oil drainage can be carried out.

Consider using a wrench with a longer handle or a hollow pipe to increase the moment arm so that an enormous torque is applied to loosen the plug.

Tip 2. Use a hammer carefully:

If these methods still do not work, no need to lose hope can even be done. Use the hammer force to hit in the right direction with care to untighten the plug and not damage the head or threads. This requires a bit of technique, and it is better not to try it if this is your first time around a hammer.

Tip 3. Use a gator grip:

Use a gator grip, a universal type of socket wrench, and a better grip.

Tip 4. Use WD40 or a rust remover:

Rust remover, WD40, or another lubricant can also be sprayed from outside onto the head and waited until it acts on the lower surface in contact with the oil pan. Using a socket wrench and plug removal would require significantly less force.

Tip 4. Air pump:

Another tool that can help when the oil has become too sludgy is an air pump that creates a pumping effect and is used from the oil refilling cap on the engine’s top.

This is just one step of oil change explained, i.e., removal or drainage of old, dirty oil. Many steps need to be carried out to complete an oil change and get the engine going again.

Related Questions

1. What oil should be used in a lawnmower?

Generally, SAE W30 oil is used in lawnmowers. But check the manual to be sure.

2. What should be the frequency of changing the oil?

Most lawnmower lubricants have a life of 25 working hours. Some newer models of ride-on lawnmowers have a longer oil life than a motorcycle engine. Regular checking your oil level, similar to a car, is a good habit.

3. How to check the oil level in a lawnmower?

Remove the dipstick from the top of the mower, wipe it, dip it again, and remove it to check for oil level if it is up to the mark, well, and sound. If not, replenish the oil. Oil quality can also be checked by looking at the color and consistency.

4. How to know if any other part replacement is required?

To know if other parts of the lawnmower that are in contact with oil need maintenance or even need to be replaced, you should check for:

  • leakages around seals and gaskets.
  • leak on the plug itself,
  • leaks on the oil pan
  • more than usual engine smoke.

If any gasket leaks exist, they need to be replaced, for leaks on plugs; the plug should be replaced. If the oil pan leaks, it can be repaired by welding generally. And for smoke from the engine, O-ring replacement or repair is required      

Final Remarks

The crux of the matter is that an oil change is a significant and frequently occurring maintenance step for a lawnmower. I recommend learning how to do it and having the hands-on capability to carry it on your own. Oil drainage is required for every oil change. Step-by-step instructions and a detailed discussion on problems occurring and precautions needed to be taken while performing oil drain constitute this article.