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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 way too long. Or maybe you are a super ambitious person who wants to trim the property to keep it looking 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, the consequences of not changing lubricants are necessary for proper and timely maintenance. When you ignored proper care and gear up, wear the safety equipment, fuel your lawnmower, and get ready to mow your lawn. At this very moment, you come across the fact that the mower engine is making 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 oil that remains is filthy and thin. You should now first 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 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: Reqired Equipment

The list of all required apparatus is as follow

  • 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. If you do not have it anymore, you can also check the internet.

– 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: After the engine has been located, things become a lot easier. 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, it means that only an oil change is required as a process of a routine repair.
  • Step 3. Find the Container-like object: Look for a sort of 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 together; 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 end up overtightening the plug instead of removing (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 make sure 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, there is one crucial thing that needs to be done, make sure that the oil is adequately collected in a container. When you are 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 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 surfaces that are stuck together release each other. However, this practice is not recommended if the engine was already making a rattling noise. A blow torch can also be used if available and shul be handled with a lot of care. Once the plug seems to be 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 use 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 passion just right to untighten the plug and not damage the head or threads. This requires a bit of technique, and it is better not to give it a try 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 wait until it acts on the lower surface in contact with the oil pan. Use a socket wrench and plug removal would require significantly less force.

Tip 4. Air pump:

One other 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. There are yet many steps that 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 ride-on lawnmowers have a longer oil life, comparable to 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 and dip it again and remove to check for oil level if the level 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 there exist any gasket leaks, it needs to be replaced, for leaks on plugs; the plug should be replaced. For oil pan, it is just a container and 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 oil change is a significant and frequently occurring maintenance step for a lawnmower. Hence it is better to know and have hands-on the capability to carry it on your own. Oil drainage is required for every oil change. Step-by-step instruction and a detailed discussion on problems occurring and precautions needed to be taken while performing oil drain constitute this article.