Skip to Content

Lawn Mower Oil: What to Use

Lawn mowers are excellent household and professional equipment required for clearing your lawn and keeping it neat and well-manicured all season. But gas lawn mowers need proper maintenance to keep working well, and will also help extend its life span. When it comes to the maintenance of your lawn mower, one of the essential things you must pay attention to is the type of oil that is compatible with your mower engine. It is also crucial to make sure that the type of oil you decide to use is ideal and best for your specific lawn mower. Not all lawn mower engines accept any kind of oil, some are designed to be selective and can only work with a specific kind of oil. Since the oil is responsible for driving the engine, it is critical that you pay special care to this factor as the wrong type of oil will lead to the breakdown of the engine, and this is something you definitely want to avoid.

Lawn mower oil, what to use:

For smaller lawnmowers use high-quality mall engine detergent oil classified as “SF, SG, SH, SJ” or higher. Do not use any special additives, but rather use synthetic oils as these are acceptable at all temperatures. Check the lawn-mowers owners manual what they recommend. For big lawn mowers with a big engine, motor oil that is also used for your car can be used, but also in this case check the owner’s manual.

However, before you change the oil in your lawnmower, there are some factors that should be taken into consideration. First, you need to fully understand the oil types that are well suited for the climatic conditions of your region. It is also important that you consider the oil capacity of your lawnmower as well as the type of lawnmower that you’ll be using. The three determining factors of the type of oil to use are the type of lawnmower equipment you’re working with, the engine type, and the temperature of your work area.

These factors also determine how much you need and the cost of the oil. Once you can pay attention to important details like these, you will be able to bring the best out of your engine. Do you want to know what lawn mower oil to use for your machine? Are you curious about the types of oil that are available? You’re in the right place. In this article, we will talk about lawn mower oil, the different types available, and the right one to use for your lawn mower.

Types of Lawn Mower Oil

There are two main types of oil for lawn mowers, and these include: motor oil and small engine oil. There are some major differences between these two types of lawn mower oil, and they shouldn’t be used interchangeably. Small engine oil is specifically designed for two-stroke engines and is well suited for environments with high temperatures as it protects the engine from overheating. Motor oil, on the other hand, is used for equipment with large motors such as tractors. That being said, let’s take a look at these oil types separately.

● Motor Oil

Motor oil is specially designed for equipment with larger motors which include, automobiles, riding lawn mowers, and deluxe push mowers. This type of oil can be easily purchased at gas stations, hardware stores, as well as auto parts stores. There are some homeowners that believe that the regular engine oil can be used for lawn mowers, however, this could cause great damage to the engine of the lawn mower.

Motor oil has a high viscosity, which is why they are specifically designed for automobiles and tractors with large motors. If used for simple machines like your push mower, they may clog up the tool, causing irreversible damage to the engine. Undoubtedly, a lawn mower is a great investment, but you wouldn’t want to ruin this handy tool by doing some wrong routine maintenance. This is why you must pay attention to the type of oil you purchase for your type of lawn mower.

● Small Engine Oil

Unlike the motor oil, small engine oil is made for two-stroke engines, which are common in outdoor power equipment such as push mowers,  chainsaws, weed trimmers, and snow blowers. The reason for this is because a two-cycle engine does not have separate compartments for oil and gasoline. This is why the result is a louder and smokier machine that does not stop under different types of engine load. This also means that the users have to mix the fuel and oil first, before adding it to the tank. Usually, the gas and oil are mixed at a ratio of 32:1 or 50:1, depending on the type of machine. To make sure you’re working with the right ratio, check the owner’s manual for more information.

Additionally, small engine oil, which is usually referred to as two-stroke oil, is non-viscous and light in weight to aid the even-mixing of the gas and oil, as well as to ensure smooth engine operation. Small engine oil can be found at any auto parts store or in the garden section of a hardware store.

What Type of Oil to Use in Your Lawnmower

The right type of oil that should be used for your lawn mower depends on a number of factors, which include the type of lawn mower you use, the engine in the mower, and the outdoor temperature of the area where you will be mowing.

● Type of Lawn mower:

Lawnmower manufacturers typically recommend a specific type of oil for the lawn mower. You can take out time to read the owner’s manual of your lawn mower to know the right type of oil the manufacturer recommends for your specific lawn mower. You can also find most of this information online on the manufacturer’s website.

● Mower’s Engine:

It is very important that you know the type of engine in your lawn mower. This will help you determine the type of oil that you should use. You should never use a motor oil in a two-cycle engine. Two-cycle engines require specialized lightweight oil or small engine oil, such as oils with APR performance ratings of SF, SH, SG, or SJ. On the other hand, standard motor oil is best suited for four-cycle engines, because the engine has separate compartments for storing the gasoline and oil. Also, the specific type of motor oil that you should use in a four-cycle engine depends on the outdoor temperature of your area.

● Outdoor Temperature:

If you’re working in a place with warmer temperatures, SAE 30 is the most suitable option for your engine. However, in colder areas, it is wise to stick with the SAE 5W-30 motor oil. If the temperature of your work area varies between 0° and 100°, then you should go for an SAE 10W-30 motor oil instead.

You should always keep in mind that motor engines require regular oil changes, as this will help lubricate the engine parts, to ensure the proper functioning of the machine and avoid unnecessary damage. That is why it is important to know the type of oil that is suitable for your machine.

Below are the categories of lawn mower oil to help with your decision making:

● SAE 30:

SAE 30 is a detergent type of oil used for warmer temperatures and smaller motors. It is best suited for temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and above. Since it is lightweight, push lawn mowers can use it to lubricate the engine parts without clogging.

● SAE 5W–30:

Suitable for temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, this oil type is particularly recommended for the winter season as it protects the engine longer at any temperature within this range.

● SAE 10W–30:

This oil type is suitable for temperature conditions that vary between 0 degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While it may increase the consumption rate, it will also improve starting your engine in cold weather conditions.

● Synthetic 5W–30:

This oil type is suitable for temperatures between 20 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, to provide adequate protection against any temperature with chances of reducing oil consumption.

● Vanguard 15W–50:

This is often used for varying temperature range, as well as for prolonged use, such as in commercial lawn mowing or pressure washing.

How to Check the Oil in Your Lawnmower

While it is essential to use the right type of oil for your lawn mower engine, it is also important to check the oil level in your mower regularly. This process is pretty similar to how you would check the oil level in your vehicle. All you simply need to do is, remove the dipstick from the lawnmower and wipe it off using a clean piece of cloth. Then insert the dipstick fully back into place. To get better results, twist the dipstick back into place before pulling it back out to check the oil level. The oil residue on the dipstick should be somewhere between the full and add marks. Once the residue is lower than the add mark, then you should add more oil in your mower. If not, then your mower should be able to run for additional hours.

Final remarks

In conclusion, when choosing your lawn mower oil, be sure to use a high-quality detergent oil classified as “SF, SG, SH, SJ” or higher. Do not use any special additives, but rather use synthetic oils as these are acceptable at all temperatures.