How to Decide What Kind of Oil for Lawn Mower?

Lawn mowers require oil, along with gasoline, to work properly. Without oil, your lawn mower will just stop working. Chances are you will destroy your lawn mower forever if you forget to put oil into the engine. It is that important! Luckily, oil is cheap and available at most stores. You may wonder what kind of oil you need to purchase.


Why Does Your Lawn Mower Need Oil?

The purpose of oil for your lawn mower engine, along with all other engines, is to lubricate the parts to keep everything moving. Without oil, there will be too much friction caused by the moving parts in the engine. If you attempt to run an engine without oil, it will heat up so high that the metals can swell and stop working. Oil is just as important for your lawn mower as it is for your vehicles!


How to Pick the Type of Oil

There are dozens of engine oils on the market. It can be hard to decide which type is perfect for your lawn mower’s engine. The first thing you want to do is make sure it meets all standards set by the API – American Petroleum Institute. From there, you can make your decision.

SAE 10W 30 - via amazon.com

  • If you live in a region with varying temperatures, the oil rated at SAE 30 is typically recommended.
  • If for some reasons, you need to mow the grass and it is below 32 degrees F, you will need to change the oil. SAE 10W 30 or SAW 5W 30 is a better choice. These are multi-viscosity oils that allow the engine to start in colder weather.
  • If the temperatures go above 32 degrees, you don’t want to use a multi-viscosity oil because it will burn off quickly.


Synthetic vs. Conventional (Petroleum) Oil

All engine oils have one thing in common – they help to lubricate the engine. However, there are some differences between the two: synthetic and conventional oil.

The first thing you might notice is that synthetic oil tends to lubricate better because it is slipperier than other oils. Your engine will run better. It also protects your engine throughout the widest temperature range. If you live in an area with fluctuating temperatures, synthetic could be a better choice.

Unfortunately, synthetic oil burns off faster because of its efficiency. Therefore, it might save you much more money than conventional oil. Furthermore, synthetic oil is created from man-made materials. Such materials are harder to recycle after having used it.

Conventional oil is cheaper than synthetic, which is an appealing factor for many people. It is also friendly to the environment as it is a naturally occurring. However, you can only use it during certain weather. If you only cut grass during one temperature range, it could be the better choice for you. Also, those who have smaller lawns should stick to conventional oil.


Maintaining Your Engine

Before you mow your lawn, you should check the level of motor oil each time. There is a gauge on the oil dipstick that allows you to determine the level. Make sure you tighten the dipstick in the tube before you check the level! You want the level to be at the “full” line.

It is important that you know how to maintain your lawn mower engine. Small engines on lawn mowers require more regular oil changes. You should change the oil after every 25 hours operation for push mowers. If you have a riding lawn mower or lawn tractor, you will need to change oil after every 50 hours of operation. You should change the oil filter, as well as the filter, whenever you change the oil!

change the engine oil

If you didn’t use the lawn mower 25 hours this season, you should still change the engine oil after each season.


How to Make Your Decision

Picking between synthetic and conventional motor oil depends entirely on your preferences and location. The most potentially decisive factor is the weight you pick. There are some types of oil that are multi-weight, such as the SAE 10W 30 listed above for colder temperatures. If you purchase a straight weight, that would look like the SAE 30.

When picking between multi-weight and straight weight, think about when you plan to use your lawn mower. If you only operate it during 40 degrees or warmer weather, you can go with a straight 30 weight. Your lawn mower will be perfectly fine! On the other hand, if you use it during a wider variety of temperatures, a multi-weight would ensure your lawn mower works for years to come.


In the end, your engine would work using any oil, but it is better off that you spend time deciding the suitable kind of oil for your lawn mower lasting longer. You can always take a look at the owner’s manual. It should have recommendations for the best type of oil for your specific engine.

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About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann, I have dedicated most of my life in gardening. This is a subject I enjoy the most. Since then, I committed to developing my website to be the best guidance when it comes to taking care of flowers and plants. I am trying my best to be well-versed with plants found in desert areas, tropics or Mediterranean. I still need to be knowledgeable about so many kinds of botanical life.

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