How to Change the Oil in a Lawn Mower – Step by Step

How to Change the Oil in a Lawn Mower - Step by Step

You shouldn’t own a lawn mower for long without learning how to change the oil in it. Changing the oil in your lawnmower is an important part of regular maintenance that can help extend the life of your mower. Over time, the oil in your mower can become dirty and start to break down, reducing its ability to lubricate the engine and potentially leading to costly repairs. By regularly changing the oil, you can help keep your mower running smoothly and efficiently.

Editor’s Note: Check out our best battery-powered lawn mowers article for our top picks.

How Often Should You Change the Oil in Your Lawn Mower?

It is generally recommended to change the oil in a lawn mower at least once a year (season) or after every 25 to 50 hours of use. However, it is important to refer to the owner’s manual for the specific model of lawn mower for the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. This schedule may vary depending on the type of oil and the type of use the lawn mower is subjected to.

There are a few signs that it may be time to change the oil in a lawnmower. Aside from the 25-50 hour use metric, if the oil appears dark or dirty, it may be time to change it. Also, if your lawnmower isn’t running as smoothly as it used to or you hear it making strange noises, check the oil. You likely need to change it—and you may have some other issues that could get worse with time.

What Tools Do You Need to Change Lawn Mower Oil?

Before you begin, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Replacement oil filter
  • New spark plug
  • Oil drain pan
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Funnel
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Clean rag

From the list above, we really recommend the use of a plastic oil drain pan. Of the available options, we really like the GarageBOSS 12.5-quart model with its integrated, removable funnel. The square design lays down and lets you easily tip over push mowers to drain the oil. On riding mowers and zero-turns, you get a large area to catch the oil as it drains from the system.

plastic oil drain pan collector

Steps to Changing the Oil

1. Park the Lawn Mower on a Level Surface

To begin, start by parking your mower on a level surface and removing the spark plug. This will prevent the mower from accidentally starting while you’re working on it. Next, locate the oil fill cap on the side of the engine. This is usually a small, circular cap with the word “OIL” written on it. Using the oil filter wrench, carefully remove the oil fill cap.

2. Locate the Oil Drain Plug

Next, locate the oil drain plug on the bottom of the mower. This is usually a large, hexagonal bolt with a small hole in the center.

3. Drain the Lawn Mower Oil

Using the ratchet and socket set, carefully loosen the oil drain plug and allow the old oil to drain into the oil drain pan. Be sure to keep the oil drain pan underneath the oil drain plug as you remove it to catch any oil that may spill. On some zero-turn mowers, you may see a tube that gives you the ability to route the oil when it drains.

Toro Timecutter zero-turn lawn mower tool-free oil change
This zero-turn mower has a hose that disconnects to let you direct the flow of oil as you drain it from the motor.

4. Replace the Oil Drain Plug

Once the old oil has drained completely, carefully replace the oil drain plug and tighten it securely with the ratchet and socket set.

5. Clean the Oil Fill Cap and Around the Drain Plug

Next, use the clean rag to clean any debris or grime from around the oil fill cap and oil drain plug. This will help ensure that the new lawn mower oil doesn’t become contaminated.

6. Add the New Oil to Your Lawn Mower

Now, it’s time to add the new oil. First, use the funnel to carefully pour the new oil into the oil fill cap. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the type and amount of oil to use. Once you’ve added the new oil, carefully replace the oil fill cap and tighten it securely with the oil filter wrench.

Vanguard Oil Guard Technology 810cc engine
This Vanguard Oil Guard System makes it rather easy to change the oil on this Ferris zero-turn lawn mower.

What Type of Oil Do Lawn Mowers Use?

Most push mowers and also zero-turn lawn mowers use SAE 30 oil . This is a type of oil specifically designed for small engines. You always want to use the correct type of oil in a lawn mower to avoid damaging the engine. It’s. a good practice to always check the owner’s manual for your specific model of lawn mower to verify the correct type of oil to use.

What About Oil Filters?

Most push mowers don’t have an oil filter. For those that do, or larger engines in zero-turn mowers and lawn tractors, the oil filter typically has a cylindrical shape. Located near the engine of the lawn mower, the oil filter removes debris and contaminants that might be present in the oil. The size and appearance of the oil filter may vary depending on the specific model. In general, you should change your oil filter every two oil changes—at least. The manufacturer’s website should tell you the correct replacement for your mower.

lawn mower oil filters change

Final Thoughts

It’s important to check and add oil to your lawnmower regularly to ensure that it runs smoothly and efficiently. While you only have to change the lawn mower oil every 25-50 hours or so, you may want to sharpen the lawn mower blade more frequently. Regular maintenance helps keep your equipment running for years to come. Given the uptick in prices for all outdoor power equipment—every little bit helps!

Related articles

A Guide to Lawn Care Cost

How much does lawn care cost the average homeowner? In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about the importance of lawn care, what services professional lawn care companies provide, and the factors that affect lawn care costs.   The value of a well-maintained lawn Lawns keep your yard neat and tidy, and enhancing […]

Husqvarna Spring Products Showcase

OPE Visits Husqvarna’s North Carolina HQ for an Exclusive Tour I’m not sure what it is about spring 2023, but it seems as though outdoor power tool manufacturers are especially bullish on product line development. Husqvarna is among those brands leading the pack (not surprising considering that they’ve been making various forms of equipment for […]

Solid Steal–The HART Blower Bundle

HART’s 20V 315 CFM Blower, Two Batteries, and a Charger at a Great Price Exclusive to Walmart, HART has made a name for itself within the consumer market thanks to its extensive line of tools and outdoor power equipment. And boy, do they have a deal for you with the HART Blower Bundle! Get a […]

Wisconsin Assembly Outlaws Gas Bans

Gas-powered engines scored a win in Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled Assembly. A pair of bills that conservative Wisconsin lawmakers passed on April 25 would prevent state and local governments from banning gas-fueled vehicles, snow blowers, lawn mowers, and other such equipment. The bill’s GOP sponsors targeted the passage of laws like California’s, requiring that new cars, trucks, […]

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x