Every single day a new home owner faces a common problem: having to cut their lawn for the first time. Lawn mowing is generally passed down by parents, however, we may find ourselves not knowing how to do it when we get a new home. Lawn mowers can be complicated, but after you get the hang of it, you should not run into any issues.
However, you may find that your lawn mower has stopped working. With little knowledge on how lawn mowers work, you find yourself in a difficult situation. The most likely solution to your issue is you are lacking gas or need an oil change.
Changing your oil is not as tricky as it sounds. It also will help you to understand why you should be changing your oil and what kind of oil for lawn mowers you should be using.
This is an important topic for any person who has no clue. After reading our article, you will not have to worry anymore about this pesky problem with your mower.
How Does Oil Work & Why You Should Be Changing Your Lawn Mowers Oil?
The main reason you need to change the oil in your lawn mower is because it is like a car. Here is a simple explanation for why oil needs to be changed.
As the parts inside your mower’s engine move around and rub against each other, friction creates heat. When you add oil to it, the oil absorbs this heat and prevents your mower from overheating.
This is especially important on hot summer days where you must cut tall grass in 100-degree weather.
Sadly, engine oil does not last forever. Eventually, it will wear out. Overtime, it becomes less effective and needs to be changed. If you fail to change the oil before it reaches critical quality levels, you risk putting your mower’s engine in danger.
How to Check Your Mower’s Oil Levels
It is important to note that each mower is made differently. You should always look over the instruction manual provided with your mower. This is essential for safety reasons.
When you first change the oil in the engine, it comes out as a golden or amber color. This is what good and healthy oil looks like. Over time, dirt will turn this color black.
This darker colored oil is both dirty and useless. Once it turns this color, it no longer can protect your engine.
The best practice is to check the oil levels of your mower before you ever use it. It is easier to get an accurate reading of the oil levels when the engine is cold and not hot.
To check your oil levels, first, locate the oil cap. This cap’s location differs depending on your engine’s make and model. For new models, look for the symbol or word “oil fill”. There are engines that provide an extended tube for you to change the oil while others require you to have a fill tub and just has a hole.
Next, you want to clean the crankcase. Wipe around the area near the oil cap before opening up the crankcase. This will prevent any dirt from falling into the crankcase.
Now is the time to look over the oil. Insert the tip of a clean cloth to measure the color of your oil. If your mower came with a dipstick, simply remove that and use the cloth on it to see the color of your oil.
Make sure your dipstick is fully screwed in before removing it to get the most accurate readings of your oil levels.
What Kind of Oil for Lawn Mowers Should You Use
Cars and lawn mowers are much more alike than most people know. The engine inside of a lawn mower is simply a smaller version of a car engine. It is capable of using car engine oil, but there is much more to it.
The smaller engines that are contained inside lawn mowers operate at a different viscosity. This just means it works best with a different consistency oil than cars use. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use car oil in your mower, just that your mower won’t work as efficiently.
So what is the recommended viscosity for your mower? According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (who provides a standard value for viscosity), you need oil that has SAE 30 or 30 weight.
Synthetic oil works best for this. SAE 30 works well in warmer temperatures, but if you live in an area with sporadic temperatures, you should play around with SAE 10W – 30. The colder it is, the lower SAE you should go. SAE 5 works well for temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Change Your Lawn Mower Oil
Actually, changing your oil is not challenging at all once you know how to do it. First, you want to make sure you stop the engine complete. Remove the spark plug lead and keep your mower away from it.
Locate the oil plug as described above and remove it. Before removing it, as stated above, you should make sure to clean the area around the plug to keep debris from falling into the crankcase.
Now you need to drain the oil that is currently sitting in your mower. There are oil removal kits available, but they are not required. If you want to do it manually, simply tilt the mower deck and use a wrench to run the plug counterclockwise. This will let the oil drain.
Afterwards, you want to change the filter if your engine has one. You should only be changing this once a season, however. Now for the easy part.
Get your mower oil of whatever SAE you chose and fill your mower up. Start up your mower and check for any leaks. You do not want to overflow your crankcase when you fill your mower up with oil. Too much oil can be a bad thing and cause serious damage to your engine.