Frequently Asked Questions

What type & how much lawn mower oil does my engine need?

Posted in Maintenance

Before you are able to change the lawn mower oil on your Briggs & Stratton small engine, it’s important to understand the oil type and capacity required. Below we have answered this frequently asked question and explain the two most important steps in understanding your mower better when it comes to lawn mower oil type and capacity.

Choosing the Right Oil Type for Your Small Engine
Oil Capacity for Lawn Mower & Outdoor Power Product Engines

How to Identify the Lawn Mower or Small Engine Oil Type

Lawn Mower Oil TypeThe specific mower oil recommendations for your engine are dependent on the engine's manufacturer. Your best source of information regarding the type and grade of lawnmower oil for your unit's engine would be the engine manual.

If your unit is powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine, please refer to the chart and description below to find the best oil types based on outdoor temperature for engine use:
Lawn Mower Oil Type

The Society of Automotive Engineers has developed a categorization of motor oils which will indicate the viscosity (thickness) and temperature in which engine oil can be used. This is called the SAE, it is printed on every bottle of oil and will also indicate whether or not the oil is synthetic.

Above is a chart that lists SAE type and the temperature in which it functions the best. The easiest way to find the best SAE for your lawn mower is to combine information from your operator’s manual with the descriptions of oil types below.

Small Engine Oil Type Recommendations:

  • Use SAE 30 in warmer temperatures of 40° F and higher (5° C and higher)
  • Use SAE 10W-30 for a varying temperature range of 0 to 100° F (-18 to 38° C), this grade of oil improves cold weather starting, but may increase oil consumption at 80° F(27° C) or higher
  • A synthetic oil SAE 5W-30 is the best for very cold temperatures of -20 to as high as 120° F (-30 to 40° C) providing the best protection at all temperatures as well as improved starting with less oil consumption
  • Use SAE 5W-30 for very cold temperatures of 40° F and below (5° C and below)

Things to keep in mind when choosing lawn mower oil:

  • Use a high quality detergent oil classified "For Service SF, SG, SH, SJ" or higher.
  • Do not use special additives.
  • Synthetic oils are an acceptable oil at all temperatures. Use of synthetic oil does not alter required oil change intervals.

Can You Use Synthetic Lawn Mower Oil? Yes!

Synthetic Lawnmower OilWe have recently modified our engine oil recommendations to state that you may now use a synthetic 5W30 or 10W30 oil in all temperature ranges. We recommend the use of Briggs & Stratton Synthetic Oil. The use of this high quality detergent oil assures compliance with Briggs & Stratton warranty requirements regarding the use of appropriate oil.

Engine break-in procedures using synthetic oil remain the same. Please keep in mind that the use of synthetic oil does not preclude you from performing your regularly scheduled lawn mower maintenance (i.e. check oil, change oil, etc.)

Engine Oil Capacity

Engine oil capacity is, just like oil type, dependent on your specific engine model. To learn how to check the lawn mower oil, please watch our "Checking Engine Oil - Lawnmower Engine"

Outside of the basics regarding oil type & capacity, the best source of information regarding any small engine concern would be a Briggs & Stratton Dealer.

Lawnmower OilDo-It-Yourself lawn mower parts and products, such as Briggs & Stratton Lawnmower Oil, can be purchased through the Maintenance Products & Accessories section of our website.

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User Community

geneofva • 66 days ago

I cannot believe that I have to search for a serial number for a mower to find out how to get the oil out of it after a season??!! You can't tell me …

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