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

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. The type of mower you use, the engine within, and the temperature outside determines what type of oil to use, how much you need and the cost of the oil. Use the Oil Finder tool below to find the right oil for you.

Oil Finder

What oil and how much should I use?

Choose your equipment, engine name (usually found on your engine label) and outside temperature that you will be using it in to find your recommended oil and how much to use.

If you need help determining if your riding mower's engine is a single cylinder or twin cylinder (V-Twin), click here.

Engine Series

Outside Temperature Range

Suggested Oil(s):

Consult your engine operator's manual for information specific to your engine. Proper care and maintenance of your equipment is proven to be the key to long engine life. Prior to each engine start, always check the oil dipstick for proper oil level. If you have new equipment or a new engine, oil typically does not come already added.

How to Identify the Lawn Mower or Small Engine Oil Type

We recommend the use of Briggs & Stratton Warranty Certified oils for best performance.  Other high-quality detergent oils are acceptable if classified for service SF, SG, SH, SJ or higher.  Do not use special additives.

Outdoor temperatures determine the proper oil viscosity for the engine.  Use the chart to select the best viscosity for the outdoor temperature range expected.  Engines on most outdoor power equipment operate well with 5W30 Synthetic oil.  For equipment operated in hot temperatures, Vanguard 15W50 Synthetic oil provides the best protection.

Lawn Mower Oil Type by Briggs and Stratton

*Below 40°F (4°C) the use of SAE 30 will result in hard starting.

**Above 80°F (27°C) the use of 10W30 may cause increased oil consumption.  Check oil level more frequently.

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)
  • For continuous-use, such as commercial lawn cutting or pressure washing, use Vanguard 15W-50 Oil (temperatures from 20°F to 130°F)

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!

We 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 Fully Synthetic Premium Long-Life 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.