What is the best small engine maintenance schedule?



You can avoid many small engine problems and save money on parts and repairs if you follow a regular maintenance schedule. Make good maintenance a habit when you’re:

Creating an Engine Maintenance Schedule

Breaking in a Small Engines

 WARNING: Always read the engine and equipment manual(s) before starting, operating, or servicing your engine or equipment to avoid personal injury or property damage. See an authorized dealer or contact Briggs & Stratton if you are unsure of any procedure or have additional questions. Find all Engine Safety Warnings

Small Engine Maintenance Schedule

Always be sure to consult your operator's manual for special guidelines for your make and model. Service is more frequently required for heavy use or under dusty or dirty conditions especially for regularly used outdoor power products like a snow blower or lawn mower engine.

A great tool for keeping track of your engine maintenance intervals is the Engine Maintenance Minder, it’s a small engine accessory that can be easily installed, keeping track of how many hours the engine has been in use. The Maintenance Minder displays flashes every 25 hours of run time and works with 2 and 4 cycle engines. For our EXi series engines, which do not require an oil change, please reference your operator’s manual for proper maintenance schedule.

 First 5 Hours
- Change oil
 Every 8 Hours or Daily
 - Check engine oil level
 - Clean area around muffler and controls
 - Clean finger guard
 Every 25 Hours or Annually
 - Clean air filter*
 - Clean pre-cleaner*
 Every 50 Hours or Annually
 - Change engine oil
 - Check muffler and spark arrester
 Annually
 - Replace air filter
 - Replace pre-cleaner
 - Replace spark plug
 - Replace fuel filter
 - Clean air cooling system*

* In dusty conditions or when airborne debris is present, clean more often.

Engine Break-In Procedure

Breaking in the engine is a good practice for new lawn mowers or outdoor power equipment. For our EXi series engine. which does not require an oil change, please reference your operator’s manual. For all other engines, the two major points to consider when using an air cooled engine for the first time:
Step 1: Do not operate the engine at full load during the first 5-10 hours of operation.
In the past, the engine break-in period was very important to the overall life and durability or the engine. Engine design improvements, like better piston ring materials and designs, has decreased the break-in period (now 5-10 hours) compared to engines of the past.

You can break-in your mower engine at any speed above idle. The break-in process may occur faster if the engine is operated at varying loads and speeds. It is recommended that an engine not be operated continuously at full load during the initial hours of operation. This can lead to permanent deformation of the cylinder bore.

Step 2: Change the oil after the first 5-10 hours of use.

It is very important to perform the initial break-in oil change.

After the first 5-10 hours of operation, the oil should be changed to remove asperities that have broken from the bearings of the engine components and cylinder wall. The break-in oil change can be performed using the recommended grades of standard or synthetic oil. To save money, use standard oil for the break-in procedure, and if desired, switch synthetic oil afterwards.


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