How do I check and change lawn mower oil?

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When you put fresh oil into the crankcase, it will be a golden or amber color. Over time, heat, dirt and agitated air get into the crankcase causing the oil to darken. Dark oil is not only dirty; it has also lost much of its ability to coat and protect engine components.

When to Change the Oil

  • Oil change intervals are dependant on enigne model. Please refer to your engine operator's manual for information specific to your engine model
  • For a new lawn mower engine, you'll also need to change the oil after the first five hours of operation.
  • Also check the oil every time you use it. Tough conditions such as wet grass, heavy dust, high temperatures and rough or hilly terrain, may increase the frequency of required oil changes.
  • The new EXi engines series™ from Briggs & Stratton® makes lawn mower oil maintenance easier than ever with Just Check & Add™ Engines.

How to Check Oil Level

Checking the oil while the engine is cold and most of the oil is in the crankcase yields the most accurate reading.

For oil checking procedures on lawn mower applications, please watch our "Checking Engine Oil - Lawn mower Engine" video

Follow These Steps to Change your Oil

First, remove all dirt and debris from the engine, then check the oil level on your dipstick. The oil level of the dipstick should be between the two holes on the dipstick. Overfilling your engine can be just as bad as using old oil or running low on oil, so make sure to check your dipstick level regularly.

Next, identify how to drain the oil on your lawn mower. This can be done through the dipstick tube, drain plug or with an oil extractor tool. From there, it’s time to drain the oil:

  • Run the lawn mower engine for 15 minutes to warm up the oil (imperative to remove all dirty debris from engine)

  • Turn off the engine and disconnect the spark plug wire

  • Drain the gas from the mower OR place a plastic sandwich bag over the gas tank and screw the cap on to prevent leaks

  • Insert the oil extractor tube and begin to pump the oil out of the engine

Once you have removed all the old oil and placed it in a container, set the container aside and after you are completed with the oil change, take this container to your nearest dealership where they can recycle your old oil. 

Remember to reinstall the drain plug if that was the method used to remove the oil. Now, you can begin pouring in the clean, new oil. Check your operator’s manual to determine which oil is best for your engine. In this video we used Briggs & Stratton SAE 30 Oil which can be used for most small engines. Do not pour the complete bottle of oil into the engine right away.  Check level periodically while filling so that you do not over fill.

Once you finish pouring in the new oil, insert the dipstick in the tube and check to make sure the oil is at the correct level. When the oil is at the correct level, screw on the dipstick cap, put in new fuel if you removed it, and then reconnect the spark plug wire.

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 if you are unsure of any procedure or have additional questions. Find all Engine Safety Warnings

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