“How often should I change my oil in my lawn mower?”
This is one of the more common questions we are asked. The basic response we give is…once a year. However, that is only a “rule of thumb.”
The more complete answer should be:
“Consult your operators manual”
Each engine manufacturer will have their own specific recommendation about the proper interval between oil changes for their engines. We have seen these vary between 25 hours and 100 hours depending on the manufacturer and the intended purpose of the machine.
If you don’t have your manual anymore, here are some links that may help:
Basically every manufacturer suggests that regardless of the number of hours put on the machine, the oil should be changed at least once a year.
There is also one other important piece of information that manufacturer suggest (and that is widely ignored): the oil should be changed after the first 5 hours of operation. During the manufacturing process, small imperfections can develop on the machined parts. During the first few hours of operation, these are ground off and the shavings end up in the oil. By changing the oil after 5 hours, these shavings (and the damage they can do to high tolerance parts) can be eliminated).
What kind of use does the engine get?
If the machine is used in dusty/dirty conditions, you should change the oil more frequently. Other conditions that will require the engine to work harder and contribute to oil break down are heavy/wet grass, steep/hilly terrain and high temperatures.
What kind of oil should be used?
We use 10w30 oil in virtually all “summertime” type equipment (lawn mowers, edgers, tillers, etc…) and 5w30 oil in all “wintertime” equipment (4 stroke snow blowers, power brushes, etc…). We have found this to be the best solution for our climate in Utah.
We use standard oil (rather than synthetic). Most manufacturers recommend standard oil but most don’t prohibit synthetic. Here is an excerpt from Kohler Engines:
“Synthetic oils meeting the classifications listed in the owner’s manual may be used, however oil changes still need to be performed at the recommended intervals. To allow the piston rings to seat properly, Kohler recommends operating a new or rebuilt engine for at least 50 hours on standard oil before switching to the synthetic oil.”
Check the oil frequently
In theory, you should check the oil level and condition before you use the equipment–every time. This is a great habit to form and it only takes about 30 seconds to check. Black oil = dirty oil. New oil is amber colored.
Following a consistent oil change procedure will prolong the life of your engine, allow easier starts and reduce environmental impacts. We at Flying Wrench would love to do this work for you. Call us and we’ll come to you!