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How to Change Oil in a Lawn Mower

How to Change Oil in a Lawn Mower

A lawn mower is often thought of as a low-maintenance machine you can simply use and ignore. While it is true that a lawn mower is more basic on upkeep than your car, there are still a few important elements of caring for your lawn mower. Changing the oil is one of the most important aspects of care to ensure years of use for your mower. Let’s take a look at how to change oil in a lawn mower so you can be ready for the job.


The first step in knowing how to change oil in a lawn mower is actually knowing when to perform the task. There are some general guidelines to take the guesswork out of the timing of this important task. For starters, if you just purchased a new lawnmower, you would put oil in the new mower and then aim for the first oil change after you reach 5 hours of use. From there, you should aim for an oil change at least every spring or summer, depending on which season you start using the mower again after winter. If you use the mower more frequently, such as part of your landscaping business, you will need to change the oil after every 50 hours of operation.

  1. Unplug spark plug wire and remove gas: The first step in how to change oil in a lawn mower is to make sure it is safe to do so. While most people know they should never work on a lawnmower that is running, they also overlook certain safety measures. The first thing is to make sure the lawnmower is off and cooled off. You don’t want to work with hot oil. The next step is to unplug the spark plug wire. Next, remove the gas from the lawnmower and transfer it to a gas can. This can be done with a hand siphon hose sold in automotive stores. Removing the gas removes the concerns of the spark plug wire meeting spilled gas and cause a fire hazard. Make sure you wipe up any spills on the frame near the spark plug wire.

  2. Locate drain plug and remove: Under the mower deck, locate the drain plug on your model. It may be either a recessed bolt or a protruding plug bolt. With a drain pan in place to avoid a mess, use the correct sized wrench for your model’s bolt and loosen it. Make sure you catch the bolt, so you don’t lose it.

  3. Drain old oil: Allow the oil to drain into the drain pan. This is a good time to wipe down or even wash the plug bolt if there is oil all over it. The key to draining the old oil is to make sure you get as much of it out as possible. You should let it drain until it is a slow, occasional drip to get as much out as you can. The other important thing during this step is to make sure you dispose the oil properly once it is done draining. The responsible thing to do is to look into hazard waste material sites in the area to recycle or dispose of the oil safely.

  4. Replace drain plug: When the draining has slowed to just an occasional drip, replace the drain plug bolt. You should also use a clean towel to wipe up any oil near this area to keep things clean. Replace and tighten the drain plug bolt.

  5. Add new oil to fill level: Once the plug is in place, add new oil to the oil reservoir and replace the oil reservoir lid. Make sure there are no leaks near the drain plug bolt indicating that you need to fasten it more.

  6. Refill gas and replace spark plug wire: Next, replace the gas in the lawnmower. With clean, dry hands, replace the spark plug wire to complete this task and get back to using your lawnmower.