Can You Use Car Oil in a Lawn Mower? [What Type]

Most gas engines work using the same principle. Both car and lawn mower engines need oil for lubrication and cooling. Changing oil regularly makes the engine to last longer and perform better. So, can you use car oil in a lawn mower?

Yes, SAE 30 motor oil can be used in a lawn mower engine, but it is safe to use the type of oil recommended by your lawn mower manufacturer. A low grade motor oil can hurt your mower’s engine.

Proactive change of oil and filters helps in adding life to your engine, reducing costly repairs and improving performance. Even the simplest lawn mower engines have moving parts that need lubrication and cooling for high temperatures.

Can you use Car Oil in a Lawn Mower?

It is important to know the type of engine oil your lawn mower use. Oils come in different grades for various climates and engine sizes. Apart from the recommended oil for your lawn mower, you can also use SAE 30 motor oil .

When to change your lawn mower oil may depend the number of operation hours. For a new lawn mower, you’ll need to change the oil after the first five hours of operation. Next you will need to change it after 50 hours of mowing. Ideally check manufacturer’s recommendation in the user manual.

Sometimes how often you change your lawn mower engine oil will depend on other factors including the conditions under which your machine is working. Mowing a dusty or muddy area may necessitate earlier oil change.

When adding oil, you need to keep checking its level in the crankcase using the provided dipstick. This ensures that you don’t overfill the oil or add less. Overfilling will result to lawn mower smoking white or blue when oil spill on the engine.

What Motor Oil to use in my Lawn Mower?

Motor oils come in different grades, based on viscosity and how they behaves at different temperatures. This determines in what size of engine and environmental conditions to use the oil. Specified letters and numbers are used to describe oils based on their grades.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) classifies motor oils by viscosity. Unlike before when oils were one grade and only performing best at higher temperatures, we now have multigrade oils with special additives to provide better viscosity at a range of temperatures.

Multigrade oils performs best in both high and low temperature conditions. The oil has two numbers separated by a “W” which stands for winter. The number before “W” describes the oil’s viscosity at low temperatures while that after it shows the oil’s performance in high temperatures.

According to Briggs and Stratton, the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment, the following are the recommended oil types for lawn mowers:

  • SAE 30 – This is a single grade oil best for small engines and warmer temperature conditions
  • SAE 10W-30 – A multigrade oil that improves cold-weather starting, but may increase oil consumption. It is suitable for large engines in varying temperature range.
  • SAE 5W-30 – This is a multigrade engine oil with a low viscosity. It flows better at colder temperatures and also provides protection to the engine in high temperatures
  • Synthetic SAE 5W-30 – This oil offers best protection at all temperatures, has improved starting with less oil consumption. It is ideal for heavy use.
  • Vanguard 15W-50 – Operates at varying temperature range. It is ideal for heavy duty-use, such as commercial lawn mowing or pressure washing services.

When you change your engine’s oil, you also have an option to choose between a regular conventional oil and a synthetic type. A conventional oil is directly derived from crude oil for general uses in the engine including lubrication. This type oil can be modified to a synthetic version which has more benefits.

When using synthetic oil, you get improved lubrication, cleaner engine, enhanced protection and overall high performance of your engine. This engine oil is usually high-priced.

Both conventional and synthetic oil are also blended to form a synthetic blend motor oil that provides excellent engine performance at pocket friendly budget.

How to Choose Oil for your Lawn Mower Engine

To choose the right oil type for your lawn mower engine, the manufacturer always offers the best recommendation. However, there are other factors you will have to consider including your mower’s engine size (2-stroke vs 4-stroke), oil viscosity and the temperatures conditions of your area.

Four-stroke engines are common in large riding lawn mowers and also in several push lawn mowers as well. They are powerful and reliable for mowing larger fields. In these engines, oil and gas are kept separate. 10W30 will be the best oil to use in your four stroke engine lawn mower.

Two stroke engines on the other hand are smaller and common in older push lawn mowers and weed trimmers. These engines run louder and smokier as compared to their four-stroke counterparts. Oil and gasoline are mixed together in the same tank in a given ration. SAE 30 is usually the best option of oil for two stroke engines.

Final Thought

Lawn mowers are helpful machines in shaping our lawns as well as keeping yards neat. One way of ensuring that your lawn mower runs properly without any problems is to keep changing its engine oil as recommended by the manufacturer. While it is possible to use car oil in your lawn mower, you should be careful about the motor oil grade you are using.

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