Oil helps in lubricating and cooling the engine and needs periodical change to maintain engine performance and life. Too little or too much oil is unhealthy to a lawn mower engine. So, how much oil does a lawn mower take?
Walk behind lawn mowers with small engines have oil capacity ranging from 15oz to 24 oz. Their oil should be changed at the start of the mowing season or after every 20 to 50 hours of operation. Riding lawn mowers on the other hand have oil capacity of 48 oz. to 64 oz. and need to be changed annually or after every 100 hours of operation.
How Much Oil Does a Lawn Mower Take?
The amount of oil a lawn mower will take depends on various factor including the engine size, mower model and the amount of oil already available in the crankcase. To know the exact amount of oil your lawn mower take, you will have to go through the provided user manual.
A dipstick is always provided to help in checking or determining the amount of oil needed by your lawn mower. If you know how to use it, then there is no need of scratching your head wanting to know how much oil your lawn mower will take.
Unless you are topping up or adding oil to a brand new lawn mower, you need to drain the old oil from your lawn mower before adding new one. You can do this by tipping the lawn mower to drain oil through the dipstick tube, through the oil drain plug or using an oil extractor pump.
Once you have figured out the right motor oil for your lawn mower as directed in the user manual, use a dipstick to determine the right amount of oil to add. Wipe the dipstick with a clear rug so that you can take accurate reading.
The dipstick has two marks on it – one for the minimum oil level and the other for the maximum level. At all time, the oil should be between the marks, but closer to the maximum than the minimum.
Once you have reinstalled and tightened the oil drain plug, level up your lawn mower on a flat ground. Gently add oil slow by slowly into the crankcase as you use the dipstick to check the level of oil you have added. There is no harm in purchasing extra bottles of oil as you will always use it the next time.
How to Check Oil Level in a Lawn Mower
Apart from changing your lawn mower oil, you should also be checking if the available oil is enough. As said, the oil should always be closer to the maximum level marking on the dipstick. With little amount of oil, your lawn mower engine is likely to overheat and will prematurely wear out due to friction in its components.
There is no other way of checking oil level in your engine other than using a dipstick. Here is how to do it:
- Turn off your lawn mower engine and let it cool for 15 to 30 minutes
- Disconnect the plug wire to prevent the engine from accidentally starting
- Remove the dipstick by twisting the cap in a counter clockwise direction
- Wipe the dipstick with a clean rug to remove oil for accurate reading
- Reinsert the dipstick into its tube and ensure it has completely locked
- Remove the dipstick and again and view the oil level on the markings
- Add some oil if it’s close to or below the minimum level until its almost to the fill mark on the dipstick
- Let the oil settle for 10 minutes before checking again its level using the dipstick
- Once satisfied, fit the dipstick back on engine and wipe any oil spills on the engine using a rug
- Reconnect the plugs back and start your lawn mower engine. Any oil spills on the engine may burn off as blue or white smoke.
Effects of Excess oil in a lawn mower
Without using a dipstick to check the amount of oil you are adding, you are likely to overfill the mower crankcase with oil. As too little oil is bad to the engine, too much oil is also a problem. The excess oil can cause your engine to overheat which can result in blown gaskets, seal damage or locking up.
As a result of broken seals and gaskets, the excess oil will move in any direction including on the cylinders, on the spark and air filters. This is one of the reason why your lawn mower is smoking, not starting well, performing poorly and producing unusual sounds in the engine.
How to remove excess oil from a lawn mower
If you overfilled your lawn mower engine with oil, you need to remove the excess as soon as possible. The process is almost similar to that of draining oil from a lawn mower but this time you need to do it diligently to avoid draining too much oil from the mower. There are several methods to this:
- Through drain plug: If your lawn mower has a drain plug – usually underneath the mowing deck, place a drain pan under it and gently remove the plug for a second to drain the excess oil. You may have to lift up the mower or flip it to access underneath the deck.
- Through fill hole: Either through a separate fill hole or the dipstick tube, you can flip your lawn mower to drain the excess oil. Ensure the air filter and plugs are facing up as the fill hole nears the ground to the drain pan.
- Using oil extractor pump: This is the easiest and effective way of removing excess oil from your lawn mower. You simply open the dipstick tube or the fill hole and insert the tube then pump the oil into the attached container.
Tip: Keep checking the level of oil in your lawn mower using a dipstick as you drain out the excess oil. This will prevent you from also removing more oil than required.
After removing the excess oil from your lawn mower, consider cleaning lawn mower oil soaked air filters, spark plugs and lawn mower carburetor. Oil deposits will typically impair the performance of this parts and that can be prevented by cleaning them.
Knowing the amount of oil your lawn mower take can be helpful in planning and budgeting for an oil change. However, this is not very concerning if you know how to use a dipstick provided on your lawn mower engine. Always use it to check the amount of oil needed or available in your lawn mower engine.
Periodically check oil level to ensure that your mower engine is not operating with little oil. Additionally, change your lawn mower as directed in the user manual and use the dipstick to ensure that you have not added excess engine oil into your lawn mower.