How To Change The Oil In A Lawn Mower

Today you’re going to learn everything there is to know about how to change the oil in your lawn mower.


  • A quick-step guide with minimal reading and a short 1 minute video to get you started without fuss.
  • And a more in-depth guide explaining the steps in more detail how to start your mower without any prior knowledge.

Let’s jump right into the quick-step guide:

Quick Guide on How To Change The Oil in Your Lawn Mower:

  1. Unscrew gas cap and put plastic between it and the gas fill tube. When tilting the mower over to drain the old oil this will prevent gas from leaking out.
  2. Figure out where the oil drain is and tilt the mower over to drain the oil into a drain pan. Remove the cap and drain the oil.
  3. Now tilt the mower back up and you’re ready to fill with fresh oil. Usually 30W detergent oil is the go-to. Don’t overfill – use dip stick to find level.
  4. Change oil after long storage and ever 20 – 40 hrs of use.

Here’s a video if you prefer to watch the steps:

In-Depth Guide

Why is Clean Oil Important?

Oil is vital to your lawn mower’s lifespan because it lubricates the internal components of the engine – reducing heat from friction.

Over time, microscopic fragments of metal will mix with the oil causing it to be less effective.

How Often Should You Change Your Lawn Mower’s Oil?

The general rule is to change the oil after the first 5 hours of use (if it’s a new lawn mower) and then every 30-40 hours of use after that.

For best results change the oil each season so you can match the outside temperature with the correct oil type.

What Tools Will You Need?

To change the oil in your lawn mower, you will need to gather a few supplies:

  • The correct oil viscosity for the season where you live
  • A drain pan to catch the old oil
  • A wrench depending on the type of drain plug your lawn mower engine has
  • A funnel so you don’t waste any oil when refilling.
Lawn mower smoking white smoke problems

Your lawn mower engine will fail if you never change the oil.

Steps To Change The Oil

Step 1: Drain The Oil From The Lawn Mower

  • First, run the engine for a few minutes to heat up the oil so it will drain easier.
  • To drain the oil, simply remove the oil drain plug from the oil tank and place a container underneath the spout to catch the oil.
  • Be sure to dispose of the used oil properly – never pour it down the drain.

Step 2: Add New Oil To The Lawn Mower

Adding oil to a lawn mower

Make sure to read your Owner’s Manual to know which type of oil to refill with.

  • Once old oil is drained put the drain plug back in.
  • Then, remove the oil fill cap and add the recommended amount of oil.
  • Replace the oil cap and screw it on tightly.
  • Start the lawn mower engine and let it run for a few minutes.
  • Stop the mower engine and check the oil level. You can check it with a dipstick.
  • If required, add more oil until the level is at the full mark.
  • Be sure to dispose of any used oil properly.
Man repairing an fix an old lawn mower.

Depending on your mower you may have a bolt drain plug instead of a simple twist cap. Have a wrench handy to remove the drain bolt if necessary.

Step 3: Start Up The Lawn Mower And Check For Leaks

  • First, take a look at the oil level in the engine. If it’s low, add more oil until it reaches the full line on the dipstick.
  • Next, check the air filter and spark plugs. If the air filter is dirty, replace it with a new one.
  • And finally, start up the lawn mower and check for leaks. If you notice any gasoline or oil leaks, fix them before using the mower.

How To Prolong The Life Of Your Lawn Mower – Some Productive Tips:

In order to prolong the life of your lawn mower and keep it running smooth for years to come, there are a few things you can do:

Read The Manual Carefully

Read the manual carefully and follow the instructions for maintenance and troubleshooting. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this.

Keep The Blades Sharp

Keep the blades sharp. Dull blades not only tear at the grass, making it more susceptible to disease, but they also put unnecessary strain on the engine.

Clean The Mower After Each Use

This includes removing any grass clippings, dirt, or debris that may have accumulated.

Change The Oil Regularly

Change the oil and oil filter regularly. Depending on how often you use the mower, this may need to be done every few months or so.

Store The Mower Properly

Store the mower properly. This means keeping it in a dry, sheltered area out of the elements when you’re not using it.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your lawn mower will provide years of reliable service. So get out there and enjoy your yard!

Wrap Up

As you can see, changing the oil in a lawn mower is a fairly simple task that anyone can do. And it’s an essential part of keeping your mower running properly. So be sure to add it to your regular maintenance routine.

Further Reading

  1. Check out our HOW TO LIBRARY hub for more informative lawn mower articles.
  2. Check out our SPECIAL REPORT hub for in depth research
  3. Check out our ranking of the best lawnmowers for most people.

About your guide: Jamey Kramar is a certified Lawn Care Manager (NALP) and a Mechanical Engineer by trade. He has been writing about outdoor power equipment for 11 years and has been quoted in NYTimes, Popular Mechanics, HowStuffWorks, iFixit,, and more. He spends his spare time disassembling things and also building an off-grid cabin at his 200-acre property.