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Most people understand the importance of doing an oil change on your vehicle or even your lawn mower. It used to be standard practice for automobiles to change it every 3,000 miles. However, modern cars require an oil change every 5,000 to 7,500 for most engines, thanks to improved lubricants. Furthermore, if your vehicle’s engine takes full-synthetic motor oil, it might run up to 15,000 miles between oil changes.

Internal combustion engines need to change their oil because the oil breaks down over time and loses its ability to absorb heat and lubricate the engine. This rule includes small engines as well, such as the one in your lawn mower. Let’s look at why it is vital to change the oil in your lawn mower and how often you should do it.

Lawn mower maintenance

Lawn mowers being maintenance, such as getting the oil changed in your lawn mower.
Lawn mower | Getty Images

Lawn mower maintenance is essential for several reasons. It helps your machine run more efficiently, perform better, and increase the longevity of your mower. Hopefully, allowing you to get around 10 to 15 years of use with a good quality mower. 

Lawn mowers can be a significant investment, so it is important to do what you can to extend its life to avoid costly repairs or, worse, replacement. Most lawn mower owners are familiar with cleaning the cut deck, changing the spark plugs, and removing unspent fuel from their mowers when the season ends. However, a frequently overlooked step is changing the oil. 

How often to change the oil in your lawn mower

As a general rule, Stanley and Son recommend changing the engine oil and oil filters at least once every spring or summer or every 50 hours of use, whichever comes first. This can be different depending on whether you have a push mower or a riding mower. 

You should change the oil once per season or every 100 hours of use for a riding mower. If it is used more frequently, this may require changing the oil twice a season. 

How to change the oil

Begin by starting the mower and letting it warm up for 60 seconds. Then, turn off the engine and disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug. Clean dirt and oil from the dipstick shaft and drain plug area, then remove the dipstick.

For a push mower, prop up the mower deck, so the spark plug is facing up. Place an oil-safe container under the mower and use a wrench to turn the oil plug screw counterclockwise. Turn until the oil flows and let the spent oil drain into the container. 

Remove the oil filter by turning it counterclockwise. Lubricate the seal of the new filter with fresh engine oil. Hand tighten the new filter and then use an oil filter wrench to tighten the rest of the way.


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Refill the engine oil and replace the oil plug screw and dipstick. Check the dipstick to make sure it is clean before replacing it. Check the dipstick one last time to ensure the oil level is correct, and reconnect the spark plug wire to the spark plug.

Having a mower that runs when you need it is important. Whether you are just starting your cutting season or are in the middle of it, you can save yourself a lot of time and aggravation by following a few simple steps. If you skip maintenance on your mower, you will make costly repairs that could have been avoided with just a few minutes of preventative maintenance yearly.