Mower Advisor

Self service – tips on changing the oil

Tips on changing the oil in your petrol mower
Like cars, petrol mowers need annual servicing. You can either do this yourself through self service or through your local garden machinery dealer who will carry out a full maintenance and service to help keep your mower running smoother for longer ensuring any running issues are dealt with.

Choose the right grade

Some maintenance tasks can be done at home though and changing the oil is one of them. Manufacturers recommend carrying out an oil change every 50 hours of operation for walk-behind mowers or every 100 hours for ride-on mowers, whichever comes first

During that time, the oil will change colour as it begins to capture dirt particles and heats up and down, reducing its ability to coat and protect the various engine components effectively.

Check the manufacturer’s manual to find out what grade of oil you should be using, if you can’t find the manual a quick internet search should confirm it for you. The most common oils for the small engines used on walk-behind petrol mowers are SAE 30 or SAE 5W-30.

Choose an Oil Change Kit

When you have the correct oil begin by starting the mower’s engine, once its nice and warm stop it and disconnect the mower’s spark plug. Warming the engine will help the oil to pick up all of the little particles that have collected in it and disconnecting the spark plug will ensure the mower will not power up during the oil change. Wipe the area around the oil plug to prevent additional debris getting in when the cap is opened. Drain the oil by tilting the mower and emptying it into a jug, you could also use a oil removal pump/kit.

There are oil change kits which include a pump, hose and collection can. If your mower has an oil filter, this should also be replaced at the same time.

Most handy kits also include oil and filters, available from garden machinery dealers, Homebase and some garden centres.

Refill and Responsible Disposal

When refilling with fresh oil be careful not to add too much or too little, either can cause damage to the engine and always use the dipstick to check the levels. Once you’re happy with the levels, return the dipstick, tighten it in place and you have successful replaced your mower’s oil.

In most cases you can dispose of the used oil by taking it to your local garden machinery dealer where it will recycle it in accordance with environmental regulations or you can take it your local Oil Bank.
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