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 last and perform better. So, can you use car oil in a lawn mower?

The answer is yes. But this depends on the type of mower’s engine. SAE 30 or 10W-30 motor oil can be used in a lawn mower engine, but it is safe to refer to the owner’s manual. Low-grade motor oil can hurt your mower’s engine.

Proactive change of oil and filters helps add life to your engine, reduce costly repairs, and improve performance. Even the simplest lawn mower engines have moving parts that need lubrication and cooling from high temperatures.

Can you use Car Oil in a Lawn Mower?

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

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

You’ll need to change the oil for a new lawn mower after the first five hours of operation. Next, you will need to change it after 50 hours of mowing. Ideally, check what the manufacturer recommends in the user manual.

When adding oil, you must 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 in the 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 their behavior at different temperatures.

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

Multigrade oils perform 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 after, it shows the oil’s viscosity at 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 lawnmowers:

  • 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 ranges.
  • SAE 5W-30 – This is a multigrade engine oil with a low viscosity. It flows better at colder temperatures and protects the engine in high temperatures.
  • Synthetic SAE 5W-30 – This oil offers the best protection at all temperatures and has improved starting with less oil consumption. It is ideal for heavy use.
  • Vanguard 15W-50 – Operates at varying temperature ranges. It is ideal for heavy-duty use, such as commercial lawn mowing or pressure washing services.

When you change your engine’s oil, you can choose between a regular conventional oil and a synthetic type. Conventional oil is directly derived from crude oil for general uses in the engine, including lubrication.

This oil can be modified to a synthetic version with more benefits. You get improved lubrication, a cleaner engine, enhanced protection, and overall high performance when using synthetic oil. This engine oil is usually high-priced.

Conventional and synthetic oil can also be blended to form a synthetic blend motor oil that provides excellent engine performance at a pocket-friendly price.

How to Choose Oil for your Lawn Mower Engine

The manufacturer always offers the best recommendation for choosing the right oil type for your lawn mower engine.

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 temperature conditions of your area.

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

On the other hand, two-stroke engines are smaller and common in older push lawnmowers and weed trimmers. These engines run louder and smokier as compared to their four-stroke counterparts.

In 2-stroke engines, oil and gasoline are mixed together in the same tank in a given ratio. SAE 30 is usually the best option of oil for two-stroke engines. Check the difference between SAE 30 and 5W30 motor oils.

Final Thought

Lawnmowers are helpful machines in shaping our lawns and keeping yards neat. One way to ensure your lawn mower runs properly without any problems is to keep changing its engine oil. Always use the oil recommended by the mower’s manufacturer.

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