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Your Quick Guide to Lawn Mower Oil: Different Types and Correct Quantity

Got a lawn mower and are puzzled about its oil requirement? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We all scratch our heads over what type and how much oil it needs. It can feel like you’re trying to crack a secret code.

But hey, I’ve got you covered. This blog will clear up the oil mystery. I’ll explain oil types, and how much your mower needs, and share some handy tips to keep your mower running smoothly.

So, sit back and relax. You’re about to become a lawn mower oil whiz. Let’s get started!

Lawn Mower Oil Types & Grades – Choose the Right One

Lawnmowers are integral to all professional gardeners and homeowners’ tools arsenal who love seeing their greens flourish. Lubricating these tools is a normal part of a lawn enthusiast’s life, but if you’re a newbie in the landscaping world, you may wonder if you can use any type of lawn mower oil. Let me tell you; No, you can’t.

For smooth functioning and better efficiency, you can choose a lawn mower oil according to the size of your lawn mower, the capacity of your tool, your climate(temperature), and the engine type of your lawn mower.

To better understand users, the Society of Automotive Engineers(SAE) has classified and labeled lawnmower oils as per their properties. While purchasing oil for lawnmowers, you should watch out for the following labels to distinguish the different types of oils. Here are some of the lawn mower oils graded based on their viscosity.

Also Read: How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower in 10 Easy Steps?

Single Grade Oil

Single-grade oils are those that have no polymer additives and have a viscosity rating of 30. These oils are ideal for warmer temperatures and best for small motor engines like Briggs& Stratton engines.

E.g of Single Grade Oil: SAE 30


  • Ideal for small lawnmowers 
  • Works perfectly in normal & high temperature 
  • Affordable 
  • Easily available 
  • Provides maximum protection against rust, wear & tear, and deposits


  • It may choke the engine due to thickening in a cold environment 
  • Only appropriate for older models

Multi-Grade Oil

 The purpose of multi-grade oil is to function effectively in both high and low temperatures. These oils are formulated by blending basic oil with additives that help oil maintain its viscosity or thickness for various temperatures.

Multi-grade oils are labeled with two numbers, such as 10W-30, which indicate the oil performance in cold and hot temperatures. In this case, the oil’s ability to flow at low temperatures (0°F) is represented by the first number, 10W. In contrast, the second number, 30, in this case, represents thickness at high temperatures and indicates the oil’s cold temperature performance. If the number before the letter “w” is lower, then the oil will perform better in cold temperatures. For example, 5W-30 oil will flow better at colder temperatures than 10W-30.

E.g. of Multi-Grade Oil: 5W-30,15W-40


  • Low-temperature dependence of viscosity 
  • Good lubrication in a wide temp range 
  • Suitable for cold and heat 
  • It causes less battery drain 
  • Less engine wear & tear due to quick lubrication


  • Fast oil aging 
  • Quick loss of original viscosity 
  • Expensive

Synthetic Blend Oil

 Synthetic blend oil or semi-synthetic oil is used as a lubricant to protect various moving parts of an engine. Synthetic blend oil is a mixture of regular oil and several additives. Semi-synthetic oil includes both natural and synthetic additives, which provide the economy of conventional oil and the high performance of synthetic oil.

E.g., Synthetic Blend Oil: 5W-30


  • Protect against water damage 
  • Better at an extremely high temp 
  • Protect against friction and engine wear 
  • Reduced formation of sludge to keep the engine clean 
  • Cost-effective 
  • Better oil life


  • Not as good as fully synthetic oils

Full Synthetic Oil

Full synthetic oils use high-quality base oils with various additives that enhance their performance. They are good for warm and cold weather and last longer than other types of oil.

E.g. of Full Synthetic Oil: SAE 5w-30 Synthetic Oil


  • Last longer 
  • Resistant to chemical oxidation & degradation 
  • Better viscosity at cold temp 
  • Less sludge buildup


  • Costly
  • More prone to additive precipitation during cold storage situations.

Also Read: Say Goodbye to Messy Lawns- A Complete Guide to Mulching Lawn Mower

How much oil to add to your lawn mower?

It is necessary to add the right amount of lawn mower oil to your tool. It depends on the type and the specific model of your mower. Generally, lawn mower engines require between 16 and 20 ounces of oil for proper lubrication.

To determine the actual amount of oil your lawn mower requires, you can check the owner’s manual or look for the oil capacity information on the engine itself. Make sure to use the type of oil the manufacturer recommends, typically an SAE 30-weight oil for most small engines.

Also Read: How to Sharpen Your Mower Blade? | 6 Easy & Safe Steps

Importance Of Maintaining The Right Oil Level 

Maintaining the right oil level in your lawnmower is important for your mower’s appropriate functioning and longevity. Let me tell you some reasons why it is important to maintain the right oil level.

  • Lawn mower oil helps reduce friction and wear and tear on the engine’s moving parts by providing lubrication. 
  • It helps to dissipate heat, preventing the engine from overheating.
  • It forms a seal between piston rings and cylinder walls preventing combustion gasses from leaking into the crankcase.
  • It helps keep the engine clean by carrying away dirt and debris that may accumulate.
  • By creating a barrier between the metal parts and the air, it can prevent corrosion in the engine.
  • Maintaining the right oil level can help improve fuel efficiency by reducing engine friction and increasing engine performance.
  • It also helps reduce emissions by ensuring the engine runs at peak efficiency.
  • Proper maintenance of oil levels in a lawn mower can increase its lifespan and reduce the need for repairs.
  • A machine with the right oil level is easier to start and runs smoother, reducing the likelihood of stalling or stopping.
  • Maintaining the right oil level in a lawn mower ensures the engine runs as it should, reducing the possibility of accidents or engine failures.

Also Read: Best Electric Lawn Mowers for Your Garden

How To Select The Right Type Of Oil?

Choosing the right type of oil for the lawn mower is crucial for engine performance and longevity. You need to check the manufacturer’s guidance to select the right type of lawn oil. It will specify your area’s oil type, viscosity, climate, and other essential information according to your mower(2-stroke or four-stroke). You can choose either conventional or synthetic oil.

Remember to choose reputable brands with a good track record for producing quality oil. To determine if a lawn mower is effective, you can browse online reviews and forums to check the experiences of other users who have used it.

Based on viscosity, here are some of the options you can choose from:

SAE-30 Oil: It is a single-grade oil with a viscosity rating of 30. It is the most common synthetic oil for small engines lawn mowers and best for warmer weather.

Sae- 30 lawn mower oil
SAE- 30 lawnmower oil

E.g: Briggs & Stratton 30W Engine Oil 

SAE 5w-30 Synthetic Oil: This type of oil has a viscosity rating of 5 in cold and 30 in normal temperatures.

Sae 5w - 30 lawn mower oil

E.g.: Briggs & Stratton SAE 5W-30 Synthetic Small Engine Motor Oil

SAE 10w-30 Synthetic Oil: It is ideal in cold temperatures. It reduces wear and provides the best protection in severe weather.

Sae 10 - 30 lawn mower oil

E.g.: Valvoline Daily Protection SAE 10W-30 Conventional Motor Oil

SAE 15w-50 Synthetic Oil: this synthetic file is used for high and commercial engines.Best for 4-stroke engines and provides the best performance at high temperatures.

Sae 15- 50 lawn mower oil

E.g.: Kawasaki SAE 15W-50 Synthetic 4-Cycle Engine Oil


If you’re still wondering What type and how much oil my lawn mower will use for my equipment, I am here to help you. Choosing the right types of oil and maintaining the proper oil level in your lawn mower is important for its optimal performance and longevity.

There are several types of lawn mower oils, including single-grade, multi-grade, synthetic blend, and full synthetic oil. The amount of oil required for your lawn mower depends on the specific model and engine type, and it’s important to avoid overfilling the engine. 

Maintaining the right oil level prevents engine damage, reduces wear and tear, and ensures your lawn mower runs smoothly. Changing your lawn mower’s oil every 50 hours or at least once a year is recommended, depending on usage.

Also Read: Which Is The Best Pull Behind Tiller For Lawn Mower?

FAQs For Lawn Mower Oil

When Should You Change The Mower’s Oil?

The general rule of thumb for changing the oil for walk-behind mowers is after every 50 hours of use or once a year.
But wait, before you grab that wrench, it’s always a good idea to consult your lawn mower’s owner manual for specific guidelines.

If you’re a frequent user or use your mower for commercial purposes, you may need to change the oil more often. On the other hand, if you use it occasionally, you can change the oil of your riding lawn mower after every two years or 100 hours of use.

Tip: If you notice any changes in color or viscosity or detect a gasoline odor, immediately change the oil. And if you’re going to store your tool, it’s good to change the oil before storage and again before using it in the next session.

What are the potential dangers of adding excess oil?

Overfilling your lawn mower with oil can cause serious problems and even damage its engine beyond repair. Here are some of the risks you should be aware of:

  • It can increase the load on your engine, which can cause it to overheat, add too much oil, and even cause engine failure.
  •  Overfilling oil can cause foaming, reducing its effectiveness in lubricating the engine and leading to more wear and tear.
  •  Excess oil can cause oil seals to break and lead to oil leaks, damaging the surrounding parts of your mower.
  •  Overfilled oil can cause the excess oil to burn off, resulting in increased emissions and damage to your mower’s exhaust system.
  • Too much oil can cause the oil to come into contact with the spark plugs, which can cause misfiring and other engine problems.

What To Do If You Filled Too Much Mower Oil? 

If you have added too much oil in a hurry or mistakenly, you need to remove the excessive oil. To remove the oil, remove the spark plug wire for safety. Here are a few ways to remove excess oil from your tool.

  • Remove it via drain plug or valve port by removing the plug for a second and putting it back.
  • One can loosen or remove the oil filter to drain a small amount of oil. Place a rag nearby to avoid the mess.
  • If your push mower engine doesn’t have a drain plug, you can tilt the mower to let some oil drain out through the fill hole.
  • Oil evacuators can also do this job for you nicely without any mess. It removes the oil by inserting a tube into the engine oil fill hole.
  • A Turkey baster is also a good choice for removing small quantities of oil.

Is using the oil from my car in my lawn mower safe?

 Generally, it is not recommended to use car oil in a lawn mower because using car oil in a lawn mower can result in poor engine performance, excessive wear, and decreased engine life. It is best to use the type of oil recommended by your lawn mower manufacturer, but in some cases, if you own a 4-stroke lawn mower, you can use some of the better quality car oil in your tool.

Is it okay to add oil above the maximum level on the dipstick?

Putting oil above the maximum dipstick level isn’t a good idea. It will cause foaming and hinder proper lubrication of engine parts.

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