How To Change Oil in Riding Lawn Mower the Right Way?

Engineer fixing a lawn mower

The riding lawn mower has revolutionized lawn care, allowing homeowners and landscapers to cover large areas efficiently. Like any machinery, a riding lawn mower requires regular maintenance to boost its longevity and optimal performance. Among the most crucial maintenance activities is understanding how to change oil in riding lawn mower and what kind of oil goes into it. Engine oil helps the lawn mower engine run smoothly, reducing friction and preventing overheating.

As you wouldn’t neglect the gas tank or overlook the spark plug wire’s condition, the lawn mower oil deserves your attention. So, why not read this complete guide about changing oil in riding lawn mower to keep your mower in prime condition?

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Frequency of Oil Change and Check

Typically, checking your lawn mower’s oil level after every 8-10 hours of operation is excellent. It might be time for a change if the oil looks dark or dirty. However, changing the oil at least once a season is a good practice if you’re not using your mower frequently.

Each lawn mower model might have specific recommendations concerning oil change intervals. Hence, refer to the owner’s manual for guidance tailored to your mower’s engine.

Other considerations include:

Age and Model of Mower: Older mowers or those with more hours of operation might require more frequent oil changes.

Type of Engine Oil Used: Synthetic oils last longer than conventional oils.

Operating Conditions: The engine might need more frequent oil changes if your mower operates in dusty or uneven terrains.

Remember, it’s not just about the engine oil. The oil filter, too, plays a pivotal role. When changing the oil, inspect the oil filter. If it seems clogged or overly dirty, it’s wise to replace it to achieve the cleanest oil circulation possible.

Signs It’s Time to Change the Oil

Regular maintenance ensures the longevity of your riding mower, but how can you recognize when it’s genuinely time to change the lawn mower oil? Several signs indicate that an oil change is due:

Oil Color and Consistency

Fresh oil typically has a clear, honey-like color. Over time, as it gets contaminated, it turns dark and murky. If the oil level on the dipstick looks black rather than amber or feels gritty to the touch, it’s a signal to change the oil.

Performance Issues

Old oil might be the culprit if your riding mower doesn’t start as smoothly as it used to or seems to lack power. Such oil may hinder the engine’s performance, making tasks more laborious.

Smoke from the Exhaust

While a riding mower might occasionally puff out a small amount of smoke, consistent or excessive smoke can indicate problems with the lawn mower oil.

Unusual Noises

Old or insufficient oil leads to increased friction in the engine, causing rattling or knocking sounds. If you notice such noises, check the oil level and its condition.

Oil Smell

An overpowering oil smell or burning oil signifies that the oil is bad and needs replacing.

Preparing to Change the Oil

Before diving into how to change lawn mower oil, you need to get everything in order. Preparing in advance enables you to take a safe and efficient approach:

Always disconnect the spark plug wire before beginning. This step ensures the mower doesn’t accidentally start while you’re working on it.

For a riding mower, keep it flat ground. On the other hand, if you’re working with a push lawn mower, it’s ideal to have it elevated but secured.

Changing the oil when the gas tank is nearly empty prevents gasoline spillage. Plus, it reduces the risk of igniting a fire.

However, you’ll need a drain pan to collect the old oil. Ensure it’s clean and large enough to hold the oil quantity. If your mower has an oil filter, having an oil filter wrench will help remove the old filter. It ensures you don’t damage the filter or the connecting parts.

Finally, purchase the correct type of fresh oil based on your mower’s specifications. Gather other necessary items like gloves, rags, and funnels to make the oil change process clean and straightforward.

Step-by-Step Guide to Changing the Oil

a man checking oil level of a mower

Changing the oil in a riding lawn mower may seem daunting, but following this structured process will make it pretty straightforward. This is a step-by-step guide on how to change oil in riding lawn mower:

Warming Up the Mower Engine

Start the mower and let it run for a few minutes. Warm oil flows more freely, ensuring you remove as many impurities as possible.

Locate the Drain Plug

The drain plug lets you release the old oil, usually beneath the mower engine. If you’re unsure of its location, consult your mower’s manual.

Place the Oil Pan

Position the oil pan underneath the drain plug. This will collect the old oil as it’s drained, preventing any messes.

Open the Drain Plug

Carefully remove the drain plug using the appropriate tool, allowing the old oil to flow into the pan.

Let the Oil Drain Completely

Wait for all the old oil to drain out. Gently tilting the mower (if it’s safe) improves your chances of removing as much as possible.

Replace the Drain Plug

Once the oil has drained, securely replace the drain plug. Ensure it’s tight to prevent any leaks.

Refilling with New Oil

  • Locate the oil fill cap on the mower engine.
  • Use a clean funnel to prevent any spills.
  • Slowly pour in the new synthetic or conventional oil, as your mower’s specifications recommend. Don’t overfill.
  • Periodically check the oil level using the dipstick to check that you’ve added the oil up to the recommended level.

Recheck for Any Leaks

Once you’ve added the clean oil, run the mower for a minute or two. This helps circulate the new oil and allows you to check for leaks.

Proper Disposal of Used Oil

Disposing of used oil is not just about tossing it into the trash. It’s crucial to keep the environment unharmed and comply with local regulations:

That said, transfer the old oil from the oil pan into a container with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure the container is clean and free from other substances.

Many auto shops and local waste disposal centers accept used oil for recycling. Some might even get it for free, understanding its environmental implications.

Note that pouring old oil into the ground, down a drain, or in water bodies harms the environment. Such practices contaminate water supplies and harm aquatic life.

Recycling used oil helps produce lubricants, thereby saving raw materials. It’s an eco-friendly choice that benefits both the environment and the economy.

Your Turn

Regular oil maintenance is vital for your riding lawn mower’s optimal performance and longevity. So, learning when and how to change the oil and ensuring responsible disposal of the used oil enables you to safeguard your machinery while contributing positively to the environment.

Remember, a well-maintained mower is the key to a beautifully manicured lawn. Take the time to care for your equipment; it will serve you efficiently for years.