Lawn Mower Oil Change

What We'll Cover

Lawn Mower Oil Change

What We'll Cover

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Tune-up Interval

A mower should be serviced at least once per season or every 50 hours of operation. At the very minimum the oil should be changed at the start of the season.

Tuning-up your mower doesn't have to be a chore, with some know how and a little preparation, you can have your mower serviced in under an hour. 

If your yard is challenging terrain, hilly, over an acre, dusty, then a second oil change mid way through the season will help protect the motor. Clean the air filter regularly, about every 25 hours, more often in very dry dusty conditions. 

 

When to Tune-up

This is a question I get a lot. I tell my customers service your mower at the start of the new season before the first cut. Mowers that overwinter can often have small issues that arise from being idle such as sticking wheels, cables etc.

 

If the storage area isn't heated, moisture can collect inside the engine. That's why I recommend a tune-up in the spring.

When Buying a Mower

Consider some of the features that will make your life easier when it comes to repairs and tune-ups. Features to look for are: large easy to read dipstick; large fuel filler opening; fuel shut off valve; quick release air filter cover; carburetor fuel bowl drain plug.

 

Knowing how to service and repair your own mower is a useful skill. Four stroke lawn mower engines are simple and most are designed thoughtfully, so that the home owner can DIY service.

 

 

 

Tune-up Includes

Change engine oil; change plug; clean/replace air filter; fuel filter (if fitted); drain carburetor bowl; inspect and sharpen blades or replace; inspect drive belt; lube all axles and controls.

 

 

Tools

Now I know this sounds like a lot of work, but really it isn't. Its also not technical, and no special tools needed. Like many tasks, its about the right knowledge and good preparation.

 

If you need to buy tools, I advise buying good quality kit, its a great investment that will pay for itself in no time. 

 

Tool List

This is the tool wish list, all are not strictly necessary except the first one: Wd40; socket set with plug sockets; selection of wrenches; selection of screwdrivers & torx drivers; pliers; inspection light; flat file; wire brush; oil catch; gloves; goggles; dust mask.

 

Tools


mower tools

Only basic tools are needed.

mower repair tools

Tools

only basic tools are needed.

Tune-up Parts

All engines will have a model code and date stamped. Briggs and Stratton stamp their codes into the metal valve cover at the front of the engine. Kohler have a tag and Honda have sticker on the body.

 

After you find these numbers, buying the tune-up kit on line is easy. Most mower engines are very common and so you won't have a problem getting a tune-up kit to match.

 

Tune-up kit includes: oil; plug; air filter; fuel filter (if fitted); new blade (optional). Check out part numbers with your engine maker.

 

Briggs and Stratton specification

Honda specification

Kohler specification

Kawasaki specification

 

 

Engine Code


Briggs engine code Kohler engine code Honda engine code Honda engine code location

The engine code is handy to have when ordering a tune-up kit.

Tune-up Kit


tune-up kit
Honda model number location Honda model number Kohler model number Briggs model number

Engine Code

The engine code is handy to have when ordering a tune-up kit.

Tune-up Kit


mower tune-up kit

Tune-up Guide

Your mower may not be the same as the demo model but that's not important, the process will be close to identical no matter what model you have.

 

There are many different makes of mower and many are fitted with the very reliable Briggs and Stratton single cylinder engine. Kohler and Honda are also quite popular engines.

 

​If you can, run your engine for a short time to warm the oil, this helps in the draining process. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles when working with gas and in a well ventilated area. 

 

Remember to disable your mower by removing the plug wire before starting work.

 

mower engine

Engine 

Briggs and Stratton, Kohler, Kawasaki, Honda.

All engines are easy to work on and get parts for.

Engine Type


mower engine

Briggs and Stratton, Kohler, Kawasaki, Honda. All engines are very alike and easy to work on.

Ignition 


1 Plug Wire


mower plug wire

Remove the plug wire and leave it off until your ready to start the engine later in process.

2 Gas Off


mower gas tap off mower gas line

Turn off the gas tap, if fitted.

Or pinch the gas line gently with a grips.

When turning your mower over, always turn the carburetor side up.

3 Change Plug


ride-on plug

My father would say, "a cross thread is a tight thread"....not good. To avoid this, thread the new plug in by hand before using the plug tool. 

Snug the plug down and give it a little tighten.... not too tight! don't fit the plug wire just yet.

4 Snug 


mower plug

Snug the plug down and give it a little tighten.. Not too tight! Don't fit the plug wire just yet.

Ignition


1 Wire

Remove the plug wire and leave it off until your ready to start the engine later in process.


mower plug wire
mower gas tap mower gas line

2 Off

Turn off the gas tap, if fitted.

Or pinch the gas line gently with a grips.

When turning your mower over, always turn the carburetor side up.

3 Plug

Remove and replace plug. Check that replacement plug is the same.

Thread in new plug by hand before using the plug tool.


mower plug
Mower plug

4 Snug

Snug the plug down and give it a little tighten.. Not too tight!

Don't fit the plug wire just yet.

Gas & Air


gas filter

5 Remove

Not all mowers will have a gas filter like this. 

Gas filters may be directional, and if so will have an arrow which points to the carburetor.

6 Replace

Some filters will be built into the gas line, these type filters can be cleaned and reused.


Ride-on gas filters
mower gas tank

7 Clean

Some gas tanks will have a filter mesh screen at the bottom.

You may have to remove the tank to clean, depending how bad it is.

8 Replace

Remove & replace the air filter.

Clean the air box being careful not to allow dirt into the carburetor.


mower air filter

Blade Sharpening


mower blade

9 Inspect

Check your blade for damage or excessive wear. If worn, replace.

A new blade will be easier on the mower and your lawn.

Bent

Never attempt to repair a bent blade, this will weaken the metal and can lead to injury.


mower blade
Mower blade

Balance

Removing Deck blades for sharpening and balancing is advised.

If however, the blades are in good condition, you can sharpen in place.

10 Flat

Sharpening your blade is done with a good quality flat metal file.

File the face of the blade to remove any small nicks. 


mower blade
mower blade sharpen

11 Bevel

Now we will file at the same angle as the bevel, some blades will have the bevel facing the other way.

12 Dress

Now dress the oposite side to remove the burrs. 

A sharp blade is the secret to a beautiful healthy lawn, and it extends the life of your mower.


mower blade

Belt Inspection


Mower belt

13 Check

Most mowers will have a belt to drive the mower. 

Check the condition the belt and the pulleys.

Flat Spot

These belts have a difficult job and can be the cause of various issues.

Regular inspection will tell you if your belt is at the end of its life.


mower belt
Mower belt

Blistering

Things to look for are flat-spotting, glazing, cracking and fraying.

Glazing

Worn or damaged belts cause slip, which in turn will cause vibration.

The vibration can if ignored go on to cause lots of other issues.


Mower belt
Mower belt cracked

Cracking

Better to take care of this now, waiting for it to break can cause other damage.

Lubrication


14 Drain

Drain the oil while the engine is still warm, this helps the draining process.


mower oil drain
add oil

15 Add

Add oil a little at a time, and check the level. Over filling is not good for the engine.

It will cause oil leaks, misfiring and lots of smoke.

Most small engine mowers will take a little over half a quart (.6lt) of 10w30 engine oil. Yes you can use car engine oil.

16 Check

Do not thread in dipsticks to check the level, just push in and remove to check.

The full level on this dipstick is at the top of the hatched area.


mower dip stick
Mower axle

17 Axle

All controls and levers will benefit from a spray of WD40.

Spray front & rear Axles also. Wd40 lubes and protects from rust. 

Gas & Air


5 Remove Gas Filter


mower gas filter

Gas filters are found on the gas line between the gas tank and the carburetor.

Not all mowers will have this type filter. Some filters are built into the gas tank.

6 Fit Gas Filter


gas filters

Gas filters may be directional, and if so will have an arrow which points to the carburetor. 

Some filters will be built into the gas line, these type filters can be cleaned and reused.

7 Clean Gas Tank


mower gas tank

Remove the fuel tank cap and check inside for dirt/grit, the outlet is very small and blocks easily. If your unsure of fuel quality, drain it completely.

Depending on the amount of grit in the tank (every tank has some) you may need to remove, to clean.

8 Replace


mower air filter

Remove & replace the air filter and pre-filter, clean out the housing and cover taking care not to allow dirt drop into carburetor.

Blades


9 Inspect


mower on its side

Check your blades for damage or excessive wear. If worn, replace.

A new blade will be easier on the mower and your lawn.

Bent


Damaged mower blade

Never attempt to repair a bent blade, this will weaken the metal and can lead to injury.

Balance


removing mower blades

Removing Deck blades for sharpening and balancing is advised.

If however, the blades are in good condition, you can sharpen in place.

10 File Flat


mower blade

Sharpening your blade is done with a good quality flat metal file.

Begin by dressing the face of the blade to remove any small nicks. 

11 File Bevel


riding mower blade

Now file at the same angle as the bevel, some blades will have the bevel facing the other way.

12 Dress the Blade


mower brake

Now dress the opposite side to remove the burrs. 

A sharp blade is the secret to a beautiful healthy lawn, and it extends the life of your mower.

Belts


13 Check


mower belt

Most mowers will have a belt to drive the mower. 

Check the condition the belt and the pulleys.

Glazed


riding mower belt

Things to look for are Blistering, glazing, cracking and fraying.

Cracked


mower belt

Better to take care of this now, waiting for it to break can cause other damage.

Frayed


mower belt

These belts have a difficult job and can be the cause of various issues.

Regular inspection will tell you if your belt is at the end of its life.

Blistered


mower belt

Worn or damaged belts cause slip, which in turn will cause vibration.

The vibration can if ignored go on to cause lots of other issues.

Lubrication


14 Drain Oil


mower drain oil

Drain the oil while the engine is still warm, this helps the draining process.

15 Add Oil


mower add oil

Add oil a little at a time, and check the level. Over filling is not good for the engine.

It will cause oil leaks, misfiring and lots of smoke. 

Most small engine mowers will take a little over half a quart (.6lt) of 10w30 engine oil. Yes you can use car engine oil.

16 Check Oil


mower dip oil

Do not thread in dipsticks to check the level, just push in and remove to check.

17 Axle


mower oil

All controls and levers will benefit from a spray of WD40.

Spray fron and rear axles, wd 40 lubes and protects against rust.

Tractor Mower


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You can fix that mower today!