Check engine oil level

This video walks you through the process step by step, including: checking your oil level, adding oil and removing excessive oil.

Over View

You’ll find useful resources on this page, tips, links to tools, parts and supplies required to complete your repair. Engine oil for any engine is important, the quality and the quantity.

Oil is critical because it cools and lubricates the internal components, less oil means higher internal temperatures and when the temperatures get too high, the components fuse together, this is known as seizing and for an engine that’s as bad as the story gets.

But too much oil is bad too, most mower engines use a splash method of coating the internal components. A paddle strikes the surface of the oil and splashes it about. If the oil is too full, the paddle no longer splashes as it’s submerged in oil. To make matters worse, the submerged paddle aerates the oil which reducing its effectiveness.

It’s easy to overfill oil level, most mower engines only take (from empty) .65 quart 9.6 lt). Common symptoms of too much oil include: oil leaks; no starts; white smoke; stiff pull cord.

Briggs & Stratton – Most models take from empty .65 US quarts (.6 lts) 5W30 engine oil.

Honda engines – Most take from empty .58 US quarts (.55 lts) of 10W30 engine oil.

Kawasaki engines – Most take from empty .6 US quarts (.6 lts) 10W30 engine oil.

Kohler engines – Most take from empty .6 US quarts (.6 lts) 10W30 engine oil.

For exact specs see:

Briggs & Stratton spec

Honda spec

Kawasaki spec

Kohler spec

Before working on your mower be sure to remove the plug wire to prevent accidental starting, see “Repair Safety Video”.

Tools & Parts

To nail this procedure you may need the following tools, parts and supplies.


Briggs & Stratton engine oil

Briggs & Stratton oil SAE30 suitable for most Briggs & Stratton walk behind mower engines. One container is plenty for an oil change (walk behind mowers). Picture links to Amazon.com

Honda engine oil

Genuine Honda 10W30 motor oil, specially formulated for for Honda engines. Picture links to Amazon.com

Gas & Oil Syphon

You'll find this tool really useful if you need to drain the gas tank, and you will if the gas is stale. The siphon will remove it without fuss or mess and it can be used for extracting the oil too. Picture links to Amazon.com

WD40

This is the first tool on the list for good reason, Wd solves a ton of problems. I won't work without it, because I can't. Picture links to Amazon.com

Ratchet Tool Set

Before we can do anything, we'll need tools. I've selected this set as I own some Craftsman tools and while I have worn some out, they did do a lot of work. So I expect this set will last the occasional user quite a long time.

This set carries both metric and standard sockets and that's important, because some mowers will have both type of fastener sizes. Set includes spark plug sockets. Picture links to Amazon.com


Gas Stabilizer

Mix this with the gas when winterizing your small engine. Gas isn't what it used to be, it goes stale, in some cases after just one month. Bad gas causes gumming and that's a carburetor killer. Stabilizer will save you money and stress in the long run. Picture links to Amazon.com

Gas Can

Briggs and Stratton refuel can. These guys got it right, I like it a lot, it offers press button control, no fuss no mess and no funnel required. Picture links to Amazon.com

Drill/Screw Gun

I use a Dewalt screw gun (also a drill) in the workshop to speed up the process of removing engine covers, carburetor bolts, Armature bolts etc. It's a brushless motor and as tough as nails, I driven over it a few times - still works great! Batteries are interchangeable and so if you have a Dewalt product already you won't need the battery. Picture links to Amazon.com
Auto Technician and Writer at | Website

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Lawnmowerfixed.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty years, I use my knowledge and experience to write "How to" articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of mechanical repairs, from lawn mowers to classic cars.