Warmer weather is just around the corner, folks. It may seem like an eternity from now, but it’s never too late to start planning ahead. We’re talking, of course, about lawn mowers and what you’ll do when your grass is ready to be cut.
If it’s your first time ever needing to worry about the condition of a lawn mower (don’t worry, you certainly aren’t alone in these parts), then you need to consider some important things regarding your grass cutting machine. Are you checking for rust build-up? Do you have the right kind of oil for your lawn mower?
Do you even know what kind of oil your machine takes?
If not, read on!
Why Do Lawn Mowers Need Oil?
Because they can’t work without it!
All joking aside, there are some lawn mowers that are built to use gas and oil. You won’t find this with electric or battery powered mowers, but that’s not what we’re talking about today. We are talking about the mowers that require oil in order to fire up and cut grass; also known as the gas-powered grass-cutters.
Gas-powered lawn mowers operate off of either a 2-stroke system or a 4-stroke. The difference in these systems lies on how much oil is used and how strong that oil is in order for the machine to complete its “strokes” (or cycles, rather). Basically, oil is not an option when it comes to owning one of these machines.
If you aren’t sure if your mower needs oil, check the instruction booklet that came with your mower.
Oil And Weather
Yes, oil works differently depending on the current weather. Your favorite brand may be a lifesaver during the Winter, but is as useful as a dead racoon during the summer. You have to be careful of what you pick and when you pick it!
You can usually tell how effective oil is on the back of the bottle. There is normally somewhere in the warning that informs you of when the best time to use the oil is. If not, check on the internet and hire an experienced contractor!
Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a lawn mower that’s clogged up because the viscosity of the winter-time oil wasn’t thin enough to work for summer.
Nobody wants that!
Types Of Oil
SAE 30 – The most common (and popular!) kind of oil for lawn mowers. This type of oil is best used for small engines during warm weather. Works exceptionally well with 4-stroke engines.
SAE 5W-30 – For colder temperatures, this oil will get you the results you want. It works just as well with 4-stroke engines as it does 2-stroke. Just don’t use it in warmer weather; stick to the alternatives.
SAE 10W-30 – While this oil is best used for colder weather, it’s description says it can be used in warmer temperatures depending on the heat. Don’t use it in scorching weather because it will waste away faster than you’d like. The viscosity can only bear so much heat!
Vanguard 15W-50 – This oil is interesting to use, as it can be used year-round. However, this oil isn’t great to use for lawn mowing. It’s best to use it for pressure washing or lawn edging.
Synthetic SAE 5W-30 – Our recommended pick for any push-mower! Not only does it fix the problems in the normal SAE 5W-30, but it can be used year long thanks to the synthetic chemicals. It also lasts a while, so you don’t need to keep refilling the oil after every job!
So What About Motor Oil?
You can use motor oil for your lawn mower, but it’s not recommended. The reason for this is because motor oil is meant to be used for cars; not mowers. When you use motor oil in your lawn mower, you risk clogging up the entire system due to the viscosity of the oil.
Now if you’re using a lawn tractor as opposed to just a simple push-mower, then you’re in luck. Motor oil will work just fine for lawn tractors because they operate similarly to cars. The best way to remember the difference is motor oil is for cars, small engine oil is for mowers.
As you can see, there’s a couple types of oil that you can use for your lawn mower. Depending on the weather (spoiler alert, it’s gonna be warm before too long), then you’ll need to use oil that is suited for such. Some oil is perfect for year long use, but they may be more expensive than some other types of oil.
Also beware of motor oil, as it can clog up your entire system. So long as you use the recommended types of oil that we’ve mentioned here, you’ll be okay. You can take our word for it!
Sarah Eberle qualified and became a member of the Landscape Institute in 1980. Over the last 26 years she has practised landscape architecture and garden design, running her own business in Devon.
During the 1990s, Sarah joined Hillier Landscapes as Design Director, where she is still a shareholder but also runs her own practice in Hampshire.
Sarah has an esteemed record in RHS shows, having won eight Gold medals, Best in Show and the George Cook award for innovation twice at Hampton Court. Sarah has also exhibited at Tatton Park and BBC Gardeners’ World Live.