Draining Oil from a Lawn Mower: Step-By-Step

by Jack Grover
person sitting beside mower in grass field
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Changing oil from a lawn mower is an essential task that ensures its longevity and peak performance.

Fortunately, it isn’t rocket science. Following a step-by-step process, you can easily complete this crucial maintenance job.

In this article, we will guide you through the process in a precise and detailed manner.

When performing any maintenance task, preparation and safety are key, so we will start by outlining the necessary precautions.

Then, we will discuss the tools and supplies you’ll need for the job.

Once you’re prepared, we’ll walk you through dumping the old oil safely into an oil pan.

If your mower has an oil filter, we’ll explain how to replace it with a new one.

Finally, we’ll cover refilling the oil tank with the correct amount of fresh oil and checking the level using a dipstick.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Preparation and Safety

Changing the oil in your lawn mower requires preparation and safety precautions.

To get started, gather the necessary tools and supplies. Here’s a list:

  1. Engine oil: Check your owner’s manual for the recommended type and amount of oil for your specific lawn mower model.
  2. Drain pan: Choose one large enough to hold all the oil from your mower.
  3. Socket wrench set or Allen wrench set: These tools will be needed to remove the drain plug or other fasteners on your mower.
  4. Plastic funnel: It will help you pour new oil into the engine without making a mess.
  5. Rubber gloves: Wear these to protect your hands from any potential spills or contact with the oil.
  6. Cardboard: Place this under your mower to catch any drips or spills during the process.

Having all these tools and supplies ready before draining the oil will make the process smoother.

Remember, safety is a priority when working with machinery. Wear protective gear and follow the proper procedures outlined in your owner’s manual.

After gathering the tools, start by warming up the engine for a few minutes. It allows the oil to flow more easily when it comes time to drain it.

Next, locate the spark plug boot and unplug it to prevent any accidental starts while you’re working.

By taking the time to prepare and follow safety guidelines, you can complete this maintenance task with confidence.

Step 2: Dumping the Old Oil

To ensure a successful oil change, follow these simple steps.

First, locate the oil drain plug or hose — check your owner’s manual if you’re unsure. Be sure to clean the area before proceeding.

Next, place an oil pan beneath the drain plug or hose to catch the old oil as it drains out. It will help prevent mess and make cleanup easier.

Using either a socket wrench set or an Allen wrench set, remove the drain plug by turning it counterclockwise. If your lawn mower has a drain hose instead of a plug, simply loosen the clamp that secures it in place.

  • If you have a push mower without a drain plug, carefully tip it onto its side so the oil drains into the pan. Set the pan up correctly to catch all of the drained oil.
  • If you have a riding mower or zero-turn mower, you’ll need an oil filter wrench to remove the old filter during the draining process. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions.

Allow all of the oil to drain out. It may take a few minutes, depending on how much oil is left in your lawn mower.

Once the old oil is drained out, securely replace any plugs or hoses that were removed. Avoid cross-threading them as you tighten them back into place.

Finally, dispose of the old oil properly.

Step 3: Replacing the Oil Filter (If Applicable)

Replacing the oil filter is a crucial part of maintaining your lawn mower’s engine. It helps remove dirt, debris, and contaminants from the oil, ensuring that only clean and efficient oil circulates through the system.

Before you begin, ensure you have everything you need: a catch pan, an oil filter wrench, and the appropriate filter for your lawn mower model.

  1. Locate the old oil filter, usually near the engine block or on the side of the engine. Position your catch pan beneath it to collect any spilled oil. Use an adjustable filter wrench to loosen and unscrew the old filter counterclockwise.
  2. Once you’ve removed the old filter, inspect it for any signs of damage or excessive wear. It could indicate potential issues with your engine and may require further attention or maintenance.
  3. Before installing the new filter, apply a thin layer of fresh motor oil around its rubber gasket using your finger or a clean cloth. It will ensure proper sealing when you screw it back into place.
  4. Carefully thread the new filter into place by hand until it is snug against the mounting surface. Avoid over-tightening, as it can damage both the filter and the engine block.
  5. Wipe away any excess spilled oil around the area using a rag or paper towel. Double-check that both the drain plug and new filter are installed correctly before refilling with fresh motor oil.

Step 4: Refilling the Oil Tank

The final step is to refill the oil tank. Here’s how to do it right:

  1. Prepare the correct amount and type of oil. Check the user manual for the recommended oil type and quantity.
  2. Locate the oil fill area. It’s usually marked with a cap or dipstick labeled ‘oil.’
  3. Clean the area before you begin to prevent dirt and debris from entering the engine.
  4. Using a plastic funnel, slowly pour in the oil. Don’t overfill it, as this can also lead to serious engine damage.
  5. After you’ve added some oil, insert and remove the dipstick or use any other method specified in the manual to check the oil level. If necessary, add more oil gradually until you reach the recommended level.
  6. Securely replace and tighten the cap or dipstick.

Final Thoughts

Draining oil from a lawn mower is a vital maintenance task that should be performed regularly to ensure the machine’s longevity.

Following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can successfully complete an oil change with precision and attention to detail.

Remember to take necessary safety precautions and use the appropriate tools and supplies. 

Properly disposing of old oil and replacing the oil filter, if applicable, are also crucial steps in maintaining the mower’s performance.

Finally, refill the oil tank with the correct amount of oil and check the level using a dipstick for optimal results.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I change the oil filter?

You should change the oil filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Typically, it is recommended to change the oil filter every 25-50 hours of operation or annually, along with regular oil changes.

Can I use any type of engine oil for my lawn mower?

It’s best to refer to the mower’s owner’s manual for the specific type and viscosity of oil recommended for optimal engine performance and longevity.

Is it necessary to warm up the engine before draining the oil?

Yes, it is. It helps the oil flow better and ensures you remove as much old oil as possible during the oil change process.

What should I do if I accidentally overfill the oil in my lawn mower?

If you accidentally overfill the oil, you should remove the excess oil immediately. You can do this using the drain plug or valve port or draining a small amount through the oil filter.

How can I prevent oil from entering the carburetor or air filter when tipping the lawn mower to drain the oil?

To prevent oil from entering the carburetor and air filter when tipping the lawn mower, ensure they are positioned on the high side. It will help keep the oil from flowing into these components.

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