How to Change your Small Engine Oil

Sliding Into an Oil Change
Lawn Mower Oil Cap

Just like your car or truck, your mower need an oil change every once in a while too. We recommend at least once a season, normally when you’re putting the old boy away for the winter.

Today we’re going to run through changing the oil in your walk behind mower. And when we’re done, you’ll be surprised at how easy it actually is.

So here we go…

Deciding when to change the oil is pretty simple: Oil is not black when it comes out of the bottle. It is not black when it goes into the engine and when it’s clean it has more of an amber color (kind of like honey). If you pull out the dipstick and the oil on the end resembles burnt coffee, it’s time to replace it. When in doubt; go ahead and replace it. It never hurts to be careful.

  • First, run the mower for a few minutes to heat up the oil. Warm oil flows quickly, making it easier to remove all of the old oil in a short amount of time.
  • Next, clean up any debris around the oil fill cap. We don’t need that stuff falling into the oil sump.
  • Remove the oil fill cap and set it somewhere clean.
  • You’ll want a good container to hold the used oil and a few rags to help clean up any spillage.
  • Some engines come with an oil drain port. Many do not. If you have a port, simply remove the plug. If not, then we’ll be draining the oil from the oil fill. Carefully tip the engine until the oil drains out.
  • Take a moment to inspect the old oil for signs of debris, specifically metal shavings. If you find those in your oil, it’s time to take it to a technician!
  • If your engine has an oil filter, now would be a good time to replace it. Remove the old filter, making sure to have a small container to catch any spill.
  • Lightly oil the seal on the new filter and tighten it up by hand. Remember, the tighter it is, the harder it may be to remove later.
  • Using the dip stick as a measuring tool, refill the engine with fresh oil. Most manufacturers recommend a good 30 weight oil, but your owners manual will remove any questions as to which (and how much) oil you should use.
  • Be kind to the environment: Dispose of your old oil at your local automotive mechanic or service station.

There you go.

Oil change completed and everything went just fine. No explosions, no hostages….the terrorists lose this one and your mower lives for another summer!

Good Job! Oil be seeing you! HA!



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Bill Brown

Bill is the head of content creation for the LawnMowerPros Blog and DIY section. He’s been in the Outdoor Power Equipment Industry for years and he’s still learning new things everyday. You can often find him creating featured articles, DIY guides, videos, graphics and much more.