Can I Use Care Oil In My Lawn Mower? Mystery Solved!!!

If you have a lawn, you almost certainly own a lawn mower. Keeping up with routine maintenance on your lawn mower is essential if you want it to last as long as possible. And that is where engine oil comes in. Every engine needs oil to keep it running smoothly. Different engines, however, require different types of engine oil. But, can you use car oil in a lawn mower? Keep reading to find out!

can you use car oil in a lawn mower

Photo Credit Whether or not motor oil can be used in a lawnmower depends on the type of oil and the type of mower.

Have you noticed that the oil in your mower needs to be changed? If this is the case, you may be curious whether or not it is possible to use car oil in the lawn mower. You may have heard that you can use the same oil in your car and lawn mower. Is it true, though? 

Well, this is correct to a certain extent, presuming that you put good-quality engine oil in your vehicle and you have a lawn mower that can run on car engine oil.

As a first step, check your mower’s manual to see what kind of oil the engine requires. The old mower models with two-stroke engines require special engine oils. However, if your mower has a modern four-stroke engine, you might be able to use motor oil. For instance, a  four-stroke mower engine can run on SAE-30 or 10W-30 oil.

That said, there is much more to lawn mowers and engine oils.

Continue reading to find out!

Four-Stroke Vs. Two-Stroke Lawn Mower Engines

Four-Stroke Vs. Two-Stroke Lawn Mower Engines

Photo Credit You shouldn’t put motor oil in a two-stroke lawn mower since it will slow the engine down.

The engine type in your mower machine is an important consideration when deciding whether or not you can use car engine oil. The power stroke of a four-stroke engine is better lubricated.

However, these engines should only be used when specifically recommended by the manufacturer. Engine oil for cars can also be used in four-stroke lawn mower engines. On the other hand, two-stroke engines are standard in smaller, less expensive lawn mowers. These engines run on low-quality oil that has anti-wear additives.

Four-Stroke Engine Oil Types

Similar to automobiles, modern lawn mowers have four-cycle or four-stroke engines that keep oil and gasoline in separate tanks. Four-stroke motor oils can be categorized as either conventional or synthetic. Synthetic oils often do not include any petroleum at all, in contrast to traditional oils, which are primarily derived from crude petroleum. 

Both groups (synthetic and conventional engine oils) include SAE grades, or viscosity ranges from SG up to SH, as certified by the American Petroleum Institute. 

Four-stroke engines are distinct from two-stroke engines in that they have four distinct strokes: an intake stroke, a compression stroke, a combustion stroke, and an exhaust stroke. During the intake stroke, gas is sucked into the cylinder, and during the compression stroke, the gas is compressed (exhaust exits). 

The power strokes are the parts of the engine cycle where all the work gets done.

Two-Stroke Engine Oil Types

Two-stroke lawn mowers are not as prevalent as they once were since they have been superseded mainly by four-stroke lawn mowers, which are more efficient, cleaner, and quieter. If, however, you have a mower that operates on two cylinders instead of four, you must not put the same oil in it that you use in your car.

Doing so can lead to insufficient lubrication, an early carbon buildup, and a reduction in performance. Two-stroke engines combine the gasoline and the oil during the combustion process, in contrast to four-stroke engines, which have separate compartments for the gas and the oil.

These engines require a special type of oil called two-cycle oil, which often includes pollution-fighting compounds to minimize its environmental impact. 

So, if you want to get the most and best out of your two-stroke engine, you need to make sure you’re feeding it clean, high-quality fuel.

Related: How To Start A Lawn Mower With Old Gas? Easy Tips & Tricks From The Experts

Car Vs. Lawn Mower Engine Oil

Car Vs. Lawn Mower Engine Oil - can you use car oil in a lawn mower

Photo Credit When using car oil in a lawn mower, be sure you have the proper type.

Automobile manufacturers strongly recommend that their customers only use high-quality premium oil, which may include synthetic oil for use in lower temperatures. 10W-30 oil is recommended for locations with somewhat higher temperatures. You can find more information about various engine oil types in the paragraphs below. 

For now, let’s discuss:  Car Vs. Lawn Mower Engine Oil

Car Engine Oil

Lubricating, cleaning, cooling, and reducing friction are just a few of the many functions of car oil. The oil goes through an oil filter, which gets rid of dirt, burned-on stuff, and other junk. Over time, oil in every vehicle will degrade and require replacement. 

In the beginning, motor oil was simply oil with a few other components. Its sole purpose was to keep the engine running smoothly. But the oil produced today is far more refined. Seventy-five to ninety percent of conventional motor oil is still derived from oil. 

Additives make up the remaining 10-30% of motor oil and provide a variety of functions, including those of detergents, friction modifiers, and corrosion inhibitors.

Lawn Mower Engine Oil

The oil used in lawn mowers is not different from that used in cars. However, even though lawn mowers and other small engines use the same type of oil as automobiles do, it is important for owners to double verify the product guidelines since lawn mower engines are susceptible to different additives and alternatives. 

Many smaller engines, such as those found in push lawn mowers and string trimmers, demand engine oil that has been formulated to work mainly with that engine. To give just one example, the motors of ECHO brand small appliances must be lubricated with their special oil. 

When you want to use oil from your automobile in your lawn mower, the most essential thing you can do is check to ensure you have the right oil. Since there are many classes of car motor oils, and these grades might change depending on the manufacturer, it is crucial to follow the manual that is particular to your vehicle’s make and model.

Related: Worst Lawn Mower Brands To Avoid (and What To Buy Instead)

Car Oil Vs. 4-Stroke & 2-Stroke Mower Engine Oil

Car Oil Vs. 4-Stroke & 2-Stroke Mower Engine Oil - can you use car oil in a lawn mower

Photo Credit The upkeep and maintenance of a lawn mower are more complex than most people realize.

Is it OK to use car oil in a lawn mower with a four-stroke engine? A four-stroke engine powers most newly manufactured mowers. Even if you have an old mower, if it has an oil reservoir, it has a four-stroke engine. And, the oils for cars can be used in these engines. For example, oil with an SAE grade of 30 or 10W-30.

Can you use car oil in a mower with a two-stroke engine? No, you cannot. Ash will accumulate on the spark plug if you do. Also, the combustion chamber will develop a residue buildup over time. A two-stroke engine cannot function properly with the additives found in most motor oils. So, don’t even think about using it!

It is helpful to understand the distinctions between the lubricants used in 2-stroke and 4-stroke lawn mowers, as well as those used in cars.

 Car OilFour-Stroke OilTwo-Stroke Oil
AdditivesIt contains a number of different additives.More additives than two-stroke oil, but not the same as most motor oils.It does not have the same additives as regular motor oil does.
MotorOil does not function properly when the machine is turned on its side or is down.Oil will not function if the engine is turned on its side or in an upside-down position.The motor can run on its side or upside down, and the oil will continue to function.
TemperatureDesigned to run between 180 to 200 F.Made to function in hotter conditions than a car but cooler than a two-stroke engine.They are designed to run between 280 to 300 F.
Where?It has an oil reservoir, and the oil—not the fuel—is the part that is added to it.It contains an oil reservoir, and the oil, not the gasoline, is supposed to go there.The fuel and the oil are mixed.
Zinc ContentContains a very minute quantity of Zinc.Contains Zinc at higher concentrations for its anti-wear and antioxidant qualities.Zinc, an antioxidant and an anti-wear ingredient is present in even more significant concentrations.

What Kind of Oil Can Be Used In A Lawn Mower?

can you use car oil in a lawn mower

Photo Credit SAE 30 motor oil is typically suggested for lawn mower engines, but each brand may differ.

When purchasing lawn mower oil, the climate in your region is an important consideration that you should take into account. However, you should also pay attention to the advice given to you by your mower’s manufacturer regarding the type of oil that should be used in it.

The kind of oil that you put into your lawn mower will have a big impact not just on how long it will last but also on the level of performance that it will deliver for you. The market is flooded with oil options, but you should only invest in the best.

Here are a few suggestions:

Synthetic SAE 5W30

Most experts agree that synthetic lawn mower oil is the most effective lubricant. Synthetic oil will continue to perform well regardless of the temperature. Most synthetic SAE 5W30 oils are created with a focus on reducing oil consumption. As an added bonus, it shields the mower’s metal components from the elements and reduces wear and tear.

SAE 5W30

If you reside in an area that experiences extremely low temperatures, you will require oil that has been explicitly formulated to withstand the effects of low-temperature weather. In such situations, an excellent option to go with is SAE 5W-30.

SAE 10W30

This high-viscosity oil has been developed specifically for use in low temperatures. So, if you reside in cooler places, choose this. But keep in mind that colder temperatures may increase your lawn mower’s overall oil use.

SAE 30

Most small engines, such as those used in lawn mowers, call for this specific kind of oil to be used. You can buy it literally in any gardening store.

Related: Do Brand New Lawn Mower Blades Need To Be Sharpened? A Beginner’s Guide

How To Change Your Lawn Mower’s Engine Oil?

How To Change Your Lawn Mower's Engine Oil?

Photo Credit New mower engine oil should be changed after five hours of use.

Now you know that you can use high-quality engine oil in your lawn mower, provided that the manufacturer has not specifically excluded it. Next, let’s go over some things to remember when refilling the engine oil in your lawn mower.

Here is how to change the engine oil in your lawn mower correctly:

  • First, you’ll need to remove all of the fuel from the fuel tank of your lawn mower.
  • Next, cut the wire connected to the spark plug (recommended safety measure).
  • Check to see if the mower you’re using has a plug for the oil drain. Oil drain plugs can be easily unscrewed to release the engine oil into a pan or receptacle.
  • If your mower does not have an oil drain plug, you can remove all of the oil by tipping it on its side, making sure the carburetor is facing upwards, and then draining it through the dipstick hole, which is the same hole that you use to add oil. For this, you’re going to want to make sure you have a long funnel that’s also flexible.
  • Put your lawnmower back on its wheels, right side up, and fill it with fresh, filtered oil.

Final Thoughts

The best oil you can get your hands on for a lawn mower engine is the standard quality oil used in automobiles and other vehicles. However, “Can you put automobile oil in a lawn mower?” is a question whose response varies from mower to mower.

Motor oil is not suitable for two-stroke engines but is perfectly good for four-stroke engines. You can put motor oil in your four-stroke mower if it is a high-quality oil such as SAE 30 or 10W-30 oil.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the difference between car oil and lawn mower oil?

Lawn mower oil and car oil are comparable but not the same. Oils for lawn mowers have different ingredients than oils for automobiles. Lawn mowers also run at higher temperatures than liquid-cooled automobile engines. Therefore, they require engine oils that have heat-shock additives. However, these engines, like cars, store gas and oil separately.

Can I use 5W30 oil in the lawn mower?

The correct engine oil viscosity is based on ambient temperatures. 5W30 Synthetic oil is a good choice for most outdoor motor equipment engines, including lawn mowers. This ensures the engine is adequately lubricated across the broadest temperature spectrum. Also, the adaptability of 5W30 synthetic oil is greater than that of other grades.

Can I use 10W30 car oil in my lawn mower?

10W30 is a typical motor oil grade that is suitable for many different types of lawn mowers. Your owner’s manual specifies the precise grade needed, although 10W30 is typically the best option for four-stroke engines. The 10W30 will make it slightly simpler to start the engine when it’s hot and cold outside.

Can you put synthetic car oil in a lawn mower?

Yes, synthetic oil can be used in a lawn mower. Plus, you won’t have to change it as often because it lasts longer than mineral oil. However, the initial purchase price of synthetic oils is higher, which is one of the primary drawbacks of using synthetic lubricants.

What is the best oil to use in a lawn mower?

Oil with a grade of SAE-30 is typically a safe decision; nonetheless, it is important to double check this information because a lawn mower is not a cheap purchase.

Most outdoor power equipment engines run smoothly with 5W30 synthetic oil. Some people think that since lawn mowers don’t have an oil filter, non-detergent oil is best for them.

Sources for Further Reading

Lawn Mower Care and Safety – Gardening Solutions – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (2022). Retrieved 21 September 2022, from https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/tools-and-equipment/lawn-mower-care-and-safety.html

Turning Over a New Leaf: Leaf Blowers and Lawn Mowers. (2018). Retrieved 21 September 2022, from https://sustainability.wustl.edu/rethinking-lawn-equipment/

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