Can You Use Car Oil In A Lawn Mower – [With Oil Changing Guide]

The short answer is yes, you can. But before you go down that road, you should be aware of lots of other facts including the ramification of using car oil. It’s never a safe option.

Lawn mower oil is something you need to get right to keep your mower working years after years. That also includes changing it in a timely order to keep it functioning.

That’s the basic requirement for all motor engine. You need to change the oil at regular intervals. But can you use car oil in a lawn mower? Even if it’s some sort of emergency?

In this article, I will talk all about lawnmower oil that you need to know including a step by step guide on oil changing a mower.

What Type Of Oil For Lawn Mower?

Can You Use Car Oil In A Lawn Mower

Oil maintenance is not fun at all, but you must do it nonetheless to keep the mower functioning. And you should only be using whatever the manufacturer of your mower recommended.

You should change the oil before the beginning of every other mowing season and you should only use the high-quality oil. But the best oil for your mower will be the one whatever the manual of your mower says.

The manual of your mower should clearly mention the type of oil for lawn mower and oil grade. If you lost the manual, you should be able to get it online from the website of the manufacturer.

However, if you want to learn more about oil for lawn mowers apart from the recommendation of the manual, you need to consider some factors first that make a good oil grade:

  1. Viscosity

Oil viscosity is an important consideration factor that indicates the level of lubrication within the mower engine. Depending on the weather, there are 2 viscosities for lawnmowers.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has graded oil for various motor engines. SAE 30 is mostly recommended for lawnmowers.

If it’s a cool-season, SAE 10W-30 is recommended for your lawnmowers. If its hot weather, SAE 30 is recommended. Apart from lawn mowers, you can apply the SAE 30 for engines of chainsaws and tractors too.

So, what’s the difference between the two types of oil for lawn mowers?

Well, SAE 30 is a single grade oil for hot weather and suitable for smaller engines used in lawnmowers. The hose uses air to cool it while operating.

On the other hand, SAE 10W-30 (the ‘W’ here indicates Winter) is also a single grade oil and can be used only when the engines are able to use it even if the temperature is very low.

  1. Two Stroke Engine

Sometimes, the mower may have a 2-stroke engine (again, check the manual if you are not sure about yours), and in such case, you will have to use oil for 2-stroke kind.

Now, can you use car oil in a lawn mower that has a two-stroke engine?


It will quickly destroy the 2-stroke engine of your lawnmower. You should only use oils tested by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Any oil that has labels of SG, SH, SF, or SJ – is recommended for such 2-stroke engines.

  1. Oils With Additives

Don’t get confused about seeing lots of oil with lucrative additives in your local automotive store. These are suitable only for the large engines not for small engines of lawnmowers. However, you can go for the gas additive if the oil contains ethanol.

Lawn Mower Oil Demystified

Now that you know the right type of oil for lawn mowers, you can determine whether you should use car oil or not. Forget about car oil, can you use synthetic oils for your mower?

The answer is yes. Using synthetic oil is just fine for your lawnmower as the offer you a better starting mechanism and the consumption rate is acceptable.

Of course, recommended oil from brands for lawnmowers is costly and under various circumstances, you may find it hard to find them. So, if you are forced to use any car oil for your mower, go for the oil that is 10W-40 or 10W-30.

The user’s manual is the only true source of information determining the oil grade. It often comes with exactly when you should change your oil and how. For a long-lasting and functioning mower engine, always stick whatever the manual says.

Step By Step Guide To Change Oil For The Lawn Mower

oil for lawn mower

The oil change is a basic maintenance job and everyone should be comfortable doing so. It’s not rocket science. Follow the steps to change your oil successfully:

  1. Enable the parking mode of your lawnmower first.
  2. Disconnect the spark plug.
  3. Empty the fuel tank completely. If it’s a push power, tilt it to the right side and empty the tank. Use the oil drain valve to empty the oil if it’s a riding mower.
  4. You can use a funnel to drain the remaining oil from your push mower. But for the riding mower, place a bowl under the oil drain valve and start draining.
  5. Fill the tank with new oil recommended by the manufacturer of your mower.
  6. Reconnect the spark plug and you are good to go!


Is it OK to put 10w30 oil in a lawn mower?

Answer: Yes, if you are mowing in the winter season. The SAE 10w30 oil is specifically recommended for your lawnmower and you should use it if you mow in cold weather.

Can I use 5w30 motor oil in a lawn mower?

Answer: Of course you can. In fact, if the engine of your mower is from Briggs & Stratton, you are welcome to use it!

Is SAE 30 the same as 10w30?

Answer: No. These are two different viscosities. For mowing in warm weather, SAE 30 is recommended. For mowing in cool weather, SAE 10W30 is recommended.

Is it OK to put 10w30 oil in a lawn mower?

Answer: Sure! But try to use only the oil that is recommended in the user’s manual of your mower to stay safe. You don’t follow it, they won’t honor the warranty – it’s the bitter truth!

Is synthetic oil better for lawn mower?

Answer: Yes, if I am technically speaking. But don’t use it if your manual does not recommend it.


Various brands offer various lawnmower oil types. If you want your lawnmower to last longer functioning properly, you should not use any generic car oil. Always stick to the oil recommended by the manual of your mower.

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