Can You Use Car Oil in a Lawn Mower

Can You Use Car Oil in a Lawn Mower?

Oil is essential for a lawn mover to function properly. In order to keep your oil in good shape, you must change it. Many people wonder if there is a special type of oil made specifically for lawn mowers or can you use car oil in a lawn mower?

In this article I’ll cover some of the basics of changing lawn mower oil. I’ll also answer the question that likely brought you here regarding car oil in lawn mowers.

Although it may not be the most fun task, oil maintenance should be performed regularly. In the long run this will save you money and avoid a malfunction in your lawn mower. Likewise, changing the oil in your lawn mower is not a difficult task if you know what to do.

Step one in making sure that your oil is doing the most for your lawn mower is making sure that you have the correct type of oil.

What Type of Oil do I use in my Lawn Mower?

The short answer is yes, you can sometimes use the same oil that you use in your car in your lawn mower.

But before you go forward there are a few things to know first.

Lawn Mower Oil Quality

Lawn mowers generally require a higher-priced oil. A great type of oil to use in your lawn mower is SAE 30 motor oil. Although SAE 30 will generally do the job, we recommend looking at your lawn mowers owner’s manual. It’s important to find the exact oil that will keep your lawn mower running all year long.

I always recommend using the recommended oil for best results and to make your mower last.

Always remember when thinking about the oil that you will put into your lawn mower: lawn mowers need higher quality oil. It should be at least SAE 30 to run well.

Your car can handle a lower quality oil and still be fine. So really, whether you can use car oil in your mower is determined by what you put into your car.

If you don’t buy a high-quality oil for your car, I recommend using a different oil for your lawn mower.

When should I change the oil in my lawn mower?

It may come as a surprise to many lawn mower owners, but you should change the oil in your lawn mower about as often as you change the oil in your car.

This is especially true for those who live in drier, dustier climates where particles could easily get into your oil.

Lawn Mower Car Oil

My Recommendation

I recommend changing the oil in your lawn mower every other mowing season (minimum). It’s generally worth the time and money to change the oil at the beginning of each year.

Of course this is general advice. This could vary based on how often you mow your lawn, the type of mower you have (and how old it is), etc.

If you see smoke when you’re running your mower it’s time to change the oil. If you check the dipstick and it’s dark black and dirty, it’s time to change the oil.

Related: How to Start a Lawn Mower that Has Been Sitting

How do I Change the Oil in my Lawn Mower?

After checking your user manual (if you don’t have it handy, you can usually look it up online) to find out what kind of oil your lawn mower should have and how often you should change the oil in your lawn mower, you are probably wondering, “How do I change the oil in my lawn mower?”

Here are the steps you should take to change the oil in your lawn mower properly.

Steps to Change Lawn Mower Oil

  1. Empty all of the gasoline from your lawn mower’s fuel tank (optional).
  2. Disconnect the Spark plug wire (recommended safety measure).
  3. Look to see if your mower has an oil drain plug.
  4. If your mower has an oil drain plug, open it to drain out the oil into a pan or container.
  5. If your mower does not has an oil drain plug, tilt your lawn mower on its side, ensuring the carburetor is on the raised side, and drain out all of the oil from the dipstick hole where you typically add oil. I recommend having a long or flexible funnel for this so you don’t spill.
  6. Tilt your lawn mower upright and add new, clean oil to your lawn mower.

Why Buy Specialty Lawn Mower Oil for Your Mower?

One advantage to buying specialty lawn mower oil online or at a hardware or big box store is that the containers are smaller and they are generally sized appropriately so that you’ll add the correct amount of oil and won’t overfill the oil tank of your mower.


Sarah’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *