Like most engine-powered vehicles, lawn mowers need gas in order to run properly. However, lawn mower engines and car engines work a little differently. Keep scrolling to find out my answer to the question, do lawn mowers take regular gas?
Lawn mowers can run on the regular unleaded gas you get at the pump, but to perform at their best, you should choose an ethanol-free gas that is stable and won’t be as harsh on your mower’s internal parts.
If you use the wrong type of gas, it could damage the mower and potentially make it dangerous to use.
Quick Facts About Mower Fuel
- Most lawn mowers use regular unleaded gas that has 10% ethanol or less and a minimum octane rating of 87.
- Some mowers can also run well on premium gas, and still others require a mix of regular gas and engine oil.
- It’s always best to double check what type of engine your mower has to make sure you’re using the correct type of gasoline.
Today, I’m bringing you an in-depth look at the lawn mower fuel that I use and recommend, called Trufuel (which you can order online or buy locally at Ace Hardware, or Home Depot, and you can order online from Amazon).
It’s an ethanol-free gasoline that keeps my mower engine running clean. It eliminates the need to stabilize my fuel for the winter, and I don’t have to worry about bad gas making my mower struggle to start in the spring.
I’ll also talk about the types of gasoline you should not put in your mower.
Finally, I will reveal some tips on how to prevent gas from going bad, as well as how to start a mower with old gas.
Best Lawn Mower Fuel
The best lawn mower fuel, and the type that I use, is Trufuel. Trufuel is an ethanol-free, four cycle engine fuel that has been engineered to be the highest quality lawn mower fuel on the market.
They make a few different types (some are mixed with oil for 2-cycle engines like the one on your gas-powered weed-wacker), but the one you want for your mower is the one in the gray-colored can.
It’s pricey, but for me it’s worth the money because it helps my mower and snow blower last with minimal maintenance.
I noticed an immediate an immediate improvement in my mower as soon as I started using it. The startups became much smoother, and I no longer had to worry about stabilizing fuel for winter storage, or running my mower out of gas before putting it away in the fall.
Over the longer term, my mower needed fewer repairs, the fuel lasted longer, and it made the overall mowing experience much easier.
This fuel even helps take care of your mower’s engine. A few things Trufuel does that no other fuel can do include:
- Lubricating engine parts
- Preventing mower corrosion
- Cleaning the mower’s fuel system
Trufuel is available in multiple different gardening and hardware stores. I get mine locally from ACE Hardware. If you haven’t used it – Ace has an order online option where you can get your delivery the same day to save yourself a trip to the store.
It’s a big time-saver on those weekends when you have a million things to do and limited time.
Types Of Fuel You Should Not Use In Your Lawn Mower
Since lawn mower engines are a bit different from other engines, there are certain types of fuel you should never use in them.
Types of fuel you should avoid at all costs include gas that is high in ethanol and diesel gas.
These kinds of gas will be extremely harmful for your mower engine. In fact, they could make your mower dangerous to use.
Ethanol is a common ingredient in gasoline for cars. It’s a chemical compound that helps to oxygenate the fuel and reduce air pollution as the engine is running.
It’s also cheaper to produce, which helps make gas less expensive (although if you’ve pumped gas recently, you’re probably rolling your eyes at that one!).
You can use regular gas in your mower, but, gas with ethanol isn’t great for your mower, and definitely avoid any gasoline that has higher than 10% ethanol content.
High ethanol amounts and small, low power engines don’t work well together. Gasoline that’s high in ethanol can cause corrosion, and break down your engine more quickly.
Engine damage means that your lawn mower won’t function as it should. In extreme cases, the engine could burst into flames, which (obviously) is a dangerous situation and something we should try to avoid.
You must also avoid using diesel fuel in your lawn mower. Diesel is a very powerful fuel that is only used for large, diesel engines, such as those on trucks, trains, and boats.
You’ll regret it immediately if you try to put it in a machine with a small engine, like a lawn mower.
Diesel will cause your lawn mower to start emitting large clouds of black smoke almost immediately after starting. Your mower will also be severely damaged.
How To Prevent Gas From Going Bad?
Yes, gas generally lasts a long time, but it will eventually go bad and end up expiring. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help prolong the life of your gas in storage for as long as possible.
The best ways to prevent gas from going bad include:
- Store it in an airtight container
- Keep it in a cool place
- Store small amounts
- Use a fuel stabilizer
How to Properly Store Gas for Your Mower
Keeping your gas in an airtight container will help prevent it from being exposed to oxygen.
When gas is exposed to air, it starts oxidizing, which can lessen its ability to perform and give your mower’s engine trouble.
The majority of mower gas brands send their gas to market in airtight containers. You can also find empty airtight containers made to store gas at gardening and hardware stores.
It’s crucial that gas stay in an air-tight container to keep out the oxygen in the air.
Keep your gas in an appropriate air-tight container in a cool place. When gas is exposed to heat, the flammability of it increases exponentially.
This can increase the likelihood of it exploding or starting a fire!
Here are some examples of good places to store your gas:
- A garage
- A shed away from the house
- A specially designed gas crate you can get from hardware stores
Buy Small Amounts of Gas so It’s Used More Rapidly
You should also store your gas in small amounts. In fact, no more than five gallons is recommended.
This will help decrease the chances of all of your gas being exposed to air and unusable.
In the event of a fire or explosion, it will also lessen the amount of damage caused.
Finally, you can use a fuel stabilizer like this one on Amazon to help your gas last longer. A fuel stabilizer is an additive liquid that’s designed to act as a shield for the gas.
It bonds with the chemicals in the gas to prevent it from evaporating or oxygenating.
Make sure to add the stabilizer to the gas within one month of pumping it into your storage container, or it won’t work properly.
Always read and follow the instructions listed on the product packaging.
Starting A Lawn Mower With Old Gas
If you leave gas in the mower for too long, it will eventually get too old and break down. When this happens, you’ll probably have trouble starting up your lawn mower.
If this happens, your best option is to just drain the old gas and add new gas.
Drain it into an appropriate container (a small siphon pump kit like this one can make it an easy, mess-free job) and find out how to safely dispose of it.
You can ask your local disposal center for this information, or Google “Household hazardous waste disposal near me” to find a recycling facility nearby that will accept it.
There might also be build up in the gas tank, and you need to clean that out or risk carburetor problems down the road.
How to Clean Out Your Mower’s Carburetor
You could use some carburetor cleaner to clear the build up, making sure to follow the product instructions.
Personally I use this spray every time I start my mower. I simply remove the air filter, spray it into the hole the filter covers where the engine takes in air (it will get sucked into the carb on start-up), and then replace the air filter.
One can is under $5 and will last you a few years – that’s a lot cheaper than replacing your mower’s carburetor.
What to Do After Removing the Old Gas
Once you’ve removed the old gas and cleaned out the tank, all you need to do is add fresh gas to the tank.
After that, your mower should start up and be good to go. If it doesn’t, there is probably something else wrong.
The maximum amount of time you can leave gas in a mower’s gas tank without it going bad ranges from three to six months.
Believe it or not, how gas smells can help you figure out whether it has gone bad. Fuel that has gone bad smells sour or at least different than what gas usually smells like.
I don’t recommend sniffing gasoline regularly, but thought it was worth mentioning, as it’s an easy way to tell if that’s the problem with your mower.
Do Lawn Mowers Take Regular Gas?
Yes, mowers can run on regular gas that you get at your local gas station, but there are some rules you should follow if you’re using gas with 10% ethanol in your lawn mower.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Only buy the amount of gas you need, and try to use that gas within a few weeks.
- Store gas with ethanol in a small, air-tight container in a cool, dry place.
- Use a fuel stabilizer if gas will be sitting in the mower or in a container for more than a month.
- Regularly use a carburetor cleaner spray like this one or a good starting fluid with corrosion inhibitor like this one at start-up to keep your mower’s carb clean.
- If it’s within your budget, use TruFuel, an Ethanol-Free gas that is stable and will stay good for a year or more.
This way your mower will only have TruFuel in it when you store your mower for the winter, which will allow you to know your gas won’t go bad and enjoy a hassle-free start up the following spring.
Proper engine maintenance is a crucial part of lawn mower care. As long as you use the correct type of gas and the it’s fresh, your mower will function the way that it should and the engine won’t end up damaged.