Do Lawn Mowers Have Oil Filters?

by Raymond Archambault
lawn mower

Lawn mowers are one of the most common machines for homeowners to have.

They are essential for maintaining a well manicured lawn unless you hire a professional company to do the job for you.

Over their lifetime, a lawn mower will be put through many hours of use over multiple seasons.

Maintenance is an important part of owning a lawn mower of any kind.

Let’s investigate which lawn mowers have oil filters, what they’re for, and how to change them.


What Is An Oil Filter For?

An oil filter removes contaminants from oil as an engine runs. It is imperative that a filter is in good shape in order to adequately clean up the pollution in the oil, otherwise the engine cannot run smoothly and you’’ll run into trouble. Some people mistake an oil filter for a fuel filter, but they are quite different; a fuel filter is attached to a fuel line and the oil filter resides directly inside the internal combustion engine. Oil filters can most commonly be found in car engines, trains, planes, boats, and even static engines like generators. Some lawn mowers will even have oil filters.


What Types Of Lawn Mowers Have Oil Filters?

lawn mower

All gas engines need oil to run properly, but this doesn’t mean that every gas powered lawn mower will require a filter for that oil. Let’s look at the needs of riding lawn mowers and walk-behind mowers.

Riding Lawn Mowers

Riding lawn mowers like lawn tractors are more complex machines that mimic actual vehicles. As a result, they will usually have more complex lubrication systems, a higher volume of motor oil, and more maintenance requirements. If you have a Honda or John Deere ride on mower, odds are it will contain an oil filter.

Riding lawn mowers still have fairly small engines, but since they will have more sophisticated systems than walk-behind mowers and be used for longer periods of time, it is more important for them to have clean, contaminant-free oil to protect all of the internal engine components. It will be more expensive to perform repairs on these machines as well, so maintaining a well-functioning oil filter and clean oil will be an important aspect of your annual maintenance.

Walk-Behind Mowers

Almost all walk-behind mowers that are gas powered will not have an oil filter in place. It’s a good idea to check your owner’s manual to be certain though, because there are a small handful of push mowers that will include an oil filter. Briggs & Stratton and some Toro lawn mowers, for example, will include an oil filter. As a result, it will likely be necessary for you to put in a new oil filter every time you change the oil.

Since walk-behind lawn mower engines are small and won’t carry the same oil level as larger pieces of machinery, there simply isn’t usually a need to filter the oil. The engine oil simply won’t get dirty enough to cause any problems, especially with the short mowing times. These mowers will still have an air filter that requires regular replacement though. This ensures your carburetor stays clear of debris and the engine can be fueled properly.


How To Do A Lawn Mower Oil Change

Addressing Oil Leaks in Lawnmowers

Lawn mower oil changes can be performed by a professional if desired, but most folks will choose to perform this task at home. It isn’t an overly complex procedure, and you’ll have even fewer steps involved if your lawn mower model does not include a filter. Let’s take a look at the supplies you need and then walk through each step involved in the process.

What You’ll Need

There are three main things you’ll need to have with you before you’re ready to change the oil in your lawn mower. If your model has an oil filter as well, you’ll have to add a new filter and a filter wrench to the list. The first thing you’ll need is an oil pan or similar container to catch the old oil while it drains. The next thing on the list is some replacement oil. You can use regular oil or a synthetic model like SAE 30; synthetic oil will stay cleaner for longer and reduce the wear and tear on the engine as well as lessen the maintenance frequency. The type of oil you choose isn’t especially important for smaller engines like lawn mowers, though. Lastly, you’ll need a dipstick to check the oil level as you fill to prevent over-filling. Some models may have a dipstick secured in the crankcase, but yours may not.

Step-by-Step Guide to Change Lawn Mower Oil

  1. Run the engine for a few minutes. This will warm up the oil and make it drain faster and more completely.
  2. Shut the engine off and disconnect the spark plug wire. This will prevent the engine from accidentally starting while you are performing this task.
  3. Place the oil pan under the machine and unscrew the drain plug (near the crankshaft in most models). Let the oil drain for at least a full minute to ensure you get the greatest amount of oil out as is possible.
  4. Untwist the oil filter (if you have one) by hand or with a filter wrench.
  5. Clean the oil filter seal if necessary. Check for debris and old oil.
  6. Rub the gasket on the new oil filter with new oil. This will help lubricate it and ensure a proper seal.
  7. Place the new oil filter into the filter adapter and screw it in tightly by hand or with a filter wrench.
  8. Fill the crankcase with new oil. Do not let the oil fill above the recommended maximum.

Use your dipstick to ensure the oil is at the right level. Secure the drain plug and you’re ready to cut some grass again.


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