How to Drain Oil from a Lawnmower

by Raymond Archambault
red lawnmover

It’s a no-brainer that motor oil is crucial to the operation of a lawnmower. After all, oil is the main lubrication for the moving parts of a mower engine for optimal mowing. An engine that lacks adequate oil is susceptible to overheating from lock up and friction, resulting in damage.

Changing the engine oil frequently is part of basic lawnmower maintenance. An oil change entails draining used oil from the mower and adding new oil. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of how to drain your lawnmower oil the right way and prolong its usefulness.

How to Drain Lawn Mower Oil from a Self-Propelled or Push Power

These are your basic walk-behind lawn mowers, which most people use. To get started, you’ll require the following.

  • A drain pan
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic funnel
  • Cardboard to cover the work surface
  • Engine oil
  • An Allen wrench or socket wrench based on the type of drain plug

Step 1: Prepare the Work Surface and Heat the Oil

Turn on the engine. Let it run for up to 3 minutes to heat up the oil, then shut it off. Warm oil is lighter, which means it flows better. However, do so carefully to avoid sustaining burn injuries. As your engine warms, use cardboard to cover your work surface so you don’t get oil everywhere. Move the mower over the cardboard.

Step 2: Unplug the Spark Plug Boot

That entails twisting the spark plug boot to prevent the engine from turning on while you work. The last thing you need is for the mower blade to switch on while you work on it.

Step 3: Drain the Oil

Check whether there is a drain plug on your mower continue with the oil draining.

To oil drain from a push mower that doesn’t have an oil drain plug:

  • Position the oil pan adjacent to the mower.
  • Use a rag to clean the area surrounding the cap to eliminate grass and dirt. Then, remove the cap.
  • Slowly turn the mower to its side, making sure the carburetor is facing up. Doing so means the hole will line up with the pan.
  • Let the old oil pour into the pan.
  • Clean the oil drips using a rag.
  • Once you drain all the oil, set the mower upright.
  • Fill the fresh oil as per the owner’s manual up to the appropriate level. Make sure you are using the correct type of oil.
  • Reconnect the spark plug

To drain oil from a push mower using a drain plug:

  • Slowly place the machine onto its side, making sure the carburetor is facing up. The last thing you want is for the oil to get into the air filter or carburetor.
  • Find the hex-shaped or square-shaped plug at the lawn mower engine To do so, access it from underneath the mower.
  • Clean the deck to get rid of the debris surrounding the plug and prevent contaminants from getting into the engine.
  • Place a drain pan below the plug.
  • Turn the plug counterclockwise and unscrew it.
  • Let the oil flow from the engine and into the pan. As it drains, loosen the dipstick or cap for the oil to run out the engine quicker.
  • Once you drain the oil from the engine, replace the plug and turn the mower back to an upright position.
  • Fill the oil as per the operator’s manual until it’s full.
  • Reconnect the spark plug
man with lawnmover

Source: Pixabay

How to Drain Oil on a Zero Turn or Riding Lawn Mower

To get started, you’ll require the following tools.

  • A drain pan
  • A set of socket wrenches or allen wrenches
  • A plastic funnel
  • Cardboard to cover the work surface
  • Rubber gloves
  • A filter wrench
  • Engine oil and a filter

Step 1: Prepare the Work Surface and Heat Up the Oil

Switch on the engine allow it to run to heat up the oil, then shut it off. Take care when handling the engine. As it warms, use cardboard to cover your work surface, so you don’t make a mess on your lawn. Move the mower on the cardboard.

Step 2: Disconnect the Spark Plug Boot

When you unplug the boot, the engine won’t turn on while you’re doing your work. Furthermore, you can also take out the key from your ignition switch.

Step 3: Remove the Oil Hose or Engine Plug

Although some lawnmowers include an oil hose you can use when draining it, others use an engine oil plug. Most plugs are near the engine base on one side. Get rid of the debris and dirt around the plug to curb engine contamination. Position the oil plan below the hose and let the oil flow into the pan.

Step 4: Replace the Engine Oil Filter

Use a filter wrench to unscrew the filter. Add an oil film onto the seal of the new filter and spin onto the engine.

Step 5: Replace the Oil Hose or Engine Oil Plug

Once you’ve drained the oil from your engine, that’s your cue to reinstall the plug.

Step 6: Load up Your Engine

Fill your lawnmower with engine oil. If you’re uncertain as to the oil capacity and type, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fill the engine to the recommended level and use your dipstick or oil gauge to confirm.

Step 7: Change the Spark Plug Boot

Once you replace the boot, restart your engine and let it run for a few minutes then switch it and leave it to cool. Check the engine oil level again and refill if need be.

How to Drain Overfilled Oil

Your engine is susceptible to damage from overfilling it which is why you need to drain the excess oil via the following methods. For safety purposes, remove the spark plug wire and ignition key to prevent your engine from accidentally switching on as you work on your lawnmower.

1. An Oil Filter

For engines with oil filters, drain a tad bit of the excess oil by removing or loosening the filter. Keep in mind that you’ll need a rag in hand to absorb the oil.

2. The Fill Hole

There’s a chance your mower might lack an oil filter or drain plug. Since most push mowers lack a drain plug, you’ll need to tip the machine to drain excess oil from the fill hole. As you do so, it’s worth noting that the carburetor should be on the higher side to prevent oil from spilling on it or the air filter.

3. An Oil Extractor Pump

Oil excavators do the job by eliminating the need to insert a tube into the engine fill hole.

4. A Turkey Baster

It works well in sucking small quantities of oil. However, ensure you don’t reuse it in your kitchen as it’s an affordable item to replace.

To Wrap Up

Now that you know how to drain oil from a lawnmower, there’s no excuse as to why you shouldn’t keep your machine functioning in tiptop condition. With proper care and maintenance, it’ll reward you with great service.


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