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How to Change the Lawn Mower Oil in a Walk-Behind Mower

Length of Clip:  3:22

Before you start to change your lawn mower's oil, it's important to know there are two primary methods for draining oil: the siphon/pump method and the tilt method.

  • Siphon/Pump Method: Use a siphon, such as the Arnold Siphon Pump, to remove the oil directly from the oil fill tube and deposit it into an approved container.

  • Tilt Method: Tilt the mower on its side and use the dip stick tube as a drain.  It's best to wait until the mower runs out of fuel from the tank into an appropriate container.

All of these instructions on performing a mower oil change applies to self-propelled and push mowers alike.  Depending on your model, the instructions in this video may vary slightly.

Step 1: Begin your mower's oil change with warm oil

Both methods work best if the engine and oil are warm.  Make sure the mower is on a flat, level surface.  It's not a bad idea to put down some newspaper or other material to catch any oil that may spill.

Step 2: Remove the spark plug wire

Remove the spark plug wire from the spark plug and keep it away from the spark plug to prevent unintended starting.

Step 3: Clean the area around the oil tank

Clean the oil fill area of any debris.

Step 4: Remove the dipstick

Remove the dipstick.

Step 5: Prepare to drain the oil

Siphon method:  Using the Arnold Siphon Pump, siphon the warm oil out of the dipstick fill tube.  Insert the pump/siphon tube into the dipstick tube until it reaches the bottom of the dipstick fill tube.  Insert the pump/siphon tube into the dipstick tube until it reaches the bottom of the oil container.

Tilt method: Place an appropriate catch container under the dipstick tube. Also make sure that this is opposite the air cleaner so that oil doesn't contaminate the air filter.

Step 6: Drain the Oil

Siphon method: Manually siphon out the oil.  Be careful as the oil may be hot and could cause burns if it is too warm.  Tilt the unit towards the side the dipstick tube is located to remove as much oil as possible.

Tilt method: Carefully tip the mower in the direction of each catch container. Keep tilting the mower, making sure the oil is going into the catch container.  Hold in this position until the oil flow slows to just a drip.  Make sure the mower is tilted air cleaner side up to prevent oil contaminating the air filter.

Step 7: Return the mower to an upright position

Carefully tilt the mower back in the opposite direction to rest on the wheels.  Remove the siphon tube if you were using that method.

Step 8: Clean up the work area

Wipe up any spilled oil on the mower or floor if needed.

Step 9: Change the lawn mower oil

Refer to your Operator's Manual or Engine Owner's Manual for the type and amount of oil needed to refill.  Fill the mower with the specified amount and grade of oil. 

Note: Do not overfill as it can be as harmful to an engine as under filling.

Step 10: Let the oil settle

Wait 1 to 2 minutes for the oil to settle into the unit and then follow the instructions in the equipment or engine manual for checking the oil level.

Step 11: Replace the dipstick when down changing the oil in your push mower

Replace and tighten the dipstick.

Step 12: Reattach the spark plug wire

Reconnect the spark plug wire and you're done. 

If you need to perform other routine maintenance on your mower, you can also browse MTD mower parts.


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