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How To Check & Change Your Riding Lawn Mower's Oil

Why should I change my riding mower's oil?

How often should I change my lawn mower's oil?

What type of oil should I use?

As part of routine maintenance, it's important to check and replace your riding lawn mowers' engine oil and oil filter. Performing this maintenance as scheduled in your owner's manual will ensure your machines' engine performs as designed and will extend its service life. Always change the oil after the first 5 hours of use. This is known as the engine break-in period. Follow the instructions below to inspect and replace the engine oil and oil filter.

Before you change the oil in your riding lawn mower, reference your operator's manual regarding the type and amount of oil you need. SAE 30 the most common, and is is typically used in warmer climates. SAE 10W-30 is best for varying temperature ranges and is best for starting in cold climates. The trade off here is the potential for higher oil consumption. Synthetic oil is also an option for your riding lawn mower. SAE 5W-30 is a great all-around alternative to conventional oil. As always, consult your owner's manual before adding oil to your equipment. Using the wrong type and/or weight of oil can cause premature engine wear and even failure. If your engine has an oil filter, also check the operator's manual regarding the correct replacement.

Note that if your riding mower is damaged from hitting an object in your yard or has complicated engine trouble, it is best to take it to a local MTD certified service dealer for repairs.

Checking & Changing your Lawn Mower's Oil

Step 1: Position the riding lawn mower

Park your Riding Lawn Mower on a flat, level surface. Turn it off, remove the key, and lock the parking brake. Once the engine has cooled, open the hood and disconnect the spark plug wire.

Step 2: Wipe off the area around the oil fill tube, oil drain, and oil filter

Clean the area around the oil fill tube, oil drain, and oil filter. This will remove dirt and other debris that could get into the engine while you're changing the oil and oil filter.

Step 3: Remove the dipstick

Remove the engine oil dipstick from the oil fill tube and wipe it clean with a cloth. This will allow the oil to drain.

Step 4: Drain the engine oil

Place a container with a capacity of no less than 64 ounces under the oil-drain sleeve or position it to catch the oil from the Siphon Pump. Remove the drain plug, and drain the oil into the container. When the oil has completely drained, wipe the area around the oil drain and replace the drain plug. Remove the drain sleeve or Arnold Siphon Pump.

Step 5: Replace the oil filter

If the unit is equipped with an oil filter, remove and dispose of it properly. Wipe the area around the oil filter housing with a clean cloth. To provide the proper seal, lightly coat the new oil filter's gasket with fresh engine oil before installing it. Install the oil filter by hand until the gasket touches the oil filter adapter. Then, tighten the filter using an oil filter wrench. Reference your operator's manual for further instructions on tightening the filter properly.

Step 6: Replace the engine oil

Fill the engine with oil - make sure you use the exact type and amount specified in your operator's manual. Do not overfill, as this can cause excessive smoking, as well as harm to the engine.

Step 7: Check for leaks

After adding oil to the engine, wait one to two minutes, and then check to ensure oil is not leaking from around the oil filter and drain plug.

Step 8: Check engine oil level

Replace and tighten the dipstick. Then, remove the dipstick and check the oil level. It should be at the top of the "full" indicator on the dipstick. If required, add oil and re-check. If full, wipe the dipstick clean with a cloth, replace the dipstick, and tighten.

Step 9: Re-connect the spark plug

Re-connect the Spark Plugs wire to the spark plug.

Fix equipment issues quickly

When you need parts for your riding lawn mower, you can use the MTD Genuine Parts Part Finder to find the correct one. Common parts include:

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The MTD Genuine Parts Knowledge Center provides do-it-yourself instructions for performing many basic maintenance items, including replacing cutting blades, drive and deck belts, and engine oil. If you find your machine has a bigger problem, use our service locator to find a qualified MTD service provider in your area.