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Can I Use Chainsaw Oil In My Lawn Mower?Should I?

Written by William
Last Updated on March 28, 2021

Will Chainsaw Oil Work In My Lawnmower?

If you running low on oil in your mower and you want a quick solution, you might be wondering if your two-stroke chainsaw oil could do the trick? Well, we tested out chainsaw oil in various mowers and found out some interesting facts.

You can use chainsaw two-stroke oil in your two-stroke mower, as both engines are small and operate with a cooling system needed by the oil, you should never use chainsaw oil in a four-stroke mower however as the engines do not operate in the same way.

So as we can understand more about the oil that can be used in two-stroke and four-stroke mowers, along with the different types out there, we have put together our best guide below to using different kinds of oils in your mower so as you can be confident you are using the right one.

Why Does a Lawnmower Need Oil?

Two-stroke and four-stroke engines in lawnmowers need oil to run, just like a car and a chainsaw, it's important to change this oil at regular intervals too just like other combustion engines so as it can cool down and lubricate your mower more efficiently.

Will Motor Or Chainsaw Oil Be Okay In My Mower?

Chainsaw oil should be okay in your lawnmower as long as it is part of the two-stroke oil variety, this oil may not be suitable for a four-stroke engine, however. Motor oil is the best to be used in a petrol mower with a four-stroke engine and should be a grade of SAE-30.

Two-stroke chainsaw oil will not be effective in a four-stroke engine due to the different fuel system. Always double-check the oil recommended by the manufacturer of your mower in the manual if you want to be certain you are using the correct oil.

How Does Oil Differ In a Four Stroke & Two Stroke Mower Engine?

Two-stroke and four-stroke mowers use oil in different ways, hence why you shouldn't put two-stroke chainsaw oil in a four-stroke mower.

We will briefly describe how each type of engine works below.

Two-Stroke Mowers

Two-stroke engines need the oil you put in the mower so as it can lubricate the crankcase, this type of combustion will need you to mix equal ratios of fuel and oil for the engine to work.

The two-stroke part of this engine means that it will take one revolution to finish one power stroke.

These types of mowers are very old school and cause a fair amount of pollution, but they are also very lightweight and powerful in comparison to four-stroke lawnmowers.

Four Stroke Mowers

Four-stroke engines, on the other hand, need to perform two revolutions in their engine for one power stroke, they have separate places inside the mower too so as you don't have to mix fuel and oil, just simply fill them up to the correct amounts individually instead.

These types of engines are much easier to use and don't emit as many fumes as two-stroke engines, as four-stroke engines are developing they are also becoming as powerful as two-stroke engines.

What Type Of Lawnmower Oils Are There?

There are many different types of oils out there that are suitable for use with your mower, we will list the main ones out below, you should always consider the viscosity of these oils when checking if they are suitable or not for your mower.

  • SAE 30 - This oil is used in chainsaws and other smaller engines such as mowers, it's best suited to warmer temperatures.
  • SAE 10W-30 - The 10W-30 is similar to the above but is more suited to variable temperatures rather than just warm, this type of oil may have a higher consumption rate.
  • Synthetic 5W-30 - For less oil consumption and better starting, the synthetic 5W-30 oil is great, it also works in all kinds of temperatures.
  • SAE 5W-30 - This oil is the best for temperatures of extremes such as -35 degrees or very warm climates too.
  • 15W-50 - For high performance, a 15W-50 oil grade is great and also works in all kinds of temperatures.

You will also come across these oils separated into four broader categories -

  • Synthetic blend - Cheaper than a full synthetic oil and works at a great range of temperatures.
  • Full synthetic - Expensive but high quality and used in commercial engines.
  • Multi-grade oil - Better viscosity and can work at variable temperatures.
  • Single-grade oil - This type of oil has no additives in it and only works well in warmer temperatures.

Factors To Watch Out For When Choosing a Lawnmower Oil

To determine whether an oil is of good quality, there are a couple of factors to be aware of which we will list out below.

If You Have a Two-Stroke Engine

Two-stroke engines are fine to use with chainsaw oil, as chainsaws also run with a two-stroke engine, however, you must never use other motor oil in a two-stroke engine as this could potentially damage your whole mower.

Only use oils in your two-stroke mower that begin with SG, SH, SF or SJ.

The Viscosity

There are two viscosities for mowers that give different levels of lubrication, the two most popular kinds of oil in mowers for lubrication are SAE-30 which is great for warmer weather and SAE-10W-30 which is the best for colder weather.

SAE 30 can be used in chainsaws and mowers with no issue as they both operate with small engines that need cooling.

Additives In Oil

Additives should not be used in mower oil and are only useful for bigger engines, unless your small engine is using oil with ethanol content, then an additive would be suitable.

Can I Use Synthetic Oil In My Lawnmower?

If it's your first time looking at oils for your lawnmower you may be wondering what synthetic oil is and why it's so expensive?

Synthetic oil is better than traditional lawnmower oil, hence its cost, this is because it can work at a variety of temperatures and has a low consumption rate, making it more cost-effective in the long run.

How Often To Change The Oil In a Lawnmower

On average, you should be changing the oil you use in your mower at least once a year or after 50 hours of use, checking the oil level is a good idea when performing maintenance on the mower as the engine is cold, you should always be checking the oil level more too when your mower has been doing challenging work.

After the first five hours of use with your mower, a change of oil will be needed also.

How To Change Your Lawnmowers Oil

Changing the lawnmower oil is a pretty simple process and should be listed out in the manual of your mower, however, we will list the simple steps of how to do this down below in case you want to follow them.

  • Step One - Warm up the engine to loosen up the oil.
  • Step Two - Clean the oil filling area with a towel.
  • Step Three - Place a container underneath where the oil will drain and remove the plug.
  • Step Four - If your mower does not have a plug then remove the oil cap and tilt it to one side to let the oil drip out into the container.
  • Step Five - Refill your mower with new oil to the level needed, make sure you do not overfill or underfill the mower too.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using Chainsaw Oil In a Lawnmower

Can I use car oil in a four-stroke mower? 

Yes, using motor oil in a four-stroke mower is fine, the most popular kind of motor oil to use would be the SAE-30 motor oil.

How often do I change the oil in a riding mower? 

You don't have to change the oil in a riding mower as often as you do in small lawnmowers, on average it is recommended to change the oil only after 100 hours.

Why can't I use two-stroke oil in a four-stroke engine or vice versa?

Two-stroke oil will not be suited in a four-stroke engine for a long time as the oil is designed to be mixed with fuel in the engine, so the mower might work, but it's not recommended and could potentially damage the lawnmower overtime.

Final Words

To conclude, using chainsaw oil in a two-stroke mower is fine as they both use a two-stroke engine and the oil will be suitable for cooling down both small engines no matter the machine. You should never use motor oil in a two-stroke mower but you can use motor oil in a four-stroke mower instead of chainsaw oil.

About the author
Written by William
I have always had a passion for gardening and that with a background in selling lawn mowers for the past 10 years, I have become very knowledgeable in all types of gardening tools. The site TheBestMowers.co.uk was created as a hub where I can review and write about all of the tips around gardening.
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