How To Change The Oil In A Toro Lawnmower (Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Change the Oil in a Toro Lawnmower

When it comes to keeping your Toro lawnmower in excellent condition, nothing is as vital as the oil. As with all engines, oil lubricates all of the various components so that they can run smoothly under extreme temperatures and high speeds. Because oil is so essential, you need to know how to change it regularly.

If you have a Toro push lawnmower, all you have to do is remove the dipstick and pour the oil out. If you have a riding lawnmower, you will need to attach a plastic drain tube so that the liquid will go into the drip pan. Once all the oil is gone, you simply have to pour more in. If your mower has an oil filter, you will need to replace that as well.

Fortunately, lawnmower oil changes are relatively easy, meaning that anyone should be able to do this project. The only challenge is making sure that you recycle the oil correctly by taking it to a recycling facility. We will outline the various steps and tools needed for this job.

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What You’ll Need to Change the Oil

  • Drip Pan
  • New Oil
  • New Oil Filter (for Riding Mowers)
  • Funnel
  • Plastic Bag
  • Towel
  • Strap Wrench (for the Oil Filter)
  • Needlenose Pliers

How to Change the Oil in a Toro Push Lawnmower

Step One: Run the Mower

Since motor oil is designed to operate at high temperatures, it becomes thinner and more viscous when heated. So, to make this job faster, it helps to run the mower for a couple of minutes. Doing this should allow the liquid to pour out quickly.

Step Two: Seal the Gas Tank

Because we will be tipping the mower on its side, you want to avoid any potential gas leaks. All you need to use to seal the tank is a plastic sandwich bag. Unscrew the cap, place the bag over the opening, and then screw it back on.

Step Three: Pour the Oil Out

Remove the dipstick and then turn the mower on its side with the gas cap facing toward the sky. The liquid should pour out smoothly. Overall, this process should take just a few minutes because the tank is not very large.

Step Four: Add New Oil

If you know the type of oil in your lawnmower already, you can use the same one to refill the tank. However, if you’re unsure, we highly recommend SAE 5W-30 oil. For the uninitiated, SAE stands for the Society of Automotive Engineers. All motor oil brands come with this label to illustrate that the oil follows the Society’s standards.

The W on the label stands for winter, and the number before it refers to how viscous the oil is in cold temperatures. The higher the number, the easier it is to start the engine when the weather is freezing. Unless you plan to mow your lawn in the dead of winter, 5W should be more than okay.

Standard motor oil should be fine, but synthetic varieties will usually run a bit smoother. Mostly, however, for small engines, it is up to your personal preference.

Most Toro push lawnmowers require between 14 and 16 ounces of oil. Refer to your owner’s manual for a more precise count. Use the dipstick to check the level as you’re putting more liquid in. If you put too much into the tank, you will have to drain the excess.

Step Five: Test the Mower

Running the machine for a minute or two will allow the oil to flow through the engine. Doing this ensures that your mower will start cleanly and efficiently next time you cut the grass.

How to Change the Oil in a Toro Riding Lawnmower

Step One: Run the Mower

Again, letting the engine run for a few minutes will make it easier to drain the fluid.

Step Two: Lift the Hood

While you can access the drain valve without lifting the hood, we suggest doing this to make it easier. Also, you will want to remove the dipstick while draining to make it go faster.

Step Three: Attach a Drain Hose

Most lawnmower manufacturers will sell this part separately, so you should be able to find it online. Alternatively, you can make your own from any kind of plastic tubing. The most crucial thing to consider is the width and length of the tube. You need to make sure that it will fit around the drain valve and reach the drip pan without causing a mess. We also suggest using clear plastic so that you can see when the oil stops flowing.

Step Four: Release the Valve Plug

Once the tube is connected, you will need a pair of needlenose pliers to release the plug. As soon as it is loose, the oil will start to flow out. As we mentioned, removing the dipstick will allow the fluid to flow more efficiently. If you have an air compressor, you can blow a small blast of air into the tank to ensure that all of the oil comes out.

Step Five: Plug the Drain

As soon as the oil stops flowing, you can plug the valve. There may still be a few drops left, but they shouldn’t be a big deal. Remove the tube and wipe it down. We recommend placing it in a garage sink or on some cardboard so that it won’t make a mess.

Step Six: Remove the Oil Filter

On the other side of your lawnmower is an oil filter. You should always change this component whenever replacing the oil. The filter keeps the fluid clean for longer so that you don’t have to change the oil as frequently.

You will need a strap wrench to remove the old filter. If the piece is stuck, you can use some WD-40 to loosen it. One-half turn to the left should release it enough.

Step Seven: Replace the Oil Filter

Before putting the new filter on, you should rub a little bit of oil around the o-ring. Doing this will create a tighter seal so that the filter can work more efficiently. Use your strap wrench to tighten it.

Step Eight: Fill the Oil Tank

You should use a funnel to ensure that the oil goes in smoothly. Riding lawnmowers may need one to two gallons of oil, depending on the size of the machine. Again, refer to your owner’s manual for reference. Also, don’t forget to measure the oil with the dipstick as you go.

Step Nine: Test the Lawnmower

Run the machine for a minute or two so that the oil can flow through the engine. You could even try cutting your lawn as soon as you’re finished.

How Often Should You Change Your Lawnmower’s Oil?

According to the experts, you should change the oil after 50 hours for a push lawnmower and 100 hours for a riding model. These recommendations are for both regular and synthetic oil, so keep that in mind when purchasing new fluid.

Regardless of how often you cut the grass, you should remove all of the engine oil when storing the machine for winter. Doing this will ensure that the engine stays clean throughout the season. All you have to do is drain the oil and then put more in next spring. You should not reuse the same oil, even if it is relatively fresh.

How to Tell That Your Oil is Going Bad

Realistically, you shouldn’t be using your lawnmower enough for the oil to go bad. However, if it has been sitting for years or you have a lot of grass to cut, there may be some warning signs that it’s time for a change, including:

  • Rough Idling – The most common signal that your oil is getting dirty is when your lawnmower starts shaking while idling.
  • Oil in the Exhaust – If there is too much oil in the engine (or if there is a leak), you might notice some drops coming out of your exhaust.
  • White Smoke – As oil gets dirty, it can clog the various components of your engine. When that happens, some fluid may leak out, which will burn off, creating white smoke.
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Related Questions

Do I have to empty the oil tank before putting the mower away for winter?

Yes, you should. If you don’t, you will likely notice a rough start when pulling the mower out next season. In extreme cases, you might have to clean the engine to get it running smoothly again.

What happens if I leave oil inside the engine for a long time?

Although oil doesn’t “go bad” like gasoline, it can lose its viscosity. When that happens, the fluid won’t move through the engine when you turn it on, which can cause overheating or damage to other components. If your mower has been sitting for years, we recommend changing the oil before trying to start it.

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