How to Drain Oil from Lawn Mower

In Brief: How to Drain Oil from Lawn Mower

Prepare an oil collection container. Open the oil drain plug and allow all the oil to flow into the container. If there’s no drain, remove the dipstick from the oil tank and tilt the mower on its side to pour the oil or remove the oil manually with a device such as a turkey baster.

Lawn mower oil is necessary for smooth running of the engine. If you do your own maintenance or you plan to start, you need to learn how to drain oil from lawn mower oil tanks. Draining oil is the first step to a lot of different engine oil maintenance for your mower.

You can learn to drain lawn mower oil on your own mower in minutes. It’s a simply process that can be done in just a few steps, with either minimal tools needed or no tools.

3 Ways to Drain Oil from Lawn Mower

There are three different ways you can drain oil from your lawn mower. You can either drain it by tilting the mower on its side, using the built-in oil drain, or by removing it manually.

Method 1: Tilting the Mower

The basic method that anyone can do to drain oil without any tools is to drain your mower oil out from the fill tube. No matter what kind of walk-behind mower you have, you can do this method.

  1. Step 1: Preparation

    Oil and fuel are difficult to clean if they spill. You want to make sure you’re protecting both the mower engine and the ground.

    First, open the fuel tank and place a clean sheet of plastic (plastic bag or plastic wrap both work) over the top. Screw the cap back on with the plastic under it. This seals the fuel in and prevents it from pouring out of vent holes in the cap, or around the cap edges.

    Next, place a mat and some sort of oil collection pan on the ground where you’ll be working. If you don’t have an oil collection pan, an old paint tray, junk container, or a thick stack of newspapers can also work.

    Have a rag ready to clean any accidental spills immediately.

  2. Step 2: Draining the Oil

    Before you drain the oil, take a look at your mower and locate the carburetor. It should be visible without removing anything from the engine. You need to locate the carburetor so that you can pour the oil from the opposite side.

    If you pour oil in the direction of the carburetor, you can accidentally get dirty engine oil in the carburetor. You would then need to clean your carburetor as well to keep it working as it should.

    Once you know which side the pour from, remove the oil dipstick from the fill hole. Tip the mower over on its side, with the oil fill spout ending up directly over your collection container. Allow the oil to pour out into your container until it’s finished.y

  3. Step 3: Cleaning Up

    Wipe away any remaining drips around the oil fill spout, replace the dipstick, then flip the mower back right side up. Put the oil collection container somewhere it won’t get spilled.

    If possible, take the used up oil to an auto repair shop for recycling. If that’s not an option, look at your options for safe disposal of used oil in your local area.

    Watch this tutorial for draining your mower oil by tilting the mower:

Method 2: Using the Oil Drain

Some mowers have a built-in mechanism to drain oil. This is a convenient mechanism that makes oil changes much easier.

Step 1: Locating the Drain

Depending on the brand of mower you own, the drain could be located in a different spot. Check a few places, namely:

  • Base of the engine block
  • Bottom of the mower
  • Below the oil fill tube
  • Near the crankshaft

A typical oil drain is closed by a bolt with a four-sided square head. It looks distinct from other bolts on the mower, which usually have six sides. If you have trouble locating the drain, consult your owner’s manual. Look up the manual if you don’t have your physical copy anymore.

Example of a typical oil drain bolt –

Step 2: Draining the Oil 

Before you drain the oil, place a collection pan or a large pile of newspaper underneath the drain spout. Open the oil drain by using a square socket wrench of the appropriate size. Once you remove the bolt, oil should start pouring out of the valve.

Step 3: Cleaning and Closing 

Wait until oil stops dripping out of the valve, then wipe away any spills or excess with a damp rag. Wipe off the plug bolt and replace it in the valve. Secure it in place with your socket wrench.

Make sure you tightly secure the bolt before trying to refill oil in your mower. 

Method 3: Manual Oil Removal

Manual oil removal is usually the most labor-intensive, but it’s a good solution if you don’t want to tilt the mower on its side and you don’t have tools to open the drain bolt.

Step 1: Preparation

Grab a container to put the old engine oil in once you’ve removed it. Keep a cleaning rag nearby in case of spills during the removal process. Take the oil dipstick out and place it to the side.

Step 2: Removing the Oil

Use something you have on hand to remove the oil from the tank. One tool you can repurpose is a turkey baster. Use it as is to withdraw oil directly or through a thin tube and drop it into your container.

You can use almost any suction device to remove oil. If you have a shop vac, it’s possible to use this as well.

Continue manually removing the oil until the engine oil tank is empty.

Step 3: Finishing

After you’ve removed all the old engine oil, wipe up any stray drops of oil or accidental spills. Replace the oil dipstick to prevent anything getting into the tank before you can add fresh engine oil. Take the oil collection container to recycle the old oil, if the option is available. Otherwise, look up methods of safe disposal in your area.


Learning how to drain oil from lawn mower oil tanks is an important skill. It’s something simple to do, but it helps you to change the oil, do an oil cleanse, and perform routine maintenance on your own mower. Figure out which method works best for you and try it for yourself.

Do you have any questions about draining oil from your mower? Leave a comment below.

About Donald Parker

Donald has more than 15 years of experience of working with power tools. But his main area of expertise is working saws, especially chainsaws.

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