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    Tractor Supply Company

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    Lawn Mower Engine Maintenance Calendar

    Authored by Tractor Supply Company

    Spring and summer mowing season can be a busy time. To save money on costly lawn mower repairs, it is a good idea to keep a schedule of your lawn mower maintenance so you can keep your lawn mower engine in top shape and keep your lawn looking great year after year. Your mower engine is important to the life and performance of your equipment.

    Here are some easy steps you can follow by season to keep your lawn mower in top shape. Follow the seasonal or hourly intervals, whichever comes first. More frequent service is required when operating your lawn mower in dirty or dusty conditions. For specific questions about your Cub Cadet, Husqvarna or Huskee mower engine, refer to your owner’s manual, contact the manufacturer, or visit your local Tractor Supply Co. store.

    Spring / Summer lawn mower care

    Change the oil

    When to change oil in your lawn mower depends on when you are ready to start mowing your grass. Using old oil can damage your lawn mower engine and is not recommended.

    • Remember to change the motor oil after the first 5 hours of use at the beginning of the mowing season. Continue to change oil after every 50 hours of lawn mower use.
    • It is best to let the mower engine warm up for at least 60 seconds prior to checking the oil using your mower's dipstick.
    • Check the oil level in your lawn mower engine at least every 5 hours of operation. Make sure the oil level is filled to the proper mark on the dip stick. Never overfill your lawn mower engine oil.
    • Use SAE 30 oil above 40°F (4°C)
    • Change the engine oil after the first 5 hours of operation, then after every 50 hours or at the beginning of the spring mowing season when you de-winterize your mower.

    Replace the air filter and air cleaner

    Replacing the air filter in your riding lawn mower or push mower can help improve engine performance and efficiency. Changing the air filter as often as recommended by the manufacturer can also increase the life of your engine. Advice about how to replace the air filter in your push mower or riding lawn mower include:


    • Change the air filter and air cleaner for your lawn mower at least once a season, preferably in the spring. Check with your local Tractor Supply Co. store to see what type of air filter and air cleaner your lawn mower needs.
    • Try to buy the same make / model air filter that is recommended by the manufacturer of your lawn tractor or push mower.
    • Think about changing your air filter more often when operating your lawn mower in dusty conditions.
    • Always use air filters to assure optimum performance and maximum protection for your mower engine.

    Use fresh gasoline

    Gas can go stale and get dirty from sitting dormant. Dirty or stale gasoline can crate engine problems and cause your lawn tractor or push mower to idle roughly or cause the engine to stall.

    • Make sure lawn mower engine fuel is clean and fresh at the start of the season.
    • Look at replacing the in-line fuel filter if the mower is equipped and it has been used 100 hours or more. Tractor Supply Co. carries oil filters that may fit your need.
    • Only use unleaded gasoline. Do not use E85 fuel.
    • Do not mix oil with gasoline. Only two-stroke engines such as those found in chainsaws and string trimmers require mixing oil with gas.
    • Use fuel stabilizer to assure fuel freshness and easier starting. Let a Tractor Supply Co. team member help you pick out the right fuel stabilizer.

    Change the spark plugs

    Spark plugs can be a simple and inexpensive solution to why a mower engine is not starting. Replace spark plugs as often as is recommended by the manufacturer.

    • Change spark plugs at the beginning of every mowing season (in the spring) and/or every 100 hours of use
    • Use the same spark plugs recommended by the manufacturer of your lawn tractor or push mower.

    Fall / Winter lawn mower care

    When the cold weather of fall and winter arrives, it is time to winterize your lawn mower. Prevent damage to hoses and gaskets caused by changes in temperature by adding or replacing key fluids and following these steps:

    • Drain engine oil and refill with clean oil.
    • Use a gas treatment or fuel stabilizer to prevent the gasoline in your lawn mower from going stale during the long winter months.
    • Replace your mower's spark plug, then start the engine slowly.
    • Wash away dirt and old grass from the entire lawn mower, paying special attention to the mower engine itself. Make sure your mower engine is turned off as you clear old clumps of sod, dirt and weeds from moving parts of the engine and blade shaft.
    • Store your mower in clean, dry area such as a garage, barn or shed.

    If you do not know the specifications of your riding mower, lawn tractor or push mower, visit or call your local TSC and an expert team member will be happy to assist.

    Lawn mower maintenance chart

    Engine Maintenance Schedule


    After the
    first 5 Hours

    25 hours or
    every season

    50 hours or
    every season

    100 hours or
    every season

    Check engine oil level



    Change engine oil





    Change oil filter, if applicable




    Change foam air cleaner or optional foam pre-cleaner, if applicable




    Change paper air cleaner, if applicable





    Replace mower spark plug



    Replace in-line fuel filter, if applicable



    * Change oil after first 5 hours, then after every 50 hours or every season.
    ** Service more often under dusty, heavy load operating conditions.

    Please refer to your operator's manual for brand-specific engine maintenance information.