Using the right transmission oil for your John Deere L130 riding lawn tractor keeps your machine on the move. The 23-horsepower mower can go up to 5.5 miles per hour forward and up to 3.2 mph in reverse, but not with a faulty transmission. With several enhancement options, the L130 mower can help make mowing and maintenance a snap, as long as you give its transmission the specific oil it requires.
Recommendations From Deere
The L130 lawn tractor's factory specifications call for John Deere's Hy-Gard J20C or J20D transmission oil. The company recommends using only Hy-Gard oil in the lawn tractor. John Deere J20D is a low-viscosity transmission/hydraulic oil, while J20C is a high-viscosity product. The company also makes a biodegradable fluid called Bio Hy-Gard. The L130 doesn't generally require Bio Hy-Gard in residential settings, but the mower can be changed over to bio-oil if the transmission is thoroughly drained first.
Compatible Substitute Oils
Several manufacturers offer transmission oils deemed compatible with the John Deere L130. Available in both natural and synthetic formulations, these transmission oils may be less expensive than the Hy-Gard J20C or J20D oils. Used improperly, however, they can damage your transmission. Check the label of other products carefully to make sure the manufacturer lists compatibility with the John Deere L130 or certifies that the transmission oil may be used in place of Hy-Gard J20C or J20D oil.
Using J20C oil helps keep the transmission properly lubricated during hot weather. As the transmission heats up, the oil becomes thinner, forming a protective film inside the transmission. Conversely, low-viscosity J20D is more appropriate in winter. The oil does not thicken so much in colder temperatures that it blocks proper gear movement. J20D oil can be used in areas where winter temperatures drop as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Hy-Gard J20C transmission oil may be used in temperatures up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
The John Deere manuals warn against using Type F transmission fluid in the L130's hydrostatic transmission. Never mix different brands or viscosities of transmission oil in your Deere lawn tractor. Using the wrong oil for the hydrostatic transmission can damage the gears or render the entire transmission unit inoperable. If you're uncertain on how to properly service the transmission, take your lawn tractor to a reputable service center.
Audrey Lynn has been a journalist and writer since 1974. She edited a weekly home-and-garden tabloid for her hometown newspaper and has regularly contributed to weekly and daily newspapers, as well as "Law and Order" magazine. A Hambidge Fellow, Lynn studied English at Columbus State University.