Changing the oil in your Craftsman lawnmower is an important maintenance step in ensuring that your push mower or riding lawnmower functions properly. An oil change may seem like a job better suited for a mechanic; however, it is a simple task that can be accomplished in your backyard. It's a good idea to change your mower's oil once per mowing season or after every 50 hours of use, whichever comes first.
How to Change the Oil in a Craftsman Push Mower
Step 1: Warm the Motor
Before beginning the oil change, run the lawnmower for a few minutes to warm up the oil. This will help the oil drain more easily when you begin the draining process. After a few minutes, turn the mower off and remove the key (if your mower has one) to make sure there is no potential danger. Disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug. Let the engine cool so it is just warm and safe to touch.
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Step 2: Turn the Mower on Its Side
Turn the mower on its side. Locate the oil plug, which should be situated on the inside of the mower deck. If the model you have does not have an oil plug, then you will drain the oil from the oil fill tube instead.
Step 3: Drain the Oil
Place an oil pan under the mower. Remove the oil plug by turning it counterclockwise with a socket wrench. Remove the dipstick from the oil fill tube to prevent suction and ensure the oil flows well. Tilt the mower so the oil flows into the pan, adjusting the angle as needed to remove as much oil as possible. Reinstall the drain plug and tighten it with the wrench. Turn the mower upright and replace the dipstick.
If your mower does not have a drain plug, start with the mower upright (on its wheels). Remove the dipstick and tip the mower sideways so the oil flows out of the fill tube and into the oil pan. Set the mower upright and replace the dipstick.
Step 4: Refill With New Oil
Add new oil through the oil fill tube. Craftsman lawnmowers typically need SAE-30 or SAE 10W-30 oil. A push mower typically holds between 18 to 20 ounces of oil. Begin filling the oil until you have reached somewhat less than the suggested amount, as there still might be oil in the system. Check the oil level with the dipstick and add more oil if necessary. Do not overfill the oil, which can lead to excessive smoking and can damage the engine. Reconnect the spark plug wire.
How to Change the Oil in a Craftsman Riding Mower
Step 1: Warm the Engine
Run the engine for a few minutes to warm the oil so it flows better; then turn off the mower. Once the engine has cooled off a bit, remove the key and engage the parking brake. Open the hood and disconnect the spark plug wire.
Step 2: Remove the Right Dash Cover
Remove the fastener from the right dash cover; then slide the cover up to release the tabs and remove the cover to expose the oil drain valve cap.
Step 3: Attach the Drain Tube to the Oil Valve
Remove the cap on the top of the oil valve and attach the oil drain tube on the end of the valve. Put the drain pan underneath; then push in and twist the drain valve counterclockwise to unlock it. Pull on the drain valve to open it and start the draining process. Remove the oil dipstick to prevent suction and ensure the oil flows freely.
Step 4: Drain the Oil and Close the Valve
Once all the oil has been drained, push the drain valve in to close it and turn it clockwise to lock it; then remove the oil drain tube and replace the drain valve cap.
Step 5: Change the Oil Filter
On the left side of the mower, remove the dash cover, exposing the oil filter. Slide the oil drain pan under the filter to catch dripping oil from the filter. Use the strap wrench to turn the filter counterclockwise. Remove the old filter and clean up any oil that may have landed on the mower frame. Apply a thin film of fresh oil to the gasket on the new filter (to prevent the filter from sticking in the future). Install the new filter, twisting it clockwise until is it snug; then turn it 1/4 turn more. Remove the oil drain pan. Reinstall both dash covers.
Step 6: Add New Oil and Check the Level
Add new oil (typically SAE 10W-30) in small increments, checking the fill level with the dipstick, until the oil is at the upper fill level. Do not overfill the oil. Reconnect the spark plug wire and close the hood. Start the mower and let it run for a few minutes. Turn off the engine and check the oil level. Add more oil if necessary, but be careful not to overfill it.