NotTaR of small Gasoline Engines and Rotary Lawn Mowers : About engine oil                        
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About engine oil

For the common 4 stroke engines such as Briggs & Stratton or Tecumseh, you don't need to buy specially high priced engine oil. The type likely used in your automobile will work fine and will be much less expensive. Although small engine manufacturers may recommend SAE 30 oil, they usually also state that 10W-30 or 10W-40 are acceptable substitutes - and these are what your car probably uses. New oil should have at least the SG rating though if you have some SF in your garage, that will be fine also (for your lawn mower, not your car!). However, there are situations like equipment that must run in extremely cold weather (probably not a problem with grass mowing!) where specific alternative oil recommendations should be followed.

The capacity of a typical small engine is just over a 1/2 quart. This will probably cost you about 50 cents - a very worthwhile investment!

However, some people do swear by synthetic oil. I remember it worked pretty well on my bicycle as well :-):

(From: Daniel Pope (dpope@l-a-net.net).)

Synthetic Motor Oil in the crankcase and Marvel oil in the gas is the only way to go!

I have a $1,900 MTD tractor style mower with B&S engine (L head twin). It has over 800 hours and 9 years on it and I mean rough hours (bahaya grass and hot weather). The engine does not use a drop of oil (changed every 30 hours) and the compression is the same as when new. These other guys can have there $5,000 fancy mowers. I'll use that money to buy a truck.