Do people know you're supposed to put oil in?

Joined
Jan 20, 2005
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177
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New Jersey
I've been looking for a cheap mower. There are areas in my yard that are very steep, and driving the tractor there is dangerous. Too many times I've nearly flipped the thing. But the areas are too large to cut with the string trimmer. So this morning, I stopped at a yard sale. There was a brand new looking Bolens (MTD == cheap!) 22 inch mower with a 4 HP B&S engine. It looked like it had been sitting for a while, but otherwise looked like it had only been used once. The lady said that it runs, but it's too hard for her to pull the rope so she bought a more expensive mower with self start (they make those?). Sure enough, the rope was hard to pull. But the engine turned over and felt like it had compression. It didn't start, but there was only a tiny bit of old, stinky gasoline in the tank. Asking price was $10, so I took a gamble. Fist thing I did at home was check the oil. You guessed it - EMPTY! Not dry, though - maybe left over from a test run at the factory, then drained for shipping? I added 1/2 quart of SuperTech 10w-30. Took out the spark plug, and gave it a few pulls to splash oil around. Re-installed the spark plug, and added fresh gas. The rope is MUCH easier to pull now! It started on the third try, and I mowed a section of my lawn. It seems to run perfectly. I just hope there is oil in her new, expensive, self-starting mower.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2009
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Rocky Mountains
 Originally Posted By: John_K
I'm sure the instructions must have said this. It always amazes me that people don't read the instructions.
Well we all know the saying, "When all else fails, read the instructions." I just have to share this story with you....My dad has a neighbor whom he advised to put oil in her mower because it was running very low. She asked if canola oil would be OK since that was what she currently had in her kitchen cabinet. Lisa (signing my name from now on because everyone has been assuming I'm a man, ha ha)
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
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Great Lakes
 Originally Posted By: Aspen7
She asked if canola oil would be OK since that was what she currently had in her kitchen cabinet.
Well, considering that there are some pretty advanced vegatable oils out there now that rival synthetics when it comes to vehicle engine protection, she wasn't that far off. Anybody running RLI in their mower?
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2009
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Rocky Mountains
Vegetable oil would be better than what went into my lawn mower a few summers back. While pretending to do maintenance, my son (who was 4 at the time), mixed up a cup of runny mud and poured it in. Lisa :-)
 
Joined
May 17, 2006
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Central Wisconsin
When you buy a mower from a dealer, they add oil and test run the thing. (at least they should). Not sure any big box store would bother. Typically, you get a boxed up mower and YOU open the box and put the handle on, etc.. Oil may or may not come in the box. Out of sight, out of mind.
 
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Oct 30, 2002
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Great Lakes
 Originally Posted By: Aspen7
Lisa (signing my name from now on because everyone has been assuming I'm a man, ha ha)
You can put your name in the signature (in My Profile) so that you don't have to type it every single time. :)
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
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Great Lakes
 Originally Posted By: dwendt44
When you buy a mower from a dealer, they add oil and test run the thing. (at least they should). Not sure any big box store would bother. Typically, you get a boxed up mower and YOU open the box and put the handle on, etc.. Oil may or may not come in the box. Out of sight, out of mind.
Yup. I recently bought a Toro from HD. There was no oil in the engine, and I'm actually glad since I was transporting it sideways, so it could have leaked out if it was in there. They include the oil in a bottle so that you can pour it in after you unpack it.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2009
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Rocky Mountains
I bought an electric mower last summer. My lawn is small enough, I don't have to drag a lot of cord around. Now mowing the lawn is like vacuuming the carpet. Plug it in, run it around then put it back in the shed. The only maintenance is keeping the blades sharp, which is also easier because I can turn it on it's side or upside down without worrying about fluids. Lisa :-)
 
Joined
May 27, 2002
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Saratoga, NY
People are idiots. 4 year-olds are excused. 40 year olds? Not so much. \:\( And as we dumb everything down, people are just getting dumber to true everything up. I had a neighbor years ago who bought a brand new Cub Cadet tractor ... a nice one. Now I'm not sure what he did, but one day we heard a loud bang, like a 12-gauge shotgun and he yelled out. He blew up the tractor. It could have been run out of oil, it could be that he left the throttle in the full position every moment of the tractor's life ... or a combination of both. I never found out for sure. Nice guy ... but one of the most ham-handed guys I've ever known. Sadly, his kind is becoming the norm, I'm afraid.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2009
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Rocky Mountains
 Originally Posted By: Bror Jace
People are idiots. 4 year-olds are excused. 40 year olds? Not so much. \:\( And as we dumb everything down, people are just getting dumber to true everything up. I had a neighbor years ago who bought a brand new Cub Cadet tractor ... a nice one. Now I'm not sure what he did, but one day we heard a loud bang, like a 12-gauge shotgun and he yelled out. He blew up the tractor. It could have been run out of oil, it could be that he left the throttle in the full position every moment of the tractor's life ... or a combination of both. I never found out for sure. Nice guy ... but one of the most ham-handed guys I've ever known. Sadly, his kind is becoming the norm, I'm afraid.
Ouch......
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
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7,787
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California
 Originally Posted By: Aspen7
 Originally Posted By: John_K
I'm sure the instructions must have said this. It always amazes me that people don't read the instructions.
Well we all know the saying, "When all else fails, read the instructions." I just have to share this story with you....My dad has a neighbor whom he advised to put oil in her mower because it was running very low. She asked if canola oil would be OK since that was what she currently had in her kitchen cabinet. Lisa (signing my name from now on because everyone has been assuming I'm a man, ha ha)
There's people in 3rd world countries that use cooking oil in their Honda Super Cubs(and clones).
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
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ON, Canada eh?
Our neighbour just asked my dad to look at their zero-turning radius riding lawnmower because it wouldn't "Start". My dad goes to turn over the engine and the starter draws amps but nothing moved. He has a closer look and the engine is dry! He dismantles the engine to see how bad it is and the connecting rod broke and severely damaged the block and part of the cylinder. This mower is toast as she has no money to replace the engine so she tells my dad to keep it. They now spend 2 full days a week mowing the grass with a push mower that they check the oil in before starting up! My dad is going to buy an engine and put it back in service after their listed house is sold!
 
Joined
Jul 20, 2008
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931
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Michigan
Guy accrossed the street never checked the oil on his Murray tractor. Engine lasted 5 years before a connecting rod broke. Neighbor next door aslo never checked the oil on his Deer tractor...the engine lasted 4 yrs before the bearings went out. Neighbor down the street had a Toro recycler that lasted 7 yrs until it ran out of oil. Adding and changing oil matters more than we think.
 
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