How to Drain the Oil on a Craftsman Lawn Mower?

The sweet smell of freshly cut grass fills the air, but the whirring of your Craftsman lawn mower suddenly sputters and dies. You suspect the culprit might be old, dirty oil. Fear not, lawn care warrior! This guide will equip you with the knowledge and skills to confidently drain your Craftsman mower’s oil, ensuring it runs smoothly for many seasons to come. We’ll delve into the necessary materials, safety precautions, and step-by-step instructions to make this maintenance task a breeze. So, let’s get started!

A Quick Overview

Draining the oil on your Craftsman lawn mower is a straightforward process that involves preparing the mower, locating the drain plug, collecting the old oil, and finally, refilling with fresh oil. This routine maintenance is crucial to keep your mower running efficiently and extending its lifespan.

Getting Ready: Materials and Safety Gear

Before you dive into the oil change, gather these essential supplies:

  • Oil Drain Pan: This will catch the used oil, keeping it from spilling onto your driveway or lawn.
  • Oil Filter Wrench: This handy tool loosens and removes the oil filter.
  • New Oil Filter: A fresh filter ensures clean oil circulation.
  • Fresh Engine Oil: Choose the right type and viscosity recommended in your Craftsman mower’s manual.
  • Gloves: Protect your hands from oil and potential spills.
  • Safety Glasses: Shielding your eyes is essential during any maintenance task involving fluids.
  • Old Rags: Clean up any spills or drips.

Safety First!

  • Always work in a well-ventilated area: Oil fumes are harmful.
  • Never work on a hot engine: Allow the engine to cool completely before handling the oil.
  • Park the mower on a level surface: Ensure stability while draining the oil.
  • Wear proper safety gear: Don’t skip the gloves and safety glasses, even for simple tasks.

Step-by-Step Guide to Draining Your Craftsman Lawn Mower Oil

Now that you’re equipped, let’s tackle the oil change:

1. Locate the Oil Drain Plug

  • Consult Your Manual: The exact location of the drain plug can vary between models. Your Craftsman mower’s manual will provide a clear diagram and detailed instructions.
  • Look for a Hexagon-Shaped Plug: This plug is typically found on the underside of the engine, usually near the bottom. It may have a small allen wrench-shaped opening or a slot for a flathead screwdriver.

2. Position the Drain Pan

  • Place the Drain Pan Directly Below the Plug: This will catch all the used oil as it drains. Make sure the pan is big enough to accommodate the entire volume of oil.

3. Remove the Drain Plug

  • Use the Right Tool: Whether a wrench or screwdriver, ensure it fits securely to prevent slipping.
  • Twist Counterclockwise: This is the standard direction for loosening a drain plug.
  • Watch Out for Hot Oil: The oil may be warm, so handle the drain plug carefully.

4. Drain the Oil

  • Let it Flow: Allow the oil to drain completely into the pan. This may take a few minutes.
  • Don’t Rush: Patience is key, especially if your oil is thick or viscous.

5. Replace the Drain Plug

  • Wipe the Drain Plug: Clean any debris or oil from the plug and the surrounding area.
  • Hand-Tighten the Plug: Do not overtighten. Tighten it just enough to prevent leaks.

6. Remove and Replace the Oil Filter (If Necessary)

  • Check Your Manual: Some Craftsman lawn mowers have oil filters, while others may have a screen filter that can be cleaned.
  • Locate the Filter: The oil filter is typically found near the engine block, often on top or to the side.
  • Loosen the Filter: Use an oil filter wrench to unscrew the filter.
  • Apply New Oil to the Filter: Before installing the new filter, lightly coat the rubber gasket with fresh engine oil.
  • Tighten the New Filter: Screw the new filter on by hand until it is snug. Don’t overtighten.

7. Add New Oil

  • Refer to Your Manual: The manual specifies the exact amount of oil your Craftsman mower needs.
  • Pour Slowly: Avoid overfilling. It’s better to add a bit at a time and check the dipstick.
  • Check the Dipstick: After filling, check the oil level using the dipstick. The oil should be between the “add” and “full” marks.
  • Wipe Excess Oil: Clean up any oil spills with rags.

8. Start the Engine

  • Brief Run: Start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes.
  • Check for Leaks: Examine the area around the drain plug and filter for any leaks.

Dispose of Used Oil Responsibly

  • Recycle or Dispose Properly: Never pour used oil down the drain or on the ground. Contact your local waste management facility for proper disposal instructions.
  • Many auto parts stores and recycling centers accept used oil for recycling.

Tips for Maintaining Your Craftsman Mower Oil

  • Regular Oil Changes: Following the recommended interval for oil changes is crucial for your mower’s health. Check your owner’s manual for the specific schedule.
  • Keep a Record: Use a logbook to track your oil changes. This helps you stay on top of maintenance and identify any potential issues.
  • Visually Inspect the Oil: If the oil appears cloudy, black, or thick, it’s time for a change.
  • Use Quality Oil: Invest in high-quality engine oil designed for lawn mowers. This ensures optimal lubrication and protection.


Draining the oil on your Craftsman lawn mower is a simple but essential maintenance task that keeps your mower running smoothly and efficiently. By following these step-by-step instructions, using the right materials, and prioritizing safety, you can confidently handle this task and ensure a long and healthy life for your mower. Now, go forth and enjoy a perfectly manicured lawn!


What type of oil should I use for my Craftsman lawn mower?

The type of oil you should use for your Craftsman lawn mower will depend on the specific model and the climate you live in. You can find this information in your owner’s manual. Generally, you’ll want to use a high-quality, detergent-based oil with an API service classification of at least SG or higher. If you live in a cold climate, you should use an oil with a lower viscosity, like 5W-30 or 10W-30. In warmer climates, a heavier viscosity oil like 15W-40 or 20W-50 may be more appropriate.

If you’re unsure about what type of oil to use, consult with a local lawn mower repair shop or your Craftsman dealer. They can provide you with the right information based on your specific lawn mower model and your location.

How often should I change the oil in my Craftsman lawn mower?

The frequency of oil changes for your Craftsman lawn mower depends on how often you use it and the conditions in which you use it. Generally, you should change the oil every 25 hours of operation or once a year, whichever comes first. If you use your lawn mower frequently in dusty or harsh conditions, you may need to change the oil more often. It is also a good idea to check the oil level regularly and top it off as needed.

Checking the oil level regularly is crucial to prevent engine damage. A low oil level can lead to excessive wear and tear on the engine components, ultimately resulting in costly repairs or replacements. By regularly checking and maintaining the oil level, you can ensure your lawn mower runs smoothly and efficiently for years to come.

Where is the oil drain plug located on my Craftsman lawn mower?

The location of the oil drain plug varies depending on the model of your Craftsman lawn mower. However, it is typically found at the bottom of the engine block, usually near the crankshaft. To find it, you can consult your owner’s manual or look for a small, square or hexagonal-shaped plug. The drain plug is usually made of metal and has a small hole in the center.

When changing the oil, it’s important to use a wrench that fits the drain plug snugly. Overtightening the drain plug can damage the threads, while a loose plug can lead to oil leaks. Ensure you have a suitable container underneath the drain plug to catch the used oil.

How much oil does my Craftsman lawn mower need?

The amount of oil your Craftsman lawn mower needs will vary depending on the model. You can usually find the recommended oil capacity in the owner’s manual. If you don’t have the manual, you can often find this information on a sticker located on the underside of the mower deck or on the engine itself.

It’s important not to overfill the oil reservoir. Overfilling can result in oil being forced out of the engine, causing damage and pollution. To avoid overfilling, it’s best to stop filling when the oil level reaches the “full” mark on the dipstick.

What should I do with the old oil after I drain it?

Used motor oil is harmful to the environment and should be disposed of properly. It’s not recommended to pour it down the drain or throw it away in the trash. Instead, take it to a local recycling center or auto parts store that accepts used oil. Many cities and towns have designated drop-off points for used motor oil.

Properly disposing of used motor oil helps protect our environment and prevents contamination of water sources. It’s a small effort that makes a big difference in keeping our communities healthy and sustainable.

Should I warm up the engine before draining the oil?

Warming up the engine before draining the oil can make the process easier and more effective. When the engine is warm, the oil is less viscous, allowing it to flow out more easily and efficiently. However, it’s important to be careful when working with a warm engine. Make sure the engine is shut off and completely cooled down before attempting any work on it.

Warming up the engine also helps to loosen any contaminants that may have settled in the oil, allowing them to be drained out with the used oil. This ensures that fresh oil is introduced to a clean engine, promoting optimal performance and longevity.

What tools do I need to drain the oil on my Craftsman lawn mower?

To drain the oil on your Craftsman lawn mower, you will need a few basic tools. These include a wrench that fits the drain plug, a suitable container to catch the used oil, a funnel, a clean rag, and the appropriate type of oil for your mower.

Having the right tools on hand will ensure a smooth and efficient oil change process. If you are unsure about any of the tools or the procedure, consult your owner’s manual or a trusted lawn mower repair technician for guidance.

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