How to Tell If My Lawnmower Is a 2 Cycle?

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Be sure you know which type of lawnmover you are working with.
Be sure you know which type of lawnmover you are working with. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

It's crucial that you know whether your lawn mower has a 2-cycle or a 4-cycle engine. For example, each type of engine requires different fueling techniques. If you try to fuel a 2-cycle engine as you would a 4-cycle engine, it will freeze up. The engine will then likely need to be replaced. Likewise with a 4-cycle engine. Fuel it up improperly and and can foul-up, or even damage, the carburetor.

Determine how to add fuel to your lawnmower. Both types of mowers will have gas tanks, of course, but look for a crankcase with a filler tube to add oil. The top will screw off to reveal a dipstick. If there is a place to add oil separately, it's a 4-cycle engine. If you mix oil along with the gasoline when you fuel up, then that tells you it's a 2-cycle lawnmower.

Refer to the maintenance section of the owner's manual. If it instructs you to change the oil on a regular basis, as well as before you store it for the winter, then you have a 4-cycle lawnmower.

Try to start the lawnmower during the cold weather. Two-cycle engines start much easier. However, they give off more smoke. Also pay attention to the noise the lawnmower makes when it's running. A machine with a 2-cycle engine is much noisier than a machine with a 4-cycle engine.

Run the lawnmower up a steep incline. A 2-cycle engine won't lose its power like a 4-cycle engine will. It will have approximately twice as much power.

Tips & Warnings

  • Because 2-cycle engines are smaller and lighter, they are best for small machines like leaf blowers and chainsaws. Keep that in mind when you're making the comparisons.

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