The Difference in Detergent & Non Detergent Oil for a Lawn Mower

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Your lawn mower is capable of using detergent and non-detergent formulas of oil.
Your lawn mower is capable of using detergent and non-detergent formulas of oil. (Image: gazon image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com)

A lubricate for lawn mower motors, motor oil not only keeps the engine’s internal components moving freely, but it also keeps them from overheating. The lubricate contains crude oil and petroleum, and is available in varying degrees of thickness, known as weights (W), including 5W, 10W, 20W and higher weights. Lawn mower motor oil is also available in detergent and non-detergent formulas.

Motor Oil With Detergent

Detergent-based motor oil contains chemicals that clean your lawn mower’s internal components, break down sludge, carbon deposits and metal fragments, and cool the overall motor’s temperature. Passenger cars and trucks also commonly use this oil since these vehicles are in use usually on a daily basis and contain large engines with multiple cylinders and components.

Like in any motor, you need to change the detergent-based oil in your lawn mower’s engine according to the schedule or recommendations in your mover’s owner’s manual.

Corrosion Inhibitors in Detergent-based Oils

Detergent-based motor oil may also contain corrosion inhibitors that reduce the amount of oxidation, the reaction of combing metal and oxygen, taking place within your lawn mower’s engine. Corrosion inhibitors make your lawn mower's engine last longer, stops the internal components from rusting when the lawn mower is not in use and also reduces the amount of repairs needed over time.

Non-Detergent Motor Oil

Non-detergent motor oil only lubricates and cools the lawnmower’s engine. The lubricate does not remove sludge buildup, carbon deposits nor does it help in reducing oxidation within the motor.

Non-detergent motor oil is commonly used in lawnmower engines because mower engines are not used daily like passenger vehicles; the engines are not as large as in passenger vehicles; and do not contain multiple cylinders and as many components as passenger vehicles.

The oil is also used in other small engines including ones in weed eaters, chainsaws and other devices. The oil requires changing, like detergent-based oil, according to the schedule or recommendations in your lawn mover’s owner’s manual.

Lack of an Oil Filter

Certain model push lawn mowers do not contain an oil filter and can benefit from using a detergent-based motor oil. Lawn mowers that are drivable or tractor-like contain an oil filter that needs replacing according to the recommendations in your lawn mower’s owner’s manual.

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