Gas octane rating for mowers?

Just in my view, if you don’t have good access to the ethanol free, just use the unleaded regular but I would suggest using a fuel stabilizer. I used to use Stabil but the repair shop said to use the Briggs instead, so that’s what I do. I can’t say what the difference is, just that the guy was pretty clear on it. They are both the same color. Plus I got a similar story from the guy at NAPA when I picked up a carb kit there. Said they have seen a lot of fuel related problems. I gotta think though a lot of people just replace their $200 mowers after five years or so when they start having issues. Probably for want of about $20 in parts but hey, it helps the economy.

There is a stabil for small Engines, tractor supply sells small bottles of it. We’ve always used regular unleaded with stabil for the Winter.

In 30 years of owning lawnmowers, weedeaters, etc. I have never used anything other than plain old pump gas. I have never used fuel stabilizer or additives. I have never drained a tank or ran a carb dry before parking it for the winter. The only issue I had was when I was out of regular gas and needed to mow the lawn one more time. I dumped in the 2-cycle mix I had, mowed the lawn, and let the mower sit for 4 months. Had to put a new spark plug in to get it started.

I have also never changed the oil in any small engine I’ve owned. But I understand that may be going a bit far.

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More like 40yrs for my famly but the same thing, the same pump gas we put in the cars. Currently on Crafstmen lawn tractor #2 since 1980.

Usually, if a fuel is not legal for highway use, it’s because it’s untaxed. All the small engine gas you can buy at local lawnmower shops have “not legal for highway use” on the label, it’s not legal because it’s exempted from road use tax.
VP four stroke zero alcohol small engine gas is 94 octane and I have had zero problems using it in small engines. It doesn’t even smell like gasoline, more like Coleman lantern fuel. So it may not be the octane rating that’s the problem.

Actually just the opposite. I’ve owned several lawn mowers that said to ONLY USE 87 octane.

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The problem is what?

Making more friends but a master mechanic, shop owner/manager caring for vehicles and advising others on their machines, and respected for their expert advice? This is like a dentist never brushing their teeth. Say it ain’t so Joe.

I have one mower that I bought in 1988 and another I bought in 1992. When I put the mowers away for the season, I change the oil, sharpen the blades, replace the air filters, remove the spark plugs, squirt a little oil into the cylinders, turn the engine over to distribute the oil and turn the engine to the point where both valves are closed. I then put the old spark plugs back in the mowers. I then fill the gas tanks with fresh gas and add stabilizer. When mowing season starts up again in the spring, I remove the spark plug, pull the cord to dispel the excess oil, put in new spark plugs and start mowing. I had the first repair on the older mower this season. The carburetor had to be rebuilt. The newer mower has seen more use and was really burning oil. I switched it from straight 30 weight as called for in the manual to 10W-30 full synthetic a couple of years ago. The synthetic oil cut the oil consumption by 80%. However, it began using oil again this season. However, the synthetic oil bought me two more seasons of use.
These are ordinary push mowers, but they do have cast aluminum decks, so they don’t have a rust problem as mowers with stamped steel decks have.
It seems to me that taking care of equipment is cheaper than buying a cheap mower, neglecting the maintenance, and replacing it every five to seven years.


My newest piece of lawn equipment Is 18 years old. My oldest snowblower is 48. I have owned it 30 years. None of my equipment was bought new with the exception of a mini tiller.
I change oil in the 4 strokes once a year, run everything but the riding mower dry before storage and only change spark plugs if there is a starting or running problem.

Well, to be honest, apart from 2 years I owned a California Trimmer I never had a lawnmower I thought was worth maintaining. Other than the CA Trimmer I never had a real nice mower or lawn tractor. The failures I had that caused me to junk the mower were not engine related, or I moved and needed a different mower for a different yard.

We moved into this house in 2017 and I have my first self-propelled mower. Only because I couldn’t find a Honda that wasn’t. I don’t like it. Who is so lazy they can’t push a lawnmower around?

To put it in my perspective, in 1996 I bought a new Sears Craftsman lawnmower and a Snap On 3/8 air ratchet. The lawnmower lasted 8 years. The air ratchet still worked perfectly this afternoon, never been sent out for repair. The air ratchet cost twice as much as the mower. The air tool is worth oiling and greasing, the mower not so much.

The CA Trimmer I bought in 1994 cost me more than any car I had bought at that point in my life. That machine would have had regular maintenance from me, but I moved to a smaller yard and could no longer use it.

With respect, for some of us it isn’t laziness that makes us get a self propel mower. For decades I used a push mower despite having a steep yard. But age and mileage on my bad knee and hip plus worsening arthritis made me decide to get a self propel a few years back. Even so, I have to do some pushing going up the steepest slopes.

Ah yes, point taken. I suppose one day I may not be able to do all I think I can now.

Just ribbin’ ya a little. If you have 10,000 or so sq ft and some inclines, and self-propelled makes a big difference. I always liked the rear drive though instead of front. Easier to turn and get better traction. I’ve still got the Toro I must have bought back in 1980 though for $500. Still good except the carb needs some adjusting. I just have no use for it but don’t know what to do with it.

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@asemaster I’ve had some physical challenges all my life, even as a kid. Lots of things I can’t physically manage that most people easily do and take for granted. It’s frustrating but I’m grateful for what I can manage. Early in life I learned to keep going so I can keep going. :slightly_smiling_face:

The older I get, the better I was… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

@bing. My first self propel was a Cub Cadet my dad got. It was heavy but easy to control with being self propelled and it did a nice job. Unfortunately, despite proper yearly maintenance it went kaput after disappointingly few years. It was going to cost more to repair than buying a new mower on sale. So then I got the self propel Toro I have now. It’s the easiest mower I’ve ever used although it doesn’t cut as neatly as the Cub Cadet did.

Both of those have been so much better than the 1979 Lawnboy that was an endless headache to keep running. Dad had one from back in the early 1960s that was a reliable, durable workhorse. But by 1979 the quality had sadly diminished.

This spring my neighbor bought a rechargable battery operated mower. It’s very quiet! Despite it’s battery, it weighs slightly less than a gas powered mower. Only disadvantage it seems to have so far is that it doesn’t handle thick or tallish grass very well; it strains to handle the load on the motor. I’ll be interested to see how many years before the battery needs replacing.

I hate to mow and Mrs. Triedaq enjoys mowing. This would be a perfect situation except that Mrs. Triedaq has had two rotator cuff surgeries and two foot surgeries. Therefore, I don’t want her to do the mowing. The one mower she did use is an 18" Toro push mower that I bought in 1988 before we moved to our present house and our lot was smaller. When we moved, I bought a Homelite-Jacobsen recycling mower. It does a wonderful job of mulching. It is 20" wide push mower. Unfortunately, parts are no longer available and it burns oil, so now I use it mostly for mulching leaves in the fall.

I was when I was living on a property with 3/4 of an acre mowing hills that were at least 20-30 degree grade, some cases steeper.


Come mow my lawn with a push mower. First off I have over an acre of lawn. A small 21" mower will take you all day. Second - about 1/4 of the lawn is on a hill. I walk behind a 48" cut Bunton lawn mower. Still takes me over an hour to mow the lawn.