You’re getting your lawn tractor ready for spring and making sure you have a full tank of gasoline. While choosing the correct gas for your lawn tractor doesn’t seem that important, it is extremely important especially if you run the wrong type of gas through your tractor.
Old gas can cause damage to the fuel system and engine resulting in a significant repair bill. Take time to learn more about gasoline, its effects, and how to care for it so you don’t cause harm to your lawn tractor.
This article addresses gas-powered lawn tractors. There are lawn tractors on the market that use diesel fuel. If you are unsure what type of lawn tractor you own, consult your operator’s manual. You never want to use diesel in a gas-powered lawn tractor or gas in a diesel-powered lawn tractor.
What is the Best Gas to Use in a Lawn Tractor?
A lawn tractor requires unleaded gasoline with a minimum 87-octane rating and a maximum ethanol content of 10%. This type of gas is often sold as regular gas or E10 gas.
While this gasoline can be used in a lawn tractor, the best gas for a lawn tractor is ethanol-free gasoline which is more expensive. Read more to better determine which type of gas will be best for you.
Tips for Choosing Gas for Your Lawn Tractor
Buy Fresh Gas for your Lawn Tractor
Gasoline can begin to break down and become less effective as soon as 30 days after purchase. Buy only enough gas that can be consumed within 30 days so it doesn’t sit around for long periods of time.
If you do end up buying more gasoline than you are able to use, treat your fuel with an additive to stabilize the gas and minimize moisture buildup.
I add Sea Foam Motor Treatment to my gasoline to help reduce moisture and keep the fuel system clean. Read more about why I like Sea Foam here.
Avoid High Amounts of Ethanol in Your Lawn Tractor Gas
Ethanol is a corn-based product added to most types of gasoline to make them a little environmentally friendly. Ethanol-based gas attracts moisture from the air.
When this gasoline breaks down, the ethanol and water mixture will separate from the gasoline and sink to the bottom of the tank.
The ethanol and water mixture will cause gumming in the fuel system and degradation of the fuel components. In addition, it can potentially overheat the engine. This solution runs very hot and can cause significant engine damage.
Be careful when choosing gas. Higher concentrations of ethanol are showing up at fuel stations today. You can find E15, E30, and E85 fuels containing ethanol levels of 15%, 30%, and up to 85% respectively.
Purchase High-Quality Fuel for Your Lawn Tractor
While you don’t need to run the highest quality fuel on the market through your lawn tractor, I do recommend running a high-quality fuel especially if you aren’t going to take the time to make sure you use the gasoline timely or take time to stabilize the fuel to last longer.
Ethanol-free fuel doesn’t damage the fuel system like a gas than includes ethanol does. Ethanol-free fuel is more expensive than regular gas. You can find this fuel in canisters sold at your local hardware store or at the fuel pump sold as recreational fuel (REC-90).
Recreational fuel can cost up to $3.00 more per gallon than regular fuel. Purchasing ethanol-free fuel in canisters is more expensive than at the fuel pump, but it is convenient. Canisters are a great option when running in equipment with small fuel tanks.
If you choose to use ethanol-free fuel in your lawn tractor, I recommend purchasing it at a fuel station. Not all fuel stations carry this type of fuel. Visit puregas.org to find a list of fuel stations in the United States and Canada that carry this type of fuel.
You do not need to use a fuel additive to stabilize ethanol-free fuel. If you accidentally add it, you don’t need to drain the tank. It won’t hurt to run the fuel additive through your lawn tractor, but it won’t help either.
Tips for Using Gas in Your Lawn Tractor
- Buy fresh gasoline from a busy gas station.
- Use unleaded gasoline with no more than a 10% ethanol content.
- Gas must have a minimum 87-octane rating.
- Use gas within 30 days.
- Use a fuel additive to stabilize fuel that will not be used within 30 days.
- Store fuel away from the outdoor elements.
- Do not store fuel near combustible items.
Old Fuel Can Cause Fuel Problems in Your Lawn Tractor
Old fuel can cause clogging and degradation of the fuel system. This can contribute to fuel leaks and blockages in your lawn tractor’s fuel system. Check out these two guides to find a fuel leak and determine why your lawn tractor isn’t getting fuel:
- Fuel Leaking from Your Lawn Tractor
- Lawn Tractor Not Getting Fuel