Old or bad gasoline in your John Deere mower can cause many problems. When your mower can’t get a good supply of fresh gasoline with a low ethanol content, you will encounter starting and running problems due to clogging and deterioration of your fuel components. Running the wrong fuel in your John Deere can cause damage to your engine. Read on and I’ll explain the right gas to use.
This article addresses 4-stage (4-cycle) engines. While most John Deere lawn mowers sold today use 4-stage engines, there are many John Deere push mowers with 2-cycle engines still being used that require a gas and oil mix. Read more about 2-cycle fuel requirements in “This is the Gas to Use in a Push Mower“.
Can You Use Regular Gas in Your John Deere?
Regular Gas can be used in your John Deere 4-stage gas-powered lawn mower as long as it has ethanol content no greater than 10 percent. Gas marketed as regular gas generally has an octane rating of 87 according the US Energy Information Administration which is the minimum rating required for your small engine.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual prior to diagnosing, repairing or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
Choosing Gas for John Deere Mowers
With so many different gas options on the market today, you may be questioning the selection of gas you make for your John Deere lawn mower. You may be wondering if it even makes a difference as to what type you choose. There are a few different items to consider before you select and buy fuel for your mower to make sure the gas doesn’t negatively affect your mower.
Avoid Using Gas with High Ethanol Percentages in Your John Deere Mower
Don’t use gasoline with an ethanol content greater than 10 percent. The lower the ethanol level, the better. Ethanol is an environmentally friendly fuel additive found in fuels today. While the addition of ethanol may be more environmentally sound than fuels without ethanol, it is not good to run in the small engine of your John Deere mower.
Read the label on the fuel pump to find the amount of ethanol included in a gasoline. You will also find the octane level on a label or button on your fuel pump. Beware of fuels that contain higher levels of ethanol often sold as E15 and E85 gasolines. These fuels can cause significant engine damage as they contain a level of ethanol at 15 percent and 85% respectively.
Here are a few details about ethanol:
- It is a corn-based fuel that is more environmentally sound.
- Ethanol works well in most motor vehicles. It is damaging to small gas engines.
- Ethanol-based gas attracts moisture from the air which causes gas to separate from ethanol.
- Separated gas sinks to the bottom of the fuel tank. Separated ethanol will be fed through the engine causing ignition problems for your mower. Ethanol can leave gummy deposits damaging your fuel components.
- Ethanol is corrosive and can burn very hot causing your engine to overheat. This can cause significant damage.
Buy Fresh Gas for Your John Deere
Gasoline does not have a long shelf life. It can begin to break down and lose its effectiveness as soon as 30 days. It is best to buy gas from a busy gas station and only buy a supply that can be used within 30 days.
Store any extra fuel in an approved fuel container away from any moisture. If you are unable to use your gas within the 30-day period, it is best to stabilize your fuel to prevent moisture buildup. I explain more in the next section.
Purchase High Quality Fuel for Your John Deere
Spending money on more expensive isn’t always better, but I recommend a higher quality fuel for your mower if it’s in your budget. Running an ethanol-free gasoline is best, but it can get very pricey depending on how you purchase it.
Ethanol-Free Fuels: You can buy gasoline that does not contain fuel two different ways: in fuel canisters and at the fuel pump. Purchasing at the hardware store in canisters is more expensive than purchasing gas at the fuel pump.
- 4-Cycle Fuel Canisters: Ethanol-free gas is sold in canisters at your local hardware store or online.
- Recreation Fuel REC-90: Some gas stations carry ethanol-free fuel sold as recreation fuel or REC-90. To find a local gas station in the United States and Canada visit at pure-gas.org.
Use a Fuel Additive to Stabilize the Fuel in Your John Deere
Fuel can get expensive and you don’t want it to go bad. It is best to add a fuel additive to your fuel to keep it from retaining moisture and separating. This is recommended for all gas that contains ethanol. You do not need to add a stabilizer to non-ethanol fuels, although it won’t hurt if you do.
Mix fuel stabilizer with your gas each time you fill up your fuel tank and when storing any fuel. Refer to the instructions on the additive bottle for mixing. I use a product called Sea Foam Fuel Treatment to stabilize and clean a mower’s fuel system. Read more about the advantages of using Sea Foam in this article.
More John Deere Mower Fuel Problems
If you are experiencing fuel problems in your John Deere lawn mower, I have put together a couple of articles to help.