A 4-stage push mower uses an unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher and an ethanol content of 10% or less. Push mowers with a 4-cycle (4-stage) engine have a fill port for gasoline and a separate fill port for engine oil. Never use an oil and gas mix in a 4-cycle engine.
While this article addresses push mowers with 4-cycle engines, push mowers with 2-cycle engines will only have one fill port for an oil and gasoline mix. The most common gas to oil ratios are 50:1, 40:1 or 32:1. Follow the recommended ratio found in your operator’s manual. Read more about 2-cycle engine requirement in “This is the Gas to Use in a Push Mower (Getting it Wrong Can Damage it)“.
Gasoline can have negative effects on your push mower. Knowing the best gasoline to use along with how to properly care for that gasoline will help minimize fuel problems developing in your push mower. Follow all safety guidelines in your operators when draining or fueling our push mower.
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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.
What is the Best Gas to Use in a Push Mower?
While most push mowers use unleaded gasoline, some will require other styles of gasoline, and it is critical that you look over your manufacturers’ guide to see what works best for your push mower. However, if you are using any major brand current push mower that has a 4-cycle engine, traditional unleaded gasoline will be the best choice.
Again, use an unleaded gasoline with a low ethanol content as ethanol can cause fuel complications and engine problems in your push mower. While using a gas with an ethanol content no greater than 10% can be used in your push mower, the best gas to use in a push mower is an ethanol-free gasoline.
Choosing Gas for Your Push Mower
When selecting the gasoline for your push mower, making sure you purchase fresh gas with a low ethanol content is important.
Always Buy Fresh Gas for Your Push Mower
Many push mower owners full up a plastic gas can to keep extra fuel on hand so they have gas on hand when their mower runs out of fuel. Gas can begin to breakdown and become less potent as soon as 30 days after purchase.
It’s best to purchase the amount of fuel you will consume within 30 days. Purchase your gasoline from larger well-known gas stations to ensure you are getting a good quality fuel that some smaller gas stations may not offer.
If you are unable to use gasoline that quickly, add a fuel additive to stabilize the gas.
Avoid High Amounts of Ethanol in the Gas for Your Push Mower
Ethanol, a corn-based product added to most gasolines, works well in our cars and trucks, but can be damaging to the small engines found in push mowers. Ethanol-based gas naturally attracts moisture from the air. This water and ethanol solution causes gumming and corrosion in the fuel system.
Gas can be the cause your push mower doesn’t get fuel because of fuel restrictions and fuel component failures.
Over time, the water and ethanol mixture will separate from the gas and sit at the bottom of the fuel tank. Running this solution through your push mower can cause the engine to run very hot potentially causing significant engine damage.
Purchase High Quality Fuel for Your Push Mower
Buying more expensive unleaded gas is not always the best, but I do highly recommend purchasing ethanol-free fuel as this doesn’t damage your fuel system like ethanol-based gas does. This type of gas can be found at the pump at fuel stations or in canisters at your hardware store.
Recreation fuel (REC-90), an ethanol-free fuel, is sold at select gas stations. It can be up to $3.00 per gallon more expensive than regular gas. You can find a list of fuel stations in the United States and Canada that carry that recreation fuel at puregas.org.
Canisters of 4-cycle fuel can be purchased at your hardware store or online. This is definitely the most expensive way to purchase ethanol-free fuel, but it is very convenient. If you are running a small push mower or smaller handheld equipment, this is a great convenient option to have sitting on your shelf.
If you buy higher-end gas and worry you will not use all of it, there are some ways to keep gas fresh. The best way to store gas is adding an additive to stabilize your fuel.
Here are a few tips when storing gasoline:
- Use a plastic gas can that is designed for unleaded gas. Other types of plastic containers can breakdown.
- Store gas in a cool dry place away from the outdoor elements and moisture.
- Add a fuel additive to stabilize your fuel while the fuel is fresh. Once your fuel begins to degrade, the additive is not able to reverse the process. I like a fuel additive called Sea Foam because it reduces moisture buildup, stabilizes and cleans your fuel system. Read more about the advantages of Sea Foam in my article.
- Try to avoid buying more than a 30-day supply of gas. The quicker you use the gas, the better. However, it can be hard to know exactly how much you have in your tank and how much you will need with each mowing.
- Always rotate the gas you store to use the oldest fuel first.
If you have any questions concerning your push mower, the manufacturer’s guide is always a great place to start for additional help.