These days, going to the gas station can be an experience. New gas stations are popping up around my neighborhood offering more types of fuel than my traditional gas station. It’s easy to be confused when selecting the best type of fuel for your Troy-Bilt lawn mower.
Troy-Bilt lawn mowers use unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane-rating of 87 and an ethanol level of 10 percent or less. Avoid using gasolines with ethanol contents greater than 10 percent as higher contents can cause extensive damage to the engine and fuel system.
This article addresses 4-stage (4-cycle) engines. While most Troy-Bilt lawn mowers sold today use 4-stage engines, there are many Troy-Bilt 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“.
I will share more about choosing the right types of fuel and how to care for fuel to reduce the long term effects of ethanol.
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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.
Can You Use Regular Gas in Your Troy-Bilt?
Regular gas can be used in your Troy-Bilt mower. According the the US Energy Information Administration, most gas marketed as regular gas has an octane rating of 87 and an ethanol content of 10%. It’s important to confirm the octane rating and ethanol content before purchasing any fuel as some gas stations are starting to offer a gasoline with a 15% ethanol content known as E15.
Choosing Gas for Troy-Bilt Mowers
Making the right choice when selecting gas for your Troy-Bilt mower is crucial for the longevity of your lawn mower. Using the wrong type of gas or old gas can damage your fuel system and engine.
Avoid High Ethanol Percentages in Your Troy-Bilt Gas Mower
Troy-Bilt recommends using an unleaded gasoline with no greater than a 10% ethanol level. This is also known as an E10 gasoline. The less ethanol in your gas, the better the fuel is for your small engine. While ethanol is a great environmentally friendly option for your vehicle, it isn’t good for the engine in your Troy-Bilt.
E15 and E85 gasoline are showing up at the fuel pumps. Avoid using these types of fuel that contain 15% and 85% ethanol respectively. Read the decals placed on the fuel pump to find information about the octane rating and ethanol content in the gas you are buying. You can’t always rely on the color of the pump handles because they are not always consistent from one fuel station to the next.
Here are a few details about ethanol and its effects on mowers:
- Ethanol is a corn-based fuel that is more environmentally sound.
- 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 Troy-Bilt
You may be unaware gasoline has a relatively short shelf life before it begins to lose its effectiveness and combustion properties. Gasoline begins to break down after days. Because of this, it’s important to buy fresh fuel from busy gas stations.
These are the gas stations you drive by that always has customers at the pumps. Bypass small gas stations and only buy gas from stations that cycle through gasoline frequently. Buy enough fuel for your Troy-Bilt lawn mower that you can consume in 30 days. Store any unused fuel in an approved container. Don’t just use any type of container because gas can degrade plastic over time.
Keeping unused fuel stored in a dry location and out of the rain is necessary as water in the fuel system can cause your Troy-Bilt to run terribly and rough. Ethanol also attracts moisture to your gasoline which can cause clogging in your fuel system when the ethanol moisture mixture evaporates and leaves behind gummy deposits.
If you will not be able to consume the gas you purchased within 30 days, keep reading and I’ll explain a method to stabilize your fuel so it will last longer.
Purchase High Quality Fuel for Your Troy-Bilt
Buying a more expensive fuel is not always better, but I recommend using a higher quality fuel with your mower with less ethanol is if you can afford it. If you choose to use non-ethanol fuel, it can be pricey costing up to $2.00 more per gallon at the fuel pump or substantially more when purchasing in canisters from your local hardware store.
Recreation Fuel REC-90: The ethanol-free gas at the local gas station is known as recreation fuel or REC-90. Not all gas stations sell this type of gas. You can check for local stations in your area that sell recreation fuel at pure-gas.org. They provide fuel station locations in the United States and Canada.
4-Cycle Fuel Canisters: Ethanol-free gas is sold in canisters at your local hardware store or online.
If you buy higher-end fuel for your Troy-Bilt and worry you will not use all of it, there are some ways to keep gas fresh using a fuel additive to stabilize your fuel. You do not need to add a fuel stabilizer to recreation or 4-cycle canned fuel because it doesn’t contain ethanol, but it won’t hurt if you accidentally add it.
The best option for storing any unused gas for later use is to do as follows:
- Use a plastic gas can that is designed for unleaded gas. Make sure that you are using a quality gas can; some plastic containers are not made to store gas and will break down.
- Add a fuel additive to the can along with the extra gas that you are not using right away. This will help keep any gas that you may have leftover as fresh as possible. I like a product called Sea Foam Engine Treatment. Read more about the advantages of Sea Foam.
- 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.
- Before adding new gas, always empty out the gas can you are currently using. Use any gas that has been stored first. This will ensure you are not letting gas sit for months at a time and adding fresh gas to old gas.
- At the end of the season, if you have any gas remaining in the can, discard of this appropriately. This can often be added to your car or other machines if needed. You never want a gas can to sit for months after the season is over.
Why Is My Troy-Bilt Mower Leaking Fuel?
Problems can develop in your fuel system where gasoline damages or corrodes your fuel parts causing them to fail or leak. You may be able to smell or recognize fuel leaks with wet spots on the mower or burn marks in your lawn, but you may not be able to find the leak.
I put together a list of common areas known to leak on your Troy-Bilt lawn mower. You can find it in my article, “Your Troy-Bilt Lawn Mower is Leaking Gas”.