There are several ways to power a zero turn mower including gasoline, diesel, propane and a battery. This article is about the most widely sold type of zero turn mower: the gas-powered zero turn.
Running the wrong type of gas or old gas can cause damage to the fuel system and engine resulting in a significant repair bill. Take time to learn more about gasoline and how to properly care for it.
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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 for Zero Turn Lawn Mowers?
The best gas to use in a zero turn mower is an unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher and an ethanol content of 10% or less.
Some things to keep in mind when purchasing fuel for your zero turn lawn mower:
- Only use fresh gasoline and don’t let it sit for extended periods of time.
- Store in a dry area to prevent water from mixing with the gas.
- Use a gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher.
- Make sure the gasoline has no more than a 10% ethanol content. The lower the content the better.
Choosing Gas for Your Zero Turn Lawn Mower
Gas stations today are offering more types of fuel beyond the standard regular, premium and diesel fuels. You can find E15 (15% ethanol content), E85 (85% ethanol content), REC90 (ethanol-free fuel) and more types added to the fuel line-up. With so many options, it can get confusing trying to select the right gas for your zero turn mower.
Buy Fresh Gas for Your Zero Turn Lawn Mower
Because can begin to breakdown and become less effective as quickly as 30 days after purchase, it’s important you buy fresh unleaded gas with a low ethanol content. Only buy enough fuel that you are able to consume within 30 days to protect your fuel system.
If you do end up purchasing more fuel than you can use this quickly, you must stabilize it using a fuel additive. I discuss the use of fuel additives and my recommendation a little further into the article.
Avoid High Amounts of Ethanol in your Zero Turn Lawn Mower
Ethanol is added to most gasolines. This is a corn-based fuel used to make traditional gasolines a more friendly to the environment. Some ethanol is okay to run in most vehicles without harm, however ethanol can have a negative effect on the small engine used in your zero turn mower.
Avoid using gasoline that has an ethanol content greater than 10%. This includes fuels sold as E15 and E85 which contains ethanol levels at 15% and 85% respectively.
Ethanol naturally attracts moisture from the air. This mixture can leave behind gummy deposits clogging the fuel system. In addition, it can separate from the gas in the tank sinking to the bottom. This mixture will run hot in the engine and potentially cause damage.
Purchase a High-Quality Fuel for Your Zero Turn Lawn Mower
While buying expensive isn’t always best, I do recommend buying the best quality gas with a low ethanol content if you can afford to. Another option for fuel is an ethanol-free fuel. Ethanol-free fuel, also known as recreation fuel is the best option to run in a gas-powered zero turn mower. It has less damaging effects on your fuel system than regular gas because it doesn’t break down like fuels that contain ethanol.
Ethanol free fuels are more expensive, especially if you are purchasing it in canisters at your local hardware store. The more economical way to purchase gasoline is at the fuel station.
Many fuel stations are adding ethanol-free fuel as an option. This type of fuel is often marketed as recreation fuel or REC-90. You can look for a gas station that sells ethanol-free fuel at www.pure-gas.org.
Use a Fuel Additive in Your Zero Turn Lawn Mower
While ethanol-free fuel is best, I use a high quality unleaded gasoline with a low ethanol content. I just make sure to add a fuel additive to each tank of fuel to reduce the fuel supply problems I may encounter by running old fuel.
The fuel additive I prefer is Sea Foam Motor Treatment. The product not only is good for the engine, it stabilizes my fuel up to two years, reduces moisture and acts as a fuel system cleaner. This product should be used in your fuel tank when storing excess fuel and when storing your lawn mower with fuel during the off-season. Read more about the advantage of Sea Foam here.