Does your lawn care company mow a property and then roll your hot mowers back into an enclosed landscaping trailer only to be hauled to the next job site and never really get a chance to cool off? Have you considered using a synthetic oil to combat the negative effects of heat on your commercial mower? Let’s see how some lawn care business owners feel about the use of synthetic oil.
Chuck: “The biggest negative I have found is that here in Florida it’s damn hot. So when we run these commercial mowers for 8-11 minutes at a time & load them up, drive 2 minutes & repeat all day… they don’t really get to cool down. An open trailer would at least let air blow past them. But since I have an enclosed trailer I have offset this engine heat problem by running full synthetic oil in all my mowers to add some protection against the added heat & we usually end up throwing the trimmers in the back of the trucks between jobs to cool off.”
Keith: ” I’ve always been a big believer in non-synthetic oil. Trying to decide if my steadfastness needs reexamination.
- Can you give me the low-down on what you think about synth?
- Have you altered your oil change schedule?
- Oil filter change schedule?
- Noticed any change in engine RPM? Engine noise?”
Chuck: “I still change the oil in the commercial lawn mowers every 50 hours & the filter every 100 as suggested by the manufacturer. The oil in the mower gets too dirty. It’s the dirt & contaminants that will scratch & wear parts even with synthetic oils. I was in the automotive field for years. I ran an independant shop, & was a service advisor for both a Ford dealership, then a second dealership in which I delt with Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Mazda & Hyundai. For one, I saw too many cases where a guy would come in with a car or truck pushing 150,000-200,000 miles, the common denominator in these was always something like “yeah, I’ve had her since she was new & ran full synthetic since the 2nd oil change…. I’ve replaced the alternator 3 times & the tranny twice but the engine is still untouched other than tune ups & maintenence etc.”
Though it shouldn’t happen, mechanics make mistakes from time to time, I’ve seen many oil plugs left out or times when the wrong oil filter was installed & the end result was a seized motor after about 5 minutes of driving oil starved. I’ve seen a few cases where an engine was run out of oil for reasons like this & was fine…. Again the vehicles were always run on synthetic oil which coats the parts better & continued to protect even after most was drained out. I know a guy who was a mechanic, changed his own oil in a Toyota truck, accidentally double gasketed the filter, blew the oil out & didn’t notice until the engine seized about 2 weeks later. He drove that truck 40+ miles to & 40+ back from work everyday, he ran synthetic in it. Most manufacturers will tell you let a new car break in for 3,000-6,000 miles before switching to synthetics as if you do it right off the show room floor the engine will never get a chance to break in! That’s some serious lubrication. The best high performance engines in the world require synthetic oil & even specify brand of oil (Corvette, Mercedes, Bmw, Porche). Even the newer Hondas, Fords & Hyundai require 5w20. This is a light weight oil but it is full synthetic non-the-less, no choice. There is no conventional 5w-20 made.”
Keith: “That definitely helps. Especially from the perspective you gained running the shop.
The thing that has bothered me most over the years are the claims I’ve heard that you can run synthetic in autos for 10,000 to 12,000 miles without changing. This just seems reckless to me since oil collects dirt and particles irrespective of if it’s synthetic or not.”
Chuck: “I will tell you, with synthetic oils I have found that once you run a car on synthetic for more than 1 or 2 oil change cycles it is more likely to start leaking oil from the seals & gaskets if you ever switch back to conventional oil. I imagine the same may very well hold true in mower engines. So If you switch, stick with it. Even in my vehicles I change the oil at the regular 3, 000 mile interval even with synthetic.
For the extra few dollars per oil change…. It’s likely to get you an extra few hundred hours or more from the engines.”
I hope this discussion gives you more insight into how using synthetic oil and changing it regularly can add more life to your mowers. A longer engine life means you will be making more profit from the same mower. If you would like to join in on this discussion further visit this post at the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.