No Oil Change, No Problem For New Briggs & Stratton Lawnmower Engine

It’s a dirty task that most homeowners probably wish they could avoid (and some skip altogether): changing the oil in their lawnmower engine.

Now they won’t have to, thanks to a new product from Briggs & Stratton (NYSE: BGG). The Wauwatosa, WI-based small engine and power equipment manufacturer says it has developed a new engine for walking lawnmowers that can go the decade or so lifespan of the mower without needing an oil change, according to an article by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The enabling technology is a tightly sealed air filter that blocks out dirt, which could sully the oil, and a new cooling fan and engine design that funnels exhaust heat away from the oil, so that it doesn’t break down, the newspaper reported. The engine will hit the market this spring in certain Toro, Craftsman, Snapper, Troy-Bilt, and Yard Machines walking mowers.

Briggs developed the engine in response to research that found consumers generally understand that regularly changing the oil can extend the lawnmower’s lifespan, but they don’t always follow through because it’s a messy task that involves draining and throwing away the spent oil.

The new product might not generate the kind of hype usually reserved for fancy consumer gadgets or lifesaving drugs, but it’s an example of a big corporation trying to innovate in its field.

Briggs, founded more than a century ago, has made some moves in the past couple of years to free up money for research and development, and it restructured its hierarchy so that the R&D team reports directly to CEO Todd Teske. That has partly led to a flurry of new lawnmower products, including the new engine that doesn’t require an oil change, a quieter lawnmower motor, and an engine that doesn’t leak fuel or oil when stored on its side.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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5 responses to “No Oil Change, No Problem For New Briggs & Stratton Lawnmower Engine”

  1. Rick says:

    Jeff nice story, as you probably know the engine pictured in this article is not our new engine, it is mfg in China by someone else, ours is built in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, I would be happy to supply you a pic of the Industry first lawn mower engine the “Never Needs a Oil Change” rick@briggs.

  2. Maureen says:

    I am a 76 year old widow who bought a Murray with Model 80000 450e series, 625ex.
    Do I need to change out the oil, or can I just add to it?
    Thanls

  3. Maureen says:

    PS
    I made an error. It is a 625ex series.

  4. Patrick James says:

    I usually get more than 10 years out of my mowers with yearly maintenance and synthetic oil. I have a mulching MTD with a 6.25 Quantum that is still going strong. I have regularly changed the oil, air-filter (and pre-filter in dusty environments), and spark-plug. I have two blades that I sharpen and change out twice a season and have had to change the muffler once (very easy). I’ll take an engine with a drain feature every time…

  5. overboosted says:

    Unofficially, this is what many homeowners did anyway. Add oil when necessary, but never actually change it because it was too much of a hassle. Heck, some people don’t even bother checking the level, so the engine just seizes up after a few years when the oil runs out and then a new mower is purchased, starting the product cycle all over again.

    According to a $6 hour meter, I spend about 25 hours a year cutting the grass. Over the course of 10 years, that’s 250 hours of running time. 250 hours is about the interval where I change the oil in my cars, but attain the 250 hours in several months, not several years.

    It is totally reasonable to think that if B&S fills their engines with a high quality synthetic oil, and that is checked and topped off regularly – the engine will go for 250+ hours without any lubrication related problems. Over time, the fuel system is a lot more likely to need service because the owner leaves fuel in the tank in storage.

    Me – I’d probably change the oil every few seasons on the new engines, as I tend to keep power equipment longer than most folks. My lawn mower is a 1984 Craftsman with an “Eager 1” engine. It still looks good and runs strong. The blade gets sharpened twice a season and the oil and air filter gets changed every other season. You don’t have to over maintain them for them to last a long time.