I am house-sitting for my parents and I tried to cut the grass. In summary, I accidentally topped up the oil (thinking it was petrol, and running low) with a load of petrol. It took 10 mins of trying to start the engine to realise my stupid, stupid mistake. The lawn mower is a Mountfield SP536.

Is this even fixable, and if so, how do I do that?

  • 2
    Gasoline aka petrol, will not damage anything in the crankcase, tho' of course running the mower without proper lubrication is bad -- and the petrol might ignite inside the crankcase. But as Tester101 answered, draining and refilling with oil will reduce any residual petrol to inconsequential amounts. – Carl Witthoft Aug 15 '16 at 14:33
  1. Drain the oil.
  2. Refill with new clean oil.

Check the manufacturer's documentation for oil change procedure, and type of oil to add.

Looks like the drain plug on your mower is just below the oil filler tube.

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To change the oil:

  1. Remove the spark plug cap.
  2. Tip the mower so that the oil can drain without flowing across the deck (Make sure the mower is secure before proceeding).
  3. Put an oil pan under the drain (use a funnel if necessary).
  4. Remove the drain plug (be careful not to drop it in the oil pan).
  5. Allow oil to drain.
  6. Replace drain plug.
  7. Set mower flat.
  8. Fill with recommended oil to fill line indicated on dip stick.
  9. Wipe up any spilled oil.
  10. Replace spark plug cap.


  • To prevent accidental starts, always remove the spark plug cap before working on a lawn mower.
  • If the drain plug has a gasket washer on it, moisten the gasket with a bit of new motor oil before installing the plug.
  • Be very careful, you will be draining a highly flammable mixture. – David Schwartz Aug 15 '16 at 22:04
  • 1
    I suspect that you have additional problems if the mower did not start after 10 mins. of trying (assuming there was petrol in the petrol tank. Petrol in the oil would not have prevented it from starting. – Jimmy Fix-it Aug 16 '16 at 1:48
  • @JimmyFix-it I'm assuming the OP added the petrol to the oil, instead of the gas tank. – Tester101 Aug 16 '16 at 1:58

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