Better Oil-Briggs or Valvoline

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by John_99_2007, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. John_99_2007

    John_99_2007 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    I'd love some advice guys.

    Straight SAE 30 oil seems to be recommended for most mower engines unless using synthetic.

    I can buy Valvoline SAE30 or Pennzoil SAE30 for about half the price of Briggs SAE30.

    Also, the "auto" oil meets higher modern standards. The "mower" oil says it is made especially for small 4 strokes, but it seems they're just trying to sell a more expensive oil.

    My assumption is that the "auto" oil is both better and cheaper.

    Am I wrong?

    My mowing is in warm conditions (mostly 70-100 F) under light to medium workloads (weekly residential-no brush or field mowing)

    I'd appreciate ANY input in this area.
  2. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    I don't know if the auto oil is actually better, but I don't think it's any worse. I always use Penzoil SAE10W-30 for my mowers. I have noticed no problems ever. I don't know why the Briggs would be so much more expensive.
  3. gary6768

    gary6768 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    I use Super Tech SAE 30 from Walmart. I've used it for several years and never had a problem.
  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    I have been using synthetic Mobil 1 15w-50 in all my mowers & tillers. However I will be switching over to Shell Diesel rated synthetic Rotella 5w-40 because it's has a bit more of the good stuff that is now being pulled out of gasoline rated oils that are wear additives due to catalytic converter issues. Also less money. It is a highly praised sleeper product that is overlooked and has a great cost benefit ratio. I also run this oil in all of my cars & trucks. Yes it's also rated for gas engines. Most engine wear occurs at cold start up so why not give your equipment to benefit of better protection upon start up?

    The brigs oil is fine but is probably repackaged automotive oil of some sort or brand.

    If you're concerned about synthetic not allowing the rings to seat properly on break-in go with a diesel rated oil in the 15w-40 range. Then switch to synthetic after 40 hours or so.

    You can find more info on oil and other lubricants than you ever wanted to know at
  5. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Messages: 2,419

    Oil sold by small engine manufacturers has been derived and has additives to help protect at higher temperatures experienced by air cooled engines. But you guys do what you want.. it's your engine.

    MOW PRO LAWN SERVICE LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

    OIL is oil,i would think a vehicle is running at high temps.
  7. John_99_2007

    John_99_2007 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127


    What exactly are the additives designed for air cooled engines?

    Trust me- if it is better, I want to use the "mower" oil. It's only a few dollars we're talking about. It just seems they're in a good position to charge more for the same thing- when someone buys a mower and then sees "Briggs and Stratton Oil-Perfect For Your Engine" they just buy it because it seems like what they should use. That buyer doesn't consider any alternatives.

    I just wan't to consider half price alternatives if they're the same quality for my motors.

    Please pass along any specific info so I can learn as much as possible.
  8. TSG

    TSG LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 444

    The motorcycycle world has proven that synthetics can run up to 20 degress
    cooler. Air cooled engines do better with synthetics.
    The additive package is what can make them expensive.
    I run amsoil 10-30 4 stroke, but if I needed to add a quart and didn't have any,
    I would not hesitate to add 20-50 in the summer and 0-30 in the spring and Fall
    Just remember Synthetics are better but dust and dirt can hurt a motor before the oil breaks down,,,,,change/ clean the air filter ofter
    Just my .02
  9. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Ok lets get picky here. You want the best possible oil money can buy then how about an air cooled specific high temp oil for your Harley or your mower. The old Advanced Formula of Mobil1 15w-50, over 5 years ago, was very similar to this oil is un unused analysis. Now I seriously doubt that current Mobil1 15w-50 has all the good stuff in it due to the current catalytic converter requirements. If you spend hours of searching on you can find it.

    I'm 100% sure the Motor Cycle 20w-50 oil is far better than the 30wt Brigs oil hands down.

    In my earlier post I mentioned that I was using Mobil1 15w-50. I also cheat a bit and add small quantites of ZDDP additive or some Valvoline Synpower which has even more of the good stuff that has been striped out in most of today's modern oils to meet catalytic converter requirements. Don't believe me - check out the site listed above.

    Mobil 1 V-Twin 20W-50
    Formulated specifically for four-cycle V-twin engines. Key benefits of Mobil 1® V-Twin 20W-50:

    Outstanding resistance to thermal breakdown.

    Optimized for hot-running, air-cooled engines.

    Enhanced lubrication for peak horsepower.

    Protects engines against harmful dirt deposits.

    Excellent transmission performance.
  10. MeadowsLawnCare

    MeadowsLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 192

    Ive ran the briggs oil and ive ran regular car oil. The only difference i saw was the briggs oil was blacker faster than my valvoline.... I use valvoline 30w and it does good.

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