Zero-turn mowers are increasing in popularity because of their sweet rotation mechanism. That feature makes zero-turn mowers extremely handy. But, of course, you’d want to make the most out of such a machine while keeping it safe. So what should you feed it? What kind of gas does a zero-turn mower take?
The best gas for your mower is always the one recommended by the manufacturer. If there are no direct instructions about the fuel type, then use regular gas rated 87 octanes or premium gasses rated 91 octanes or more. In both cases, avoid gas with ethanol content above 10%
Understanding what octane ratings and ethanol percentages mean and how they would affect your zero-turn mower is essential.
We’ll tackle that while also telling you what types of gas you should avoid, along with a few extra precautionary measures.
Best Gas for Zero-Turn Mowers
When it comes to gas, there are two main things you should focus on: octane rating and ethanol. The first measures the fuel’s ability to resist “knocking.” The second is the percentage of alcohol mixed in with the gasoline.
We’ll start with octane ratings because it concerns gas quality, while ethanol content only determines how much alcohol is mixed in.
Octane rating is a number between 0 and 100.
An octane rating is a measure of how heat-resistant a fuel is. The higher the octane number, the greater the fuel’s ability to resist knocking or pinging during combustion.
This high resistance means the fuel won’t ignite before it’s supposed to.
In other words, a higher octane rating means less fuel burn and higher efficiency. That being said, you’d want your gas to have an octane rating of at least 87.
We add ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) to fuel to help oxygenate the gas. Oxygenation leads to completely burning out the fuel, which in turn helps in reducing harmful emissions.
We’d love to reduce the harmful effects of the gas we use. However, using too much ethanol will lead to faster fuel burning, reducing efficiency.
Moreover, ethanol is one of the hygroscopic materials. These materials absorb moisture and water vapor from the air.
When ethanol mixes with water, it forms a gummy-like deposit inside the fuel system, which leads to clogging.
This deposit will build up over time and damage your engine by clogging the fuel line, filter, or carburetor. That’s why you should always check the ethanol percentage before refueling to make sure that it’s not higher than 10%
You can tell how much ethanol is in your gas by looking for the letter E on the container. For example, if you see a 10% next to the letter E, that means there is 10% ethanol in your gas.
Does a Zero-Turn Mower Need Premium Gas?
The true answer to whether your lawn mower necessitates premium gas lies within the user’s manual and your reasoning for using better fuel.
Premium gasoline is any gas that has an octane rating over 91.
Deciding whether to switch your car to premium gas depends on what the owner’s manual recommends.
Some mowers have high-compression engines, and they require premium gas. These mowers work optimally only with premium gas, and regular gas would decrease their performance.
If you have one of these high-compression mowers, it’s better to stick to the manual and use the premium gas.
If your manual doesn’t directly point out that your mower needs premium gas, you could use the 87-octane gas without issues. The question is, do you need premium gas for those too?
Will Premium Gas Make My Zero Turn Run Better?
Don’t waste your money on premium gas for your lawnmower- it won’t make it run any better.
Higher octane rating only increases fuel efficiency. For example, If you have 10 liters of regular gas that generally last for 20 days, the same amount of premium gas would last for 23 days.
Throughout those 23 days, your mower won’t work any faster or cut the grass any better.
The premium gas gives you a bit more time as far as fuel usage and costs a few cents more, but that’s about it. Remember that the number of days we used is just for explanation.
What Type of Gas to Avoid for a Zero-Turn Mower?
When you need to fill your lawnmower with gasoline, the first thought is probably going to the nearby gas station and buying one or two gallons.
That sounds like the sensible thing to do. It’s just an engine, after all.
However, in most cases, it’s not a good idea. Most gas stations have fuel with up to 85% ethanol.
Any ethanol percentage above 10% will harm smaller engines like mower engines. The higher the ethanol percentage, the more harmful it would be.
High ethanol gas won’t immediately damage your mower, but if you’ve been using it for a while, have a professional check your engine.
If possible, try to avoid this in the future, as it could lead to more significant issues in the future.
Before purchasing gas for your zero-turn, there are other things to consider. Here are some questions to tips to keep in mind.
These tips will not only help you save money, but they’ll help your mower run better too.
Buy What You Need
It’s not a good idea to store gas for more than 30 days as it will start to evaporate and break down, making it less effective and potentially damaging the lawn mower engine.
We recommend getting enough gas to use within 30 days to keep your fuel system safe.
Use Fuel Additives
Fuel additives are compounds that increase the efficiency of fuel in engines. In addition, these compounds lubricate the engine parts they go through.
This reduces friction and makes the engine run smoother. As a result, your mower will use less gas while working more efficiently.
Additionally, ethanol’s water absorption could cause corrosion in the fueling system. Fuel additives reduce the risk of such corrosion.
Without delving too much into chemistry, these additives prevent the ethanol from attacking the oxide coating on the metal. That oxide coating is what prevents corrosion, so keeping it intact is necessary.
Two of the most popular fuel additives are Stabil and Sea Foam. You can get them at any auto parts store or online.
Don’t Mix Gas With Engine Oil
Unless recommended by the manufacturer, avoid mixing gas with engine oil. It could damage the engine.
Two-stroke engines are an exception. They require you to mix gas and oil in a specific ratio before adding them to the tank. The oil helps lubricate the pistons on the engines.
Mower engines could be two-stroke or four-stroke engines.
Only the two-stroke engines require mixing gas with fuel because it lubricates the pistons.
Since mower engines can be two-stroke or four-stroke, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s manual before doing anything.
Don’t Modify Your Engine
Avoid modifying your engine to run with different fuels – you may get the engine working, but damaging the fueling system by using incompatible fuel is a high risk.
Additionally, this will void your manufacturer’s warranty.
Read the Manual
This might seem pretty basic, but we can’t stress this enough. Some mowers require only regular gas; others require only premium gas.
On many other occasions, a mower can safely run on both. But, again, follow the manual’s instructions to avoid any issues.
Using the wrong fuel type against the manual’s instructions will also void the warranty.
So, what kind of gas does a zero-turn mower take? The best answer is to follow the manual. If the manufacturer isn’t recommending a specific fuel type, it’s best to use the regular 87 octanes and 10% ethanol gas.
The premium 91 and 93 octanes won’t harm your mower in that case, but they won’t improve the performance either.
Understand the difference between octane ratings and ethanol to get the right fuel for your mower.
Avoid fuels with high ethanol content, as they can cause permanent damage to your mower.
Following the manual is the key to good maintenance. Unfortunately, the warranty doesn’t cover any damage caused by not following a manufacturer’s instructions.