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How to Tell If My Lawnmower Is a 2 Cycle?

By Kayar Sprang
Be sure you know which type of lawnmover you are working with.
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It's crucial that you know whether your lawn mower has a 2-cycle or a 4-cycle engine. For example, each type of engine requires different fueling techniques. If you try to fuel a 2-cycle engine as you would a 4-cycle engine, it will freeze up. The engine will then likely need to be replaced. Likewise with a 4-cycle engine. Fuel it up improperly and and can foul-up, or even damage, the carburetor.

Determine how to add fuel to your lawnmower. Both types of mowers will have gas tanks, of course, but look for a crankcase with a filler tube to add oil. The top will screw off to reveal a dipstick. If there is a place to add oil separately, it's a 4-cycle engine. If you mix oil along with the gasoline when you fuel up, then that tells you it's a 2-cycle lawnmower.

Refer to the maintenance section of the owner's manual. If it instructs you to change the oil on a regular basis, as well as before you store it for the winter, then you have a 4-cycle lawnmower.

Try to start the lawnmower during the cold weather. Two-cycle engines start much easier. However, they give off more smoke. Also pay attention to the noise the lawnmower makes when it's running. A machine with a 2-cycle engine is much noisier than a machine with a 4-cycle engine.

Run the lawnmower up a steep incline. A 2-cycle engine won't lose its power like a 4-cycle engine will. It will have approximately twice as much power.


Things You Will Need

  • Lawnmower owner's manual


  • Because 2-cycle engines are smaller and lighter, they are best for small machines like leaf blowers and chainsaws. Keep that in mind when you're making the comparisons.

About the Author


Kayar Sprang has been a professional freelance writer and researcher since 1999. She has had articles published by clients like Kraft Foods, "Woman's Day" magazine and Mom Junction. Sprang specializes in subjects she has expertise in, including gardening and home improvement. She lives on and maintains a multi-acre farm.