Changing the Oil in Your ZTR

Changing the Oil in Your ZTR

Are you changing the oil in your ZTR correctly? Cub Cadet recently changed their recommended procedure for changing the oil in their zero turning radius mowers. This new method applies to all models and will ensure maximum protection for your engine.

What You’ll Need

For information on oil change frequency, the type of oil required and the amount of oil needed, check the owner’s manual. Cub Cadet uses engines from several manufacturers in their ZTRs, and each one will have running design changes over its life that can change oil requirements. For most engines in most conditions, 10W30 motor oil is recommended. Some engines have a drain plug O-ring that needs to be replaced after every oil change.

The only tools needed are a set of wrenches and a container to collect the old oil for recycling. Depending on the engine, the oil drain plug will be either SAE or metric. The mower does not need to be lifted to access the drain plug.

Cub Cadet offers a siphon pump that will make the job easier and less messy. This draws oil out through the dipstick tube, depositing oil directly into the used oil container.

Before You Begin

– Park the mower on a flat, level surface.
– Shut off the engine and give it some time to cool off. If you just had the engine on long enough to roll it into position, it should be fine after a couple minutes. If you just finished mowing, it can take up to a half hour for the engine to fully cool. While hot oil will flow out of the engine faster, it’s not worth the chance of burning yourself on hot components.
– Engage the parking brake to keep the mower from rolling.
– Remove the ignition key and disconnect the spark plug wires to prevent an accidental start.
– Clean off the areas around the oil filler cap, oil drain plug, oil filter, and dipstick. This will keep debris from falling into the crankcase.
– Remove the dipstick. This will let air enter and exit the crankcase while you’re changing the oil.

Draining the Oil

Using a siphon pump: Place the inlet tube on the pump into the dipstick tube and the outlet tube over the oil drain pan or another suitable container. Pump the handle on the siphon three or four times. This should prime the chamber, drawing oil through the hoses. As long as the inlet tube is submerged, it will draw the old oil out of the engine and into the drain pan.

Using the drain plug: The drain plug is directly above the frame rails, so a drain hose is included to direct the oil away from the mower. Depending on the model, this hose will be fitted to the drain plug, clipped to the side of the engine or packaged separately. If the hose isn’t already installed, it can be attached by snapping it onto the end of the plug. Once in place, set a drain pan below the hose and loosen the plug. Once the crankcase is empty, tighten the plug and remove the drain hose.

Adding Oil

Remove the oil filler cap and add the oil specified in your engine owner’s manual. Put the dipstick back into the tube. After a few minutes, the oil you poured in will have made its way to the crankcase. Use the dipstick to check the oil level and add more oil as needed.

Replacing the Oil Filter

This can be done any time after the old oil has been drained and before the engine is first started. Remove the old filter. Apply some clean engine oil to the gasket of the new filter before installing it. Newer automotive-style filters can be turned until hand tight. For older bolted-on filters, check the engine manual for torque specifications.

Finishing Up

Reconnect the spark plug wires. Before you mow again, let the engine run for a few minutes to circulate the new oil.

Get the Parts You Need for Your ZTR

Do you want to make oil changes mess-free with a siphon pump? Want to use Cub Cadet OEM oil for the best engine protection? Did you lose the drain hose? No matter what you need, you can get it from We’re a certified dealer for Cub Cadet and their manufacturing partners including Kohler, Kawasaki, Briggs & Stratton, and Honda, so you can get everything for your ZTR from one place. Our site has built-in factory descriptions and parts diagrams so you can be sure you’re ordering exactly what you need. We can ship your order to any location in the U.S. or Canada.

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