Running an engine low on oil can have a small to significant impact on it.
It depends on how low the oil was and for how long it was run low on oil as to what damage has been done to your lawn mowers engine.
If the engine will hardly turn over, you can assume that there is considerable damage. If the engine will not turn over at all and is locked up, then that engine may have been destroyed.
It is not uncommon for someone to buy a new lawn mower and forget to add the engine oil that came with the mower. Then they begin to mow the lawn and either the engine completely locks up or the connecting rod snaps in half. With the heat buildup and lack of lubrication, something has to give.
The first thing you should do if your lawn mower engine will not turn over is to check the oil. Does it even touch the dipstick? If it does, is it black in color? Those are two tell-tale signs that you have run it dangerously low. You can also try to move the flywheel and see if you can get the engine freed up. If you can, add the proper amount of engine oil and then see if it will start. If it does start, warm it up and then change the oil once again.
If the engine is seized up and won’t turn over, it’s time to take your lawn mower to a professional small engine repair shop for analysis. You can find one by visiting our Locations page.