I have a Craftsman lawn tractor with an 18.5 HP Intek Engine (97700 series). The manual says it holds 3.5 pints of oil; however, when I change the oil, I am lucky if I can get 2 pints out. (That is if I drain the oil while the engine is warm.) I know that some oil will remain in the engine; but, shouldn't I be able to drain close to 3 of the 3.5 pints?

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    Do you check the level regularly? Did you check it before you drained? Perhaps it used (burned) some oil during the service interval. How much does it take to refill it to the correct level?
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 16:25
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    The amount of oil in the crank case would be the best answer. My lawn tractors have oil filters that hold some of the oil. Make sure not to over fill when adding fresh oil and a filter but check the oil level after running for a few minutes.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 16:26
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    VTC. UI only allows me to suggest META as alternate site. I would suggest Motor Vehicles or Gardening.
    – Chris Cudmore
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 17:24
  • @ChrisCudmore I don't think motor vehicles covers small engines, but I'll check with gardening to see if they want it.
    – Tester101
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 11:37

1 Answer 1


It doesn't sound terribly alarming; check the level periodically throughout the season to make sure oil isn't leaking or burning off. Most likely you just can't drain it all.

To begin with the oil filter holds a fair amount. It wouldn't be surprising if there was a pint of oil left in the pleats. Also, if the engine is warm chances are a small amount hasn't drained back yet, so there's a couple ounces.

To top it all off the tractor probably drains from the side rather than the bottom of the engine, which isn't the lowest point unless you parked with the opposite side tires up an incline. On a flat surface another couple of ounces may be pooled and not draining.

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