The engine is one of the most important parts of a lawnmower. Vanguard introduced its Oil Guard System a few years ago. Maybe you've heard of it or maybe you own one. They are currently only offered on a select few brands including Ferris, Snapper Pro, Simplicity, and Spartan. If you want to see a great mower with the Oil Guard System, check out the Ferris IS3300.
Update: the oil guard system is now sold across the industry. It can be found on many brands of mowers including Spartan, Toro, Exmark, and Scag. This technology will probably continue to expand across brands.
Vanguard is Briggs and Stratton's commercial-grade engine. They have been around a long time and have made huge advancements in their commercial engines in the past 10 years. The Oil Guard System may very well be one of the best additions to the small engine industry in some time.
The engine is said to be able to go 500 hours of run time between oil changes. This is a huge deal when considering this in the scope of a lawn care company. This can lead to a lot of money saved and a ton of time. The normal engine usually needs to have the oil changed every 50-100 hours.
What is the Oil Guard System?
The Oil Guard System is similar to a dry-sump system. These types of engines have been in Nascar and motorcycles for a very long time. It isn't a new technology, it is, however, new to the small engine industry.
The Oil Guard System features a large (5 quart) external tank that stores the engine's oil. It has two hoses that lead to the crankcase of the engine. One of the hoses sends the oil down to the crankcase while the other hose pumps oil out of the crankcase and into the external tank.
This allows the oil to run much cooler than a traditional engine. They claim the engine oil runs about 15 degrees cooler than normal. Since the oil is pumped into the crankcase this also allows the engine to run more efficiently on hills without starving any of the pistons of oil.
The filter (pictured above) also helps with filtering the oil better than a traditional engine. It is more efficient at filtering small particles and more of the particles that can build up in engine oil over time. This should ultimately allow the engine to run longer.
Above is a video from Vanguard that explains how the Oil Guard System works. It seems to be very well-thought-out technology. We really like the theory behind the concept. An engine running cooler and cleaner is always a better thing!
How to Change the Oil
The Oil Guard System features a toolless oil change. That's right! Not a single tool is needed. We have actually changed the oil in this engine several times and can attest that it is actually very simple and we didn't need a single tool.
If you want to see how truly simple it is to change the oil in this engine check out the video below.
What kind of oil does the Vanguard 28 hp oil guard engine take?
The recommended oil for the oil guard system is either synthetic 15w-50 or synthetic 5w-30. In most cases, synthetic 15w-50 will be best. The only reason for the 5w-30 oil is if you are in an area that experiences extremely cold temperatures.
Below is a chart from Vanguard's manual that shows the different temperatures for each oil.
How many quarts of oil does a Vanguard oil guard hold?
The oil guard system takes 6 quarts of oil. Most of this (about 4 quarts) is held in the oil guard tank and circulated throughout the engine. The Vanguard 810 (28 hp) holds about 2.1 quarts of oil within the engine.
How much does an oil filter for the Vanguard Oil Guard Engine cost?
The Vanguard oil guard filter is a little expensive compared to traditional filters, but you must remember there are 500 hours between oil changes. This is 5 – 10 times longer than a traditional engine's oil change. So with this considered, it actually isn't that expensive.
Who is the Oil Guard System for?
This system is mainly intended for lawn care businesses or anyone that mows a lot of hours. The main advantage of the Oil Guard is to save on oil changes and prolonged engine life. So if you aren't at least a few hundred hours per season it doesn't make much sense to invest in this technology.
Does it really save money?
Ferris claims that the Oil Guard System saves about 60% on oil maintenance compared to a regular engine. If you factor in the time spent changing oil this may be even higher.
We have seen the engine to last longer than others as well which can also lead to savings. These engines are made to save on oil maintenance, save downtime changing oil, and extend engine life. All of those combined are most likely going to lead to less money spent over time.
We must also factor in that there is an extra cost with this system. From what we have seen it is usually about $300-$500 extra for an Oil Guard engine. In most cases, this will be recouped fairly quickly within a year or two. This will depend on total use.
Overall, we think the average user will definitely save money with this new technology that is starting to take over the lawn industry!
We have currently seen the Oil Guard on the Vanguard 810 EFI, Vanguard Big Block 32 hp, and Vanguard Big Block 37 hp.
We can assume the Oil Guard System only continues to grow and expand its offering. It will be interesting to see what comes next and if the engine is offered on any other brands of mowers.
Currently, it is only available to mainly Briggs and Stratton owned mower brands. This year was the first time it expanded to a non-Briggs brand, Spartan.
The Oil Guard System continued to grow in popularity throughout 2019. The 33 hp Vanguard with oil guard was introduced on the Ferris Z3X (52″ model).
The new 40 hp Vanguard with oil guard was shown at GIE 2019. This engine is supposed to be available in Fall 2020. The continued expansion of this great system shows that consumers have been very receptive to the product.
The Oil Guard System has also begun to expand to different mower brands. One of the most recent we have seen is the Hustler Super 88 featuring the system.
Wrapping it up
Overall, we are very impressed with the Oil Guard System. It is a great new technology that does perform very well in the lawn industry thus far. We can only anticipate that it will continue to gain popularity and eventually become the stand for small engines across the industry.
Have you used the Oil Guard System? Leave us your thoughts below!
If you own a lawn care business be sure to check out our resources page! It is a compiled list of all the tools/resources you need for your lawn care business.