Useful Tips and Tricks When Maintaining a Lawn Mower
Maintaining your lawn mower and keeping it in top shape is not that hard and you can do it even without special knowledge in the mechanics. However, many people still neglect some basic rules what may cause damage of a lawn mower or even its complete break. I’d like to share some easy to do by yourself tips to ensure proper care and regular maintenance of your lawn mower.
1. Blade. Don’t forget to check and sharpen the blade regularly since it takes a lot of damage through rocks, thick grass, tree branches, etc. If it completely wears out, the blade has to be replaced. I’d recommend to replace the blade at least every 3 years.
2. Fuel. When preparing a lawn mower to winter it is recommended to drain all of the old gasoline to prevent hard starts in spring. Of course, you should use the new gasoline then. Also during winter the oil cap should be closed at all times and it will be a good idea to check the fuel filter for dust and clean it if necessary. Sometimes it is better even to change it. Always remember what type of engine your lawn mower has: two-cycle or four. A four-cycle engine uses regular gas, while two-cycle one uses a mix of gas and oil. Using wrong type of fuel can cause severe damage to the engine.
3. Battery maintenance. If you have the electric lawn mower with a battery and are going to prepare it for winter, then the battery itself has to be stored in a cool, dry area without direct sunlight.
4. Lubrication. All mechanisms need to be cleaned and lubricated every few weeks such as brake linkages, transmission, gears and cables. This will make your lawn mower to work properly for many years to come.
5. Engine oil. The oil has to be checked regularly and replaced at least once in a season. The completely worked out oil is black colored, while the new one is close to yellow or amber. Changing the oil isn’t really a hard thing to do. First you have to let the engine work for about ten minutes. Then, after turning it off, place some type of a container for worked-out oil under the engine. Be cautious as the oil can be really hot! Open the oil drain plug to let all the oil leak out of your engine. After that, close the plug, pour new oil and let the engine work for about 10 minutes. Before changing the oil, read the user’s manual for the correct oil type to use since the wrong oil may prevent your whole equipment to work normally.
6. Air filter. It is better to clean the air filter at least every few months since it directly affects your engine performance. It needs to be replaced every season as well.
7. Spark plug. The spark plug is a very important part because it’s condition affects how the engine starts. Replacing it though is one of the easiest operations in maintaining a lawn mower. First, you need to unplug the wire from the spark plug. Then remove the old one with a spark plug wrench. Finally screw in the new spark plug (don’t tighten it too much!) and plug the wire in. The type of spark plugs can be found in your lawn mower user’s manual. Usually a spark plug should be replaced every year or if you see that the ceramic part of a plug is colored unnaturally dark.
I hope these basic rules will be useful enough and help you save both time and money. Do you have some other lawn mower maintenance tips and tricks that are not mentioned there? Feel free to share them in your comments below.
Graham Mosley is a PR and marketing manager at www.lawnmowerpros.com, a widely known supplier of lawn mower parts and chainsaw tools.
Question on lawn mower maintenance. I had done all of the above last fall. This year, due to a foot surgery, I’ve not run my self propelled mower at all. I’m getting around a little bit, but should I run this mower a bit before storing it again? Should I do something special on start up to make sure there is enough oil on the moving parts?
Hi Bruce, The only thing I suggest is to run it out of fuel or put a fuel stabilizer in the fuel in the tank.