Remember when your lawnmower was brand new and started on the first pull? Regular maintenance will keep your lawnmower in top shape and running better longer. Mowing season begins before anyone is generally ready for it. It’s a good idea in early Spring to go over your lawn mower and check it’s condition before the mowing season kicks into full gear. The following is a quick checklist to follow:
1) Fresh Gas: Many believe that gas can go old. It’s recommended that if you have a bit of gas left over from the previous season, then you should drain it out and fill the tank with fresh gas. You can use a stabilizer to lengthen the shelf life. To fill the mower’s tank, use a clean funnel. Keep fresh gas in a plastic gas can choice because they won’t rust. Gas that is older than 30 days may affect engine performance. Moisture build-up and octane loss can lead to gum deposits in the engine’s fuel lines and carburetor, which can lead to poor engine performance.
2) Engine Oil — A good rule of thumb is to change the oil at the start of the mowing season. Drain engine oil and replace it with clean oil after every 50 hours of operation. But check the manual that came with mower, as the manufacturer may have specific requirements for the oil type and frequency of changes. Check the lubrication section of your mower’s owner’s manual for specific oil recommendations. Changing the old oil removes the sludge and build-up that combustible engines get over time.
3) Tune up: change spark plug — Replace the spark plug after every 100 hours of operation. Spark plug type and gap can be found in the product specifications section of the owner’s manual. Changing the spark plug is relatively easy, just make sure you get the right type for your mower (consult the manual). Remove the spark plug wire, and with an appropriate sized rachet and socket, remove the old plug. Now put the new plug in with the same socket, being careful not to over tighten.
4) Air Filter — Clean or replace air filter. This is one of the most important steps to take and should be checked regularly throughout the mowing season as dirt and grime easily clog the air cleaner. If the mower’s air filter is dirty, the engine may not run properly and may be damaged. Service the air filter after every 25 hours of operation or every season, whichever comes first. Remove the air filter cartridge and gently tap it on a flat surface. If the filter is very dirty, replace it with a new one.
5) Blade Care — A dull mower blade is pretty hard on the lawn. It tears and bruises grass leaves, weakens the grass making it less able to ward off weeds, disease or insects. For best results, lawn mower blades must be kept sharp. Lawn mower blades can be sharpened with a file or on a grinder wheel. Never attempt to sharpen the blade while it is on the mower.
6) Lube wheels and axles —This keeps rust and corrosion down on the axles and makes the mower easier to push. You can use any common lubricant, but be careful of using some silicon sprays as they don’t seem to last long. Apply the oil wherever there are moving parts around the wheels and axles. You’ll thank yourself on those hot summer days.
7) Clean undercarriage — Cleaning the undercarriage of the mower keeps the cutting and discharge of the grass efficient. This is particularly important for mulching mowers. This can be done easily with a small paint scraper. You might want to check this several times throughout the season. Notice the drive belt in the photo, those should be checked for wear as well.