Your lawn mower can take a real beating, yet it’s often neglected until it won’t start or one of the components breaks. A lack of maintenance almost guarantees an early death for your machine, but the good news is that you don’t have to be a trained mechanic to have it racing over your lawn all season long. Here are some of the most important tips for taking care of your mower:
- Read the owner’s manual
Every manufacturer will provide an owner’s manual with each mower that they sell. This is an important document, as it outlines how the manufacturer thinks you should take care of it. It’s in their best interests to keep you, the customer, happy so should be quite thorough.
- Drain the fuel at the end of the season
Old, stale fuel is one of the key suspects when it comes to a mower that won’t start. This is why experts recommend that you empty out any remaining fuel (or run the engine until it’s used up) at the end of the mowing season and use fresh fuel when the next one rolls around.
- Check the oil
Monitor your lawn mower’s oil levels, keeping a lookout for floating debris and oil that is dark black in colour. Old or contaminated oil should be drained and replaced. You can do this by removing the drain plug underneath the engine and draining into a pan.
- Clean out the undercarriage
Grass often becomes caked underneath the mower, which could potentially clog the discharge chute. Use a wire brush to scrape away dried clippings and dirt, then spray any remaining debris away using a garden hose. Always disconnect the spark plug first!
- Inspect the air filter
A clogged or dirty air filter actually puts added stress on the mower and causes fuel to burn less efficiently. Most models have either a paper or foam filter that can be easily accessed; replacements are inexpensive, so most experts recommend doing so annually.
- Change the spark plug
The spark plug is very important to your lawn mower’s operation, so it’s great that it’s easy and inexpensive to replace. You should change the spark plug annually – simply unhook the wire and use or socket or wrench to remove the plug, then install the new one.
- Sharpen the blades
Thanks to rocks, large branches and other objects hidden in the grass, your mower’s blades will endure a lot of stress. A dull blade will rip and tear at the grass rather than provide a clean cut. Some people sharpen their own blades, but it’s recommended you leave this to the experts.
- Get a professional tune up
A great way to ensure that your mower is in tiptop condition at the start of the mowing season is to have it professionally tuned up. They will perform a lot of the tasks we’ve outlined above, as well as others that are too unsafe for you to do yourself.
By following each of the above tips, you can rest assured that your lawn mower is well cared for and that it will offer you many years of uninterrupted use. Whilst breakdowns and repairs are sometimes unavoidable, no matter how well you look after the mower, following our tips will lessen the likelihood of an early replacement being required.