10 Maintenance Tips To Keep Your Lawn Mower Running
A lawn mower gets a lot of use for much of the year, and requires a bit of maintenance to keep it in top condition, and to ensure the maximum lifespan for your trusty machine. Don't leave your mower in a state of neglect until it breaks down and gives up! With these maintenance tips you can keep your lawn mower running well, and solve many of the minor problems that can occur with frequent use.
It helps to buy a reliable lawn mower in the first place. Our lawn mower reviews will help you come to the right decision.
There are, however, some general tips that you can follow that will help you get the most out of any lawn mower, and make sure your lawn stays lush and healthy.
1. Always Read The Instructions
Every lawn mower is different, and there is no universal guide that tells you how to fix and maintain your particular model. It is always best to read and understand the manual that comes with your purchase. Within it you should find all the information you need to help you keep your mower in top shape.
2. Drain Gasoline
One of the main causes of lawn mower problems come from the fuel system. Leaving gasoline in the mower for a long time can cause the fuel to gel up and clog the fuel line and carburetors. This is most likely to occur if you leave the gasoline in the tank over winter.
Drain the gasoline at the end of each season. You can do this using a turkey blaster, which you can use to suck the fuel out into a separate container. Start each spring with a fresh tank of new gas.
Image credits: thriftyfun.com
3. Change The Oil
Keep a close eye on the oil levels of your mower, and be sure to check for contaminations, including debris and dark colors that suggest impurities. Old oil can damage your engine. To be sure that no issues arise, it is recommended that you change the oil at least every season, but we suggest you do so as often as every 3 months, or every 25 hours of use.
To change the oil in your lawn mower, locate the drain plug, which is usually found on the underside. If there is no drain cap, you will have to carefully tip the oil back out of the fill hole. It can help to heat the oil a little to loosen it up for more effective drainage. Then you can add fresh oil, according to what is recommended by the manufacturer of your mower.
4. Change The Spark Plug
Changing your spark plug can really improve the way that your engine starts and runs, and it again costs just a few dollars for a new one. It is well worth doing at the start of every season as a standard act of lawn mower maintenance.
Simply unhook the spark plug wire, and remove the old plug with a wrench, before installing the new one. You can check the type of spark plug that you need by consulting the manual, or just take the old one into a hardware shop.
You can also reuse your old spark plug if it is still in good condition at the end of the season. In this case, take the plug out, give it a clean, and reinstall it.
Image credits: todayshomeowner.com
5. Change The Air Filter
It is recommended that you check your air filter regularly, perhaps a few times during a season. If it becomes clogged with dirt and debris, which it will do over time, then the filter will need cleaning or changing. A clogged filter can strain and suffocate the engine, and cause the lawn mower to lose its power and performance.
Your lawn mower will most likely have a foam or paper air filter that will be easy to locate and access. It is possible to blow paper filters will an air hose to remove minor debris, and to wash foam filters, but it is probably better for your mower to replace the air filters when they clog by any major amount, and they are inexpensive anyway.
6. Clean Undercarriage
Sometimes lawn mower maintenance is really simple. Cleaning the undercarriage of the mower is a relatively straightforward job. Failing to do so can cause grass to clog up the discharge shoot, and can effect the mower's ability to effectively cut your lawn.
To clean the undercarriage, use a scraper or wire brush to remove the majority of the grass, and then give it a quick blast with a hose pipe to wash the debris away. As a precaution, make sure the spark plug is disconnected before cleaning the undercarriage.
Image credits: diy.repairclinic.com
7. Sharpen Lawn Mower Blade
Keeping a sharp lawn mower blade will help you keep a clean cut lawn. Blades become damaged and worn over time as they chance upon rocks and branches. A dull or broken blade will shred up grass, and hinder the overall performance of the mower.
If you notice a decline in the quality of the cut, it may be the right time to sharpen or replace the blade. It is also recommended to get the blade sharpened at least every year, at the start of the season. This is one maintenance job that might be better left to professionals, but it is possible to do on you own if you feel confident.
Detach the spark plug and wire to prevent any accidents, and then loosen the bolts and turn the blade counter clockwise. Sharpen the blade using a sharpening stone, metal file, motorized grinder, or a drill attachment. Follow the edge of the blade by passing the grinder along in the same direction each time. See the video below for further advice on sharpening a lawn mower blade:
8. Check The Belts & Gears On Self Propelled Mowers
Certain types of lawn mower require slightly different levels of maintenance. A reel lawn mower, for example, will typically require less maintenance than a self propelled mower. One of the extra tasks if you own a self propelled, is to check the belt for wear and tear, and replace the belt if damaged. You should also check and replace faulty gears too.
9. Check Tires On A Riding Mower
A riding mower will underperform if the wheels are deflated. This is another simple lawn mower maintenance tip that is very easy, but often neglected. The required psi will be visible somewhere on the tires themselves, so keep them well inflated to the appropriate level at all times. If they become severely worn or torn, then you will need to replace them.
Image credits: mowersarea.com
10. Don't Be Scared To Call The Professionals
If you don't know exactly how to repair your lawn mower in a given situation, or are struggling with a certain aspect of lawn mower maintenance, then don't be scared to call in the professionals to lend you a helping hand.
A pro lawn mower tune up doesn't actually cost that much; you can expect to pay around $50 - $75. It usually involves diagnostic tests, and replacement of the gas, air filters, oil, spark plug, and anything else that needs doing.