Springtime means breaking out the lawnmower at least once a week to keep your garden from becoming a garden that resembles a meadow.
In order to ensure that your mower is running at its best ability, regular lawn mower maintenance should be done. While these tasks won’t take long to complete, they are essential for optimal cutting performance.
Find the Owner’s Manual and Read It
If you don’t make a practice of keeping owners manuals, most can be found online with a quick search on the internet. Reading the owner’s manual is important, because it is filled with useful tips on proper care and maintenance, do’s and don’ts, and troubleshooting information.
There is usually a “maintenance” section so you can easily skip to it without having to read through all the other information.
Oil Changes aren’t Just for Cars
Nearly all small engines use oil to keep the engine components lubricated. Before using the mower in the spring, do an oil change on your lawn mower. Be sure to check it periodically throughout the seasons for a change in the oil colour and level.
If the oil level is low, or it looks like a dark black colour, it’s most likely contaminated or needs to be changed pretty quick.
Always make sure to service your mower regularly to keep it in tip-top condition. Also, sometimes the warranty requires you to stick to a servicing schedule so check that out.
Related: Check out the guide on how to take care of your lawn.
Doing an oil change isn’t that complicated…
- Remove the drain plug (if it doesn’t have one, the mower will need to be tipped to drain it)
- Let all the oil drain out of the mower into an oil pan or container
- Replace the plug
- Fill with oil
Be sure to consult your owner’s manual to ensure that you are using the proper oil weight for your mower.
Also, remember to dispose of the oil in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
Clean the Mower After Every Use
The best way to maintain your mower is to clean it after every use. Tilt the mower on its side and spray down the underside. Be sure to clean the bagger shoots and the blades. Be careful to avoid getting water in the battery area or engine. It’s best to remove the spark plugs to perform this cleaning safely.
If you have a riding mower, special jacks can be purchased to lift the mower and clean the underneath adequately.
Sharpen the Blades
Your mower will not cut properly with a blunt blade. If you don’t know how to sharpen the blades, find a shop or blade sharpener to give them a quick sharp edge. Worst case, you might need to purchase a new set of blades.
One recommendation is to have two sets of blades, regardless, so that while one set is being sharpened, the other can be on the mower.
Check the Air Filters and Replace the Spark Plugs
As part of your regular maintenance check, make sure that the air filter isn’t full of dust and debris. Also, check the spark plugs. If they are rusty or over a year old, you are better off replacing the spark plugs. This is usually the first culprit when a mower stops firing right up and it’s an easy fix.
Clean the Ventilation System on Your Electric Mower
The ventilation system on your electric mower helps to keep the mower from overheating. If it gets clogged or isn’t clean, you could burn up your mower.
Always check the ventilation slots to ensure they are clean. Don’t use a water hose to clean them out, rather use a soft cloth or brush. You can also use an air compressor to thoroughly clean the vents.
Check the Wheels
Whether you have plastic or rubber wheels, they still need to be checked regularly. Make sure they turn properly and aren’t flat (if rubber). If you have plastic wheels, be sure to check for chunks of missing wheel; this could affect the way it rolls which will impact the cutting performance of the mower.
Check the Power System
Whether you have an electric cord or a battery, check it frequently.
With an electric corded mower, you want to ensure it is completely intact. If you accidentally clipped the cord when mowing, make sure that there aren’t any exposed wires.
Check your battery and make sure that there is no sign of corrosion.
Proper Winter Care
The best way to care for your mower at the end of the season is to clean it properly, so that you don’t have clumps of dried grass to try and scrape off in the spring, and drain the petrol.
Over time, petrol goes bad. If you tried to start your mower in the spring and it didn’t start, the petrol was probably bad and clogged the fuel intake lines.
By draining your petrol, you are “winterizing” your mower. This will mean less work in the spring to get your mower up and going again.
Lawn mower maintenance should not take a great deal of time when done regularly and at the correct times. To ensure that your mower lasts for many years, take the time to tackle these easy steps for proper lawn mower care.