A lawn mower is one of the most useful tools in any maintenance arsenal. They are used to maintain what is the majority of nearly all landscapes. Grass. Despite its ubiquitousness the lawn mower is sometimes still mishandled. If you aren’t going to contract out this part of your lawn maintenance then there are a few things you should know to keep your lawn mower running smoothly.
Keeping your lawn mower in peak condition can take some of the stress out of lawn maintenance and keep money in your pocket. Here are a few things you can do to keep your mower humming.
- Keep it clean.This one seems simple but it is commonly overlooked. After every use of the mower, give it a quick brushing off. After turning the mower off and the blades have completely stopped, reach under the deck with a gloved hand and brush off of caked grass under the deck and on the blade.
- A few times a year, give the mower a more thorough clean. After emptying the gas tank, turn the mower on its side. This will allow you to remove any residual debris that may be wrapped around the blade or caked up on the underside of the mower deck. Finish off by spraying the underside of the mower deck hard with your hose to soften up dirt and dried-on grass. Scrub with a soft brush and soapy water. Then rinse again.
- Twice a year the air filter should be cleaned or replaced. Keep a few paper filters handy so you can replace them when they look dirty. Plastic foam filters have to be taken out and washed with warm, soapy water. Air-dry. Then with about 2 tablespoons of fresh mower oil lightly coat the filter.
- At the end of the growing season, and after you have used the mower for the last time, exhaust the fuel by letting the mower run until the supply is depleted. Leave the gas tank empty until spring. After emptying the tank, remove the oil fill cap (if applicable) and turn the mower over to drain the engine oil into recyclable container. If your mower has an oil drain plug, use that instead of turning the mower on its side. Refill the engine oil reservoir according to your mower manufacturer’s recommendations and then replace the oil fill cap.
- When you change the oil annually be sure to replace the spark plug. Disconnect the spark plug wire and then remove the existing spark plug with a wrench or pliers. Make sure to write down the code found on your existing plug, check the manual, or take the old one with you to ensure you purchase the right plug. Screw in a new plug and reconnect the spark plug wire.
- Keep the blade sharp. A mower with a dull blade cuts unevenly and shreds the tip of grass blades, which in turn become brown and give a lawn a beige cast that makes it look dry. The ragged ends are also good entry points for disease.
Follow these few simple tips to make your next cut a breeze!