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When winter’s grip begins to ease, lawn lovers everywhere get excited to gear up for a new season of lush landscapes and fresh cut grass. One key to a flawless lawn is having a mower that’s in top notch condition. The amount of work you’ll need to put in when revamping your mower may depend on the severity of your winter season, but we’re here to help!
In this article, we’ll explore some essential tips and tricks for mower maintenance and waking up your mower for spring.
There are a few possible causes for a mower that won’t start after a cold winter season. They include:
A mower that won’t start can also be caused by a combination of the above. All of these issues can be addressed by fitting mower care into your annual routine. So, let’s go into more detail about the steps involved in lawn mower maintenance.
1. The eye test
Take a close look at the exterior of your mower to make sure there are no obvious issues such as broken parts or heavy grass build up. If necessary, give your mower a good spray down to clean it up and get it ready for the season. You may want to use a firm-bristled brush to loosen up any debris or caked-on grass.
See more on mower cleaning under step 8 below!
2. Change mower oil
Not only does your mower oil need to be changed at the beginning of the season, it should also take place at regular intervals. Oil in push lawn mowers should be changed more frequently just because there’s much less oil than typically in a riding mower. Change your push mower oil every 50 hours or so. If you have a riding mower, it’s recommended to wait about 100 hours in between oil changes. If you don’t reach that hour mark, make sure to replace the oil at least once every year.
3. Oil filter cleaning or replacement
A mower’s engine needs air for the right amount of fuel combustion, and a dirty filter can speed up the wear and tear of your mower. Check your mower manual to understand how often to clean your air filter. Oftentimes, the air filter is simply too dirty to clean out. In this case, you can easily buy a replacement filter as they aren’t very expensive.
4. Treating the fuel
It doesn’t take long for gas to go bad if sitting around unused. To avoid this, add some fuel stabilizer to your gas tank to eliminate build-up inside the engine. Fuel stabilizer prevents you from having to dump out fuel, and keeps fuel fresh for up to 2 years!
5. Sharpen mower blades
Your mower blades should be sharp and evenly balanced to make the perfect cut you’re looking for. This is most necessary for people whose lawns grow very quickly. Mower blade maintenance is crucial for a healthy lawn, because a dull blade will cut unevenly and shred grass.
You can sharpen your mower blades with a couple different tools:
Safety is extremely important when sharpening blades. Make sure to wear your gloves, eye protection and ear protection.
In some cases, you might need to buy new blades altogether if the current blades are beyond repair. In this case, refer to your manufacturer recommendations when buying new blades.
6. Replacing spark plugs
The spark plug provides the electricity needed for mower function. If you notice that your mower’s engine isn’t running smoothly, it might be time for a spark plug replacement. Check your manufacturer recommendations and spark plug part numbers to make sure you get the correct spark plug.
7. Lubricate the moving parts
Your mower will work better and last longer if you keep it lubricated. Oil the wheel bearings and other moving parts, following the instructions in your owner's manual. Be sure to wipe off any runs of excess oil to keep your mower looking fresh.
8. Clean your mower
This step is simple, and satisfying! Use a hose, and/or a very firm bristled brush to wipe your mower’s surface and deck free of dirt, grass and any other debris. Mixing some soap and water will help make your mower shine in time for the new season. Just make sure it’s dried off before storing it away.
If you put these tips into practice, you’ll deal with less headaches, and spend a lot more time in the place you love - your yard! Even when you aren’t cleaning or replacing parts on your mower, make sure to keep an eye on everything and be observant so you can catch any small issues before they become more serious (and more expensive) issues.
If mower maintenance seems too much of a chore, there are mower repair shops, garden centers, and hardware stores that can accomplish all, or some of this work for you. Keep in mind, these services are in high demand. So try to get your mower in the shop sometime in the fall, after your mowing is complete for the season so it’s ready to roll in the spring!
Please note these are general tips, please always read and follow directions and manuals specifically for your product.