Your lawnmower deserves some care—after all, it works hard to cut down grass every few weeks during the mowing season. Like any machine, mowers develop wear and tear and need a good cleaning and repair after extended use. Here are some mower maintenance tips to help you effectively cut your lawn.
Before working on your lawnmower, first read the owner’s manual. This booklet offers maintenance instructions specific to your mower and can help you effectively maintain your equipment.
Sharpen the mower blade
A sharp lawnmower blade creates an even cut across the lawn. As the blade cuts grass, it becomes increasingly duller until it no longer cuts and instead tears the grass. Torn grass from a dull mower blade provides room for disease to infect your lawn. Before you first cut your lawn every year, follow these steps to sharpen your lawnmower’s blade:
- Detach spark plug so that the mower won’t accidentally start.
- Lean mower toward its side.
- Loosen the blade bolt with a wrench.
- Use a metal file across the blade’s edge in one direction until it’s sharpened.
If you don’t want to use a metal file, you can also use a sharpening stone or motorized grinder.
Change oil and gasoline
Like the motor oil in your car, the oil in your lawnmower should be changed at the end of every mowing season. Oil can break down and become dirty over extended use and eventually cause damages to the engine.
Gasoline is another component in your mower that you should remember during mower maintenance. Untreated gas can separate into its gasoline and ethanol parts, causing rust and corrosion. After each lawn cutting season, pour out the gasoline or run the engine until the gas is spent. If you really want to store your lawnmower with the gasoline inside, use ethanol-free fuel or add a fuel stabilizer before storing during the winter months.
Change out the spark plug
A spark plug helps ignite fuel in the combustion chamber of your lawnmower by transferring an electric current into the system. If the component is dirty or rusted, the engine won’t start. You can replace a spark plug using a spark plug wrench, which is a specialized tool that allows you to easily and safely remove the plug without damaging it. When installing the new spark plug, be sure to insert it gently, but firm enough to keep the component in place.
Even though most manufacturers use a pre-set gap (i.e., the area located between the metal bits called electrodes at the end of the plug), you should double check by using a gap measurer and the specifications from the owner’s manual.
If the spark plug is in good condition, you can simply clean and reinsert the plug; however, if your mower isn’t starting, consider replacing the spark plug.
Change air filters
Air filters in your mower prevent debris from getting inside the engine and carburetor. You should change your air filters at least once every mowing season; however, especially dirty conditions might require more frequent changing. A foam-based filter only needs a wash with a mixture of detergent and water unless it’s in bad condition, but a paper filter will need to be replaced. Remember to unhook the spark plug before changing the air filters.
A brush wire, stiff broom, or hose at full blast is all you need to clean the undercarriage depending on the amount of debris caked into the deck, or undercarriage, of the mower. As always, unhook the spark plug to safely clean around the blade. This mower maintenance will prevent clogging inside the discharge suit, which can reduce the performance of the mower if left unchecked.
Regular mower maintenance helps your mower give your lawn a nice, clean cut. Without these steps, your lawnmower may not start, become damaged, or harm the grass.
Meadows Farm Equipment is proud to serve Wedowee and the surrounding community for its small engines and power equipment needs. Come see us today on County Road 811 in Wedowee, or visit us at www.meadowsfarmequipment.com!