Winter is finally over, an event that many of us thought would never come. The constant wallopings of snow, ice, and generally bleak weather not only set multiple records, but made winter feel like a weekend guest that had long overstayed its welcome. But every season must come to an end and winter finally seems like its packed up its bags, which means spring is here and it’s time to get your lawn mower ready for the warm and sunny weather.
1. Do a General Walkaround First
Your lawn mower has been sitting in the garage or shed for months, and it’s highly unlikely you looked at it a couple times a week to keep tabs on it. As much as we’d like to say it’d never happen, mice, squirrels, raccoons, and other unwelcome critters do find lawn mowers an excellent place to hole up during winter.
Set your lawn mower out on your driveway and take a look at it. Are there remnants of animals’ homes, and have they left permanent evidence in the way of chewing, biting or urination? Is there rust on the body? Are any parts in need of repair or replacement? Now’s the perfect time to put an order in because in a few weeks, everybody will be calling in and the time it takes to receive a part will be greatly lengthened.
2. Give it a Little Maintenance
You don’t have to perform any great mechanical acts in the second step, only a few top ups. Start by changing the oil, as it’s been sitting in there for months without use. You can do this at home (just remember to recycle the oil), or you can take it in and have a professional whip it up in two seconds.
Next up comes replacing the fuel. It’s tempting to leave a full tank in so you’re good to go, but after about 30 days, fuel starts to become unusable. Moisture has a tendency of creeping in, and the fuel and ethanol starts to separate. It’s just easier and safer—and cheap—to just start fresh.
After that, take a look at the three filters (that probably need to be replaced):
3. Get a Little Edward Scissorhands on Your Lawn Mower
It’s basic science: the sharper something is, the better it can cut something. If you’ve got dull lawn mower blades, you’ll veer more towards compressing the grass down instead of actually chopping off their little heads. Now, it is entirely possible to sharpen the blades at home, but it’s a pretty technical process and probably better left to someone who’s done it thousands of times and has the—pun intended—hands for it.
4. Lubricate the Moving Parts
Finally, the last step involves knowing that all moving parts will move as they’re supposed to, and not chafe dryly against each other. Some of the parts you’ll want to use a light-duty lubricant on include: wheel bearings, height adjusters, cables, and anything else the owner’s manual advises.
Never lubricate anything that’ll touch the drive belt once you’ve got the lawn mower going.