When it comes to lawn mower maintenance, it’s a pretty easy job. You probably won’t have to do anything 90% of the time, as lawn mowers are pretty simple machines and can exist happily fairly independently. But Mower Source has discovered there are some areas you should never ignore, so read on.
Changing the Oil
Because your lawn mower is comprised of many moving internal parts, they need to be well lubricated to run, quite literally, smoothly. It’s a lot like what goes on inside your car: oil spreads a greasy layer that prevents metal from rubbing painfully on metal, and enables all the parts to run, and run well.
But the trick is you have to change the oil regularly, otherwise what’s in there will get mucked up with dirt and debris. When that happens, the oil gets thicker and unable to lubricate the metal parts, rendering it ineffective. The good news is you generally only have to do it once or twice a season (assuming you’ve got an average-sized yard), unless you’re using 2-cycle engine or just have to top up. If your lawn mower has a 2-cycle engine, then oil get mixed with fuel and you only have to check the level of it.
Keep Extra Spark Plugs on Hand
Spark plugs are pretty small and can usually run for a long time (change them yearly), but try taking it out of your lawn mower to see what happens.
It won’t run.
This tiny part is responsible for combusting the fuel and starting the whole shebang, and without it, your lawn mower is nothing more than an industrial-looking lawn ornament. Happily, these parts are cheap to buy and easy to keep around, so always make sure you’ve got a spare one on hand.
Keep the Bottom Clean
Most homeowners are content to poke around at the underside with a broom handle, dislodging grass clumps and calling it a day. But you want to take things a few steps further to ensure the health and longevity of your lawn mower. Instead of just clearing the big wads, take a wire brush and scrub away the residual dirt and grass, too. And then disconnect the spark plug and hose off your handiwork to keep it clean and shiny.
Air Filters Are Meant to Filter Air
Let’s face it: hardly anyone follows their instruction manual’s guide to check the air filter before using the lawn mower every time. We just turn them on and pay attention to how it performs. But while we’re not telling you to completely ignore your user manual, we want to go in a different direction.
At the beginning and end of each season, take the air filter out and wash it in warm, soapy water, then lightly oil it so it can catch dust. If you do this, you probably can get away without actually replacing it for at least a year, if not a few.
Blades as Sharp as Scalpels
When it comes to ensuring the perfect cut for your lawn, the blades are the performers who’ll make magic happen — or not. If they’re dull, then it’s like trying to cut a tomato with a spoon. But if they’re sharp, then not only is the whole job a lot easier, but you can finish it faster, too.
This is a really easy part of lawn mower maintenance, as you only need to do it about twice a year, once at the beginning and once in the middle. You can even do it yourself at home if you’ve got a blade sharpener, but taking it in is quick and easy and cheap as well. And how to know if the blades need sharpening? Just look at the tops of the blades of grass once you’ve finished mowing. If they’re cut cleanly, you’re good; if the top is jagged or rough-looking, then you likely need sharper blades.