Spring is just around the corner! Flowers have yet to bloom, but there are plenty of other projects to get you outside, preparing your yard for spring! Have you started thinking about your spring cleaning checklist for your lawn and landscape? Nearly all homeowners agree that mowing the lawn is the one of the first tasks that not only makes a big difference, but signals the arrival of spring. Since mowing season is upon us, now is the perfect time to give your lawn mower some much needed TLC. Not sure where to begin? Check out our beginners check-list for six essential lawn mower maintenance tips.
Lawn mower Maintenance Checklist
- Remove the spark plug. (Replace as last step) Annually replacing the spark plug is an inexpensive way to ensure the longevity of your mower. Removing the spark plug (or disconnecting the battery) at the beginning of any mower maintenance is a good safety measure, as it prevents the mower from starting up accidentally. Refer to the engine’s model number or the model number found on your existing spark plug before purchasing a new one. Install the new spark plug as the last step of your maintenance routine.
- Change the oil. To ensure peak performance and protect the life of your mower’s engine, replace the oil at the beginning of each season. Drain out any old oil and replace with new. If you’re not familiar with your mower’s oil system, see the user manual for a step-by-step guide. For push mowers, change additionally after every 50 hours of use; for riding lawn mowers – replace every 100 hours.
- Clean or replace the air filter. A clean air filter keeps your mower running at its best. If not cleaned or replaced regularly, dirt and debris will eventually take a toll on the efficiency of your mower and damage the engine. If your mower has a paper filter, simply replace a few times each season. For a foam filter, wash thoroughly and allow to air dry.
- Fuel up with fresh gas. Gasoline goes stale quickly, so be sure to drain out any old fuel and replace with new at the beginning of the season. Thinking of using gas that’s been stored in a fuel container all winter? Think again! Opt for fresh fuel to start the season. Some experts recommend treating your fuel with a stabilizer as well to keep fuel fresh longer. While you’re at it, check the carburetor for clogs and gummy gas residue; clear out with an aerosol cleaner if needed.
- Sharpen and balance the blades. Blades naturally become dull over time due to normal use, and dull blades result in uneven cuts and an overall ineffective mower. Once removed, there are a few ways to sharpen the blades yourself, but this job is usually best left to professionals unless you’ve got the right tools and experience. Be sure to check for dented or cracked blades that need to be replaced altogether. Level the deck and balance the blades upon reinstalling.
- Give it a good clean. Thoroughly clean the top and underside of the mower’s deck on a regular basis. Piled up grass traps and heat and moisture which destroys the bearings in the spindle blades and can lead to rusting. In addition to routine cleaning, give your mower a deep cleaning a few times a year. To clean your mower, drain the gas and lay the mower upside down or on its side. Carefully remove any grass or debris from the deck and blades. Use a hose or power washer to wash away any caked on grass and dirt. Hot soapy water and a soft scrub brush can be used to clean further if needed. A little grease can also be used to keep moisture at bay and prevent rusting. Be sure to let fully dry before next use!
Ultimately, routine cleaning, sharp blades, and a well-maintained engine are the keys to helping your mower last for years! Not only does annual lawn mower maintenance save you money on mid-season repairs and costly replacements, but it’s the key to keeping your lawn looking its best all season long!
Still have questions? Give us a call and let us lend you our expertise for all your lawn and landscape maintenance needs!