Your lawnmower is the backbone of your lawn care arsenal–without it, you won’t get anywhere. But this all-important workhorse is probably the very thing you take most for granted when it comes to lawn and garden care, only really noticing it when something goes wrong. If that’s the case, you could be setting yourself up for an expensive headache. Neglecting your lawnmower can make it not work as well and can shorten its lifespan considerably. Start the season right, and avoid shelling out hundreds of dollars for a new mower sooner than you need to! Simple regular maintenance, including this 5-point springtime checklist, will add years to your lawnmower’s life, and keep more cash in your pocket.
1. Change the Oil
Just like your car, your lawnmower can suffer serious engine damage if its oil is too low or too gunked-up to do its job. Change the oil each spring to keep the engine clean and well lubricated. Check the owner’s manual to make sure you’re using the correct type of oil, in the correct amount. Over-filling can cause damage to your lawnmower.
2. Clean or Replace the Spark Plug
Your mower’s spark plug is essential for the engine to start and run properly. A bad spark plug will make the mower difficult or impossible to start, make the engine run “choppy” and decrease fuel economy. To keep your mower in good working order, remove the spark plug each spring and wipe it clean. Replace the plug if it looks bad, or just replace it yearly for good measure; plugs are pretty inexpensive, anyway. Check the owner’s manual to make sure you buy the right replacement plug, and apply anti-seize compound to the new plug to make it easy to remove next spring.
3. Sharpen the Blade
A dull blade can harm your mower’s fuel efficiency; it will also rip the grass instead of cutting it cleanly, making your lawn look bad and leaving your grass more susceptible to disease. Many hardware stores sharpen lawnmower blades for a reasonable price. To remove the blade, first disconnect the spark plug wire for your safety, and then use a wrench to remove the blade. If you prefer to sharpen the blade yourself, use a file and be sure to use the same number of strokes on both sides of the blade to prevent an imbalance.
4. Change the Air Filter
A clogged air filter will put a strain on your mower, causing it to work harder, run badly, use more gas, and wear out faster. At least once each spring, and more often in dusty climates, you should:
- Disconnect the spark plug wire.
- Remove the air filter cover.
- Remove and clean the foam pre-filter.
- Replace the paper filter.
5. Clean the Underside of the Mower
A clean “deck,” or underside of the mower, will help your mower function better and lessen the risk of spreading plant diseases in your lawn. At least twice a year:
- Disconnect the spark plug wire.
- Empty the gas tank.
- Turn the mower on its side, and spray the underside thoroughly with the garden hose.
- Use a brush and soapy water to remove any other dirt or debris.
- Lightly coat the mower’s underside with vegetable oil to prevent debris from sticking.
This simple spring checklist will help keep your mower healthy, and you happy!
For the rest of your outdoor spring cleaning, relax and let Wet & Forget Outdoor do the work for you!
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(Photo By Joshua Doubek)