The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising, and before we know it the grass will be growing fast. Before you put your lawn mower to work however, it’s a good idea to treat it to a little TLC to make sure everything is in good working order. If your mower goes too long without a tuneup, it could suffer from inconvenient and costly mechanical malfunctions. By taking care of just a few simple maintenance items, you can keep your mower running healthy and strong all season long.
Replace the Spark Plug
An old, worn spark plug can make starting your lawn mower a frustrating endeavor. If you had trouble starting your mower at the end of last season, it’s a good idea to install a new spark plug. Loosen the old plug with a wrench and then spin it out with your fingers. Inspect the new plug to make sure there’s a small gap between the electrode and the arm. Screw it gently into the motor, taking care not to damage the porcelain component as you tighten it.
Change the Air Filter
A clogged air filter will have a noticeable negative impact on your mower’s performance. You can find a new one at your local hardware store for about $5. Check your owner’s manual or bring your old filter in to ensure you find the right type of replacement filter. Installing the new filter is a very simple process. Just remove the filter cover with a screw driver, pop the new filter in and replace the cover.
Change the Oil
Keeping up with seasonal oil changes is the single most effective thing you can do to prolong the life of your mower’s motor. You can drain the oil in one of two ways. Either tip the mower on its side and pour it out through the fill tube, or remove the drain plug underneath the mower and drain it out the bottom. Be sure to have a container ready to catch the oil as it drains. Once the motor is empty, replace the drain plug and add new oil through the fill tube.
Sharpen the Blades
If you’re handy with a metal file and a bench grinder you can do this on your own. Otherwise, you can take your blades to a shop and get them sharpened for about $20. Sharp blades will cut your grass more effectively and put less stress on your mower.