Last Updated on October 3, 2022
Just like a car, your lawn mower requires regular servicing and some maintenance. Failing to service your lawn mower at regular intervals will have negative effects on performance, lead to more lawn repairs, and shorten the lifespan of the mower. If you have poor mower performance, expect a less evenly cut lawn and plan for more time being needed to mow. On the other hand, regular servicing yields better lawns. If that’s what you’re after, here’s how you can achieve better lawn mower maintenance!
Start the season right
Before you take out a gasoline-powered push lawn mower to use for the first time in a season, wash it, thoroughly inspect it, and give it a tune up.
Here are the eight most basic inspection points:
1. The blades
After cleaning the deck, check the blades. Is there any damage? Are there any cuts? Are any of the blades contorted? If so, this will negatively affect performance and the lawn won’t look as nice. Also, do the blades look sharp? If not, sharpen them before use. Otherwise, you will take a longer time to mow the lawn.
You can sharpen the blade by first disconnecting the spark plug wire, then flipping the mower over. Use a wrench to remove the bolt in the center of the blade and then remove the blade itself. Clean the blade. You may find a paint scraper handy in this application. Next, secure the blade in a vise and apply a metal file along the blade at an angle that matches the original angle of the blade.
2. Fuel tank
Depending on your climate and how you store your mower, the winter temperatures may be too cold to store fuel. That means your tank should be empty. Also, fuel is corrosive, so it’s a good idea to empty the fuel tank when you plan on not using the mower for months.
3. Engine oil
The oil should be changed after not using a mower for months. The quality of the oil degrades rapidly inside the mower (compared to inside a tank or other air-tight, waterproof container). Over time, oil loses viscosity and the ability to absorb heat. Oil is responsible for lubricating and cooling engine components, so old oil will not work as well, which can lead to overheating, performance issues, and engine damage. Using contaminated oil can cause damage to the interior engine components.
Use the oil dipstick to check the color and consistency of the oil. It should be rust-colored and thick, but not sludgy.
If you need to change the oil in your lawn mower, follow these steps. Run the mower for 15 minutes to loosen the oil. Get a container to collect the oil from inside the mower. Then, insert an oil extractor tube to pump out the oil. Once you’re satisfied it has been completely drained of oil, you can pour new oil into the oil valve and use your dipstick to measure the amount in the engine. On the dipstick are two lines or two bumps near the top. The oil should mark the entire dipstick from the bottom to some point between those two lines.
Looking for landscaping equipment near you?
We'll email you with landscaping equipment up for auction near you and featured auctions.
4. Fuel filter
There are three filters, you should check and possibly replace—the fuel filter, oil filter, and air filter.
The fuel filter cleans the fuel by straining out contaminants as the fuel passes through. This provides cleaner fuel for the engine, which enhances performance and engine life. Over time, the contaminants and debris clog the filter, which decreases the amount of fuel going through to the engine. Too much of that negatively affects performance (power) and causes starting issues.
5. Oil filter
Similar to the fuel filter is the oil filter. The only difference is this filters oil—not gasoline. And similar to the fuel filter, over time, the oil filter will clog, decreasing the amount of oil going to the engine. The effects are performance issues, overheating, and eventually, component failure.
6. Air filter
The air filter affects the air that goes into the mower’s carburetor. Air intake is important for a combustion engine to work. When an air filter clogs, it decreases the amount of air available for the combustion process, which will result in performance issues, unusual engine noises, dark smoke, decreased fuel efficiency, starting issues, and engine stalling.
7. Spark plugs
These degrade and burn out over time, causing a reduction in performance and fuel efficiency. Not to mention the mower will experience misfires (loud bangs when the engine is running). Also, failing to replace worn or damaged spark plugs will eventually result in damage to other engine components.
Change your spark plugs by disconnecting the wire from them, and then use a wrench to turn the spark plug counterclockwise. You could also buy a spark plug wrench to make the process easier. Both the spark plug and spark plug wrench retail for under $10 each. Once the spark plug is loose, remove it, and replace it with a new one. Then turn the new one clockwise using your hand and possibly tighten it using a wrench. Lastly, connect the wire to the new spark plug. Repeat for every spark plug.
Ensure wires are connected firmly and free from signs of damage. Rodents take shelter in sheds and garages during cold months and they like to chew on things. Check the starter switch to ensure that this too appears to be in good working order.
Once you’ve completed the checkup and performed all the lawn mower servicing your machine requires, you’re now ready to start the season!
You will need to periodically service your lawn mower throughout the season. Here’s how often you should be servicing different components of your lawn mower.
Blades should be sharpened every 25 hours and replaced every 200 hours.
All three filters should be checked every 50 hours and replaced every 100-300 hours (depending on how dirty or dusty the environment in which it operates is and how the mower is stored). If you use your mower for less than 50 hours in a single season, check the filters when you take it out for the season and when you put it away for the season.
Spark plugs need to be replaced every 25 hours. For many people this happens just once per season.
With more lawn mower knowledge at your disposal, maybe now is the time to snag a new one for yourself, or even an affordable used lawn mower that’s in great condition. Or maybe you’re looking for an entirely different piece of landscaping equipment. Whatever the case, with our mass catalog, Municibid certainly has something to offer you. Find out what, today.