Helpful Tips for Proper Lawn Mower Maintenance

You have likely spent more than a small amount on your yard equipment, specifically, your lawnmower. In fact, a mower can be the most expensive piece of equipment you purchase to maintain your yard. Like many people in today’s economy, you do not want or cannot afford to replace expensive equipment, especially if you can do anything to prevent replacement before it is necessary. To keep yard equipment in the best working condition you must have basic information on what is required to keep it running well.

The instructions given in this article will provide you with that information and educate you in further maintenance of your mower. To maintain your equipment, you must know proper lawn mower maintenance as well as how to service your equipment. I will describe in detail the necessary steps to keep a mower in the top quality condition which will allow the maximum lifespan on your equipment.

Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips: Infographic

Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips

When is the best time to perform lawn mower maintenance?

The first thing we must ask is how do you maintain a lawnmower? A short answer is, knowing when to perform lawn mower maintenance is the most important piece of task you need to keep your mower running properly. If you miss an oil change or do not sharpen a blade, you can be in trouble in the future. You will likely have to replace your lawnmower if you do not perform routine inspection and service when necessary.

This is a must at least once a year, however, if there is a concern for the way the machine is operating, you can do an inspection at that time. Spark plugs, blades, and the like are not usually an immediate issue more than once a year.

Lawn Mower Diagram

Schedule for Lawn Mower Maintenance

To keep your lawn mower running at it is best you need to schedule your routine maintenance every 50 hours of usage. You are probably curious how long a lawn mower should last when doing these inspections as needed. Some mowers have a long lifespan and come with a high price tag while cheaper mowers may not last as long. Typically, a standard mower can last between 1 & 5 years if maintained properly

Is an Owner’s Manual Necessary?

This should be common sense but in case it is not noted, you should read your entire owner’s manual to be sure you know how to service a lawn mower. The owner manual will also ensure that you operate the mower so that your push mower maintenance is only needed at a minimum requirement. If you intend on buying a used mower, you should make sure to only purchase one that has been maintained, as per the owner’s manual and you may search for this online if it is not provided at the time of purchase.

Do You Need to Drain the Gasoline?

It is not uncommon to find that most people do not even consider this when maintaining their mower. This is quite necessary to keep your lawn equipment in the best shape possible. It should be done after every mowing season. Leaving gas in a mower can cause the carburetor to get sludge in it and this can also allow rust. First you input fuel stabilizer and run your mower. Once you have done this, you need to let the tank cool and siphon the gasoline into a gas can.

Is It Ok to Lay a Lawn Mower on Its Side?

This is a highly debated question. The answer is quite simple. Read the owner’s manual. Now you can find several people who will argue this, but the owner’s manual describes which side to turn it on depending on if it’s a 2 stroke or 4 stroke machine. Some tilt with the spark plugs on the ground, some to the sky. Multiple factors go into determining if you can tilt or turn over a lawn mower. A couple of common things are which side the oil filter or air filter is on. It is best to read the manual to provide proper push mower maintenance.

How to Change Lawn Mower Oil?

If you really want to know how to service a lawn mower then find out when to change the oil. This is important to a long-lasting machine because the oil lubricates all the working parts within the mower. This usually is done every 50 hours or so which is approx. once a year if you only mow about once a week or less. You will need to change the oil more often if you use the mower more frequently than once a week.

You will also need to do this after every mowing season, so the oil does not sit stagnant in the mower. If you notice the machine is not running properly, then checking the oil for trash or sludge, among other things, is a good idea. To do this, you need to run the mower for 15 minutes to warm up the oil, turn off the engine and disconnect the spark plug wire, drain or seal the gas tank to prevent leaks, insert the oil extractor tube and pump the oil from the engine.

Lawn Mower Oil Type

How To Replacing or Cleaning Spark Plugs?

It is important to know if you just need to clean your spark plugs or if they need to be replaced. Like many push mower maintenance requirements, replacing spark plugs only needs to be done about once a year other than that there are few symptoms that can help you to determine whether the spark plug needs to change.

The most common problem is the mower is difficult to a normal start. Excessive fuel consumption is also another sign of bad spark plug. You can get a clue by examining the physical appearance of the spark plug. If the spark plugs center electrode top is rounded then its time for replacing the spark plug.  To clean spark plugs, you only need to use a socket wrench to remove them and then soak them in brake cleaner until they wipe clean of residue.

Replace or Clean Air Filter:

Unlike many other parts of a lawn mower the air filter only needs to be replaced every 300 operating hours. This just requires you to unplug the spark plug wire, unscrew the air filter encasement, clean the foam pre-cleaner with compressed air, water or gas and let dry then remove the old filter and replace it with the new one.

You just need to clean it when you feel it is full of dirt or debris. If you hold it up to the light and it is mostly blocked, then it is time to replace it. To clean the filter, you can also just use compressed air, water, or gas and let dry. The filter will need to be cleaned or replaced more frequently in dusty areas.

How Often Should You Replace the Fuel Filter on Your Lawnmower?

Replacing your fuel filter only needs to be done every 300 hours, not unlike the air filter. This is something you must refer to the manual to determine how to replace it because every lawn mower differs in this category. Fuel filters are in different places on each brand of the lawnmower.

Cleaning the Carburetor on Your Lawn Mower

You can start by spraying a lubricant on the carburetor and if the engine starts after that, then you need to continue looking for the culprit. If it does not work then open the air filter casing, remove the carburetor exterior casing, and then leave it to dry. Once the carburetor is dry then try to start the engine again.

While the engine is running, spray an aerosol carburetor cleaner so that the entire throat is coated. Turn off the engine and remove any deposits that are in the throttle plate of the carburetor and spray the aerosol cleaner on the choke shaft at the bottom of the carburetor throat. Replace the old carburetor cover and linkage to make sure it is in optimal condition during operation. Read more

No Ethanol Gasoline for the Lawn Mower

Ethanol gas burns at a much higher temperature than non-ethanol fuels. Therefore, ethanol fuel can render your mower useless after a short time by overheating. This is due to the corrosive nature of the chemicals used in ethanol and the higher airborne water present. In colder conditions, ethanol fuel can cause the carburetor to have difficulty igniting. Some lawn mowers even display a warning label that refers to the usage of ethanol fuel as a means to void your warranty.

Sharpening and Balancing Lawn Mower Blades

First, and most importantly in this step of your push mower maintenance, remove the spark plug so that there is no chance of accidentally engaging the blade and breaking your hand or worse. If you keep the carburetor and air filter side up when you tilt the mower to remove the blade, then you can avoid smoke cloud the next time you start your mower. The best tool to use is a long-handled wrench to get a good grip and leverage on the bolt to remove it without risking injury from the blade. Remove the blade and determine if it is rusted, if it is, replaces the blade with a new one, then insert the spark plug and you are done.

If the blade needs sharpening, all you need is a blade sharpener or file that you can buy at any hardware store. You can also take it to most lawn equipment repair shops, tractor supply stores, and some hardware stores, to have them sharpen it for a small fee. This saves you a lot of time, sweat, and energy. Balancing the blade is quite simple. All you need to do is buy a blade balancer for five dollars at most hardware stores and file the blade until it is level.

If you are short on cash, hang the blade from a nail through the center of the blade where it attaches to the lawnmower. The heavy end will fall, and you can sharpen or file the blade until it hangs even from a nail. As long as the blade is sharp then it will be balanced if it is free of any debris like mud, grass, or trash.

How To Change Lawn Mower Blade Properly?

Professional Tune-Up

Sometimes it is extremely necessary to take your lawn equipment to a professional to avoid further damage. In this case it is always best to research pricing, reviews, reputation, and more to find the best option. You will only need to do this if you do not feel confident in doing a tune-up yourself or you have been unsuccessful in locating an issue with your mower.

Final Words

Now that you know the basics of how to service a lawn mower, you can get to work. If you go through each one of the steps lined out here, you will be able to maintain a quality lawn mower, regardless of the brand. Just like any equipment, you must stay vigilant in keeping up with the functionality by doing routine checks on the main parts of the machine.

Lawn mower maintenance is not as difficult as it seems, but if you feel overwhelmed or have a lack of confidence in your ability to work on this type of machine, then don’t hesitate to take it to a professional. The most important thing to remember is this, your lawn mower will last only last as long as the parts inside.

So, if you take care of it, it will take care of you.

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