Depending on where you live the grass cutting season could be year round or as short as 3 months. In either case you need to get your lawn mower ready for a new season of cutting grass after it has been sitting dormant for an extended period of time. What actions should be taken?
When you think about it one of the most used and hardest working tools that any homeowner owns is a lawn mower. The lawn mower is also one of the most abused machines around as they run over rocks, small sapling nuisance trees and concrete curbs, yet we expect them to start right up and run the next timer it is time to cut the grass.
Have You Changed The Oil In Your Lawn Mower?
Think of how often you change the oil in your car’s engine. You know that must be done and if you go into an oil change center they will change the oil and place a sticker on the windshield telling you when or what mileage to change it again. Your lawn mower does not get that treatment so use the start of a new mowing season as the next time to change the oil in your lawn mower.
Your local home improvement store will have the correct oil for the engine on your lawn mover so don’t just refill it with the oil your use in your car. If you are mechanically inclined it is not difficult to change the oil and the drain plug usually is located underneath the bottom of the frame above the blade. If doing it yourself is not your style, take it to a service center.
Change Or Clean The Plug & Air Filter
Lawn mowers often have just one spark plug. If the spark plug becomes fouled with deposits or the tip has burned down and the gap is too wide, your lawn mower may not start. Sometimes the plug can be cleaned of deposits, but it may be better to change the plug out with a new one.
Remove the old plug and take it with you to a home improvement, auto parts or department store with a department that sells mowers and get a new spark plug that is compatible. Replace the plug and it is like a mini tune up for a lawn mower.
Unless you use an electric or manual lawn mover, your lawn mower uses an internal combustion engine like most cars, except it is smaller. That means a mixture of gas and air is required to power the engine.
Some say to drain the gas left in the engine, that may not be required if the mower has been sitting for a few months, but is for some reason gas has been in the tank over a year, then drain the gasoline and refill the tank. The air filter of a lawn mower can quickly become clogged and block air from getting to the engine. Think about how the filter is always screening out dirt and grass clippings.
Clean or replace the filter.
Clean dried grass from underneath the frame of the lawn mower. Grass and soil can harden around the sides underneath the frame and actually cause the blade to stop when clumps of freshly cut grass becomes wedged between the blade and frame.
What Is The Condition Of The Cutting Blade?
The cutting blade of the lawn mower is what everything else is all about. You may have a self-propelled, riding or push lawn mover, but the main purpose is to cut the grass. The blade is what is actually cutting the grass, striking rocks and sidewalks.
Dull lawn mower blades will produce dull uneven cuts of your lawn. The mechanically inclined may be able to remove, sharpen and reattach the blade, but other may want to take their lawn mower to a service center to get the blade sharpened.
Make sure the wheels, handles and cables are secure. Check the height adjustment levers and make sure they move easily as they can become stuck if not occasionally moved from one slot to another.
Follow these steps and your lawn mower should be ready for another hardworking season of cutting grass. As always if you will be working near the blade, remove the spark plug to prevent an accidental engine start.