Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips

Originally Posted on by

A good looking lawn requires a skilled lawn mowing, and you can't get good results from a poorly maintained mower. If your lawnmower is clogged up with clippings, has a dull blade, or lacks power, it will be obvious to anyone who has the misfortune of looking at your mangled yard. On the other hand, a little bit of work can help your lawn mower cut like it's brand new.

Keep it Lubricated

Your lawnmower may be a simple machine, but that just means keeping it's few parts in peak shape is even more important. Keeping your riding lawn mower lubricated starts with your engine oil. Like all four stroke engines, lawn mower engines have an oil reservoir that keeps the crankshaft and pistons lubricated. You can check this oil just like you'd check the oil in your car, by checking the dipstick. Engine oil shouldn't get to a thick, black consistency. In fact, if your engine oil looks how it does in the movies, you've long passed the time when you should change it. Your oil should also be free of water, metal shavings, or other impurities, as these often indicate a larger mechanical problem.

Keep the Undercarriage Clean and Hopper

The undercarriage of your lawn mower gets all the action, so it's important to keep it in good shape. A dirty undercarriage that's covered in grass clippings, mud, or debris won't remove clippings as efficiently as a clean one. Unlike a push mower, you won't be able to simply tip your mower up and clean it out. Instead, you'll need to drive the front wheels up on a small ramp or blocks. Then take a hose with a high-pressure nozzle and blast away any clippings or debris. If you're using a hopper or bag system to collect clippings, make sure the chute and all gates are all clear. Never leave grass clippings in your hopper between mowings. Clippings can settle and compact into a dense brick that's extremely difficult to scrape out of the hopper.

Change the Spark Plugs

WIth all the down time the offseason provides, followed by the periods of intense activity, your spark plugs can go through a beating. Make sure you replace your spark plugs once every year or two to maintain optimal engine performance. Make sure to note whether or not the spark plugs you bought are pre-gapped or not. If they aren't, you will need a tool known as a plug gap to set your spark plug spark gap to the perfect width.

Sharpen the Blade

Long grass hides a multitude of hazards, and every rock, stump, or branch you accidentally hit will dull the blade of your mower. You'll need to remove your lawn mower blade if you want to sharpen it. A file, burr, or grinder will help you grind off all the dull material so you'll be left with a sharp blade. Remember, you're not trying to slice tomatoes with this thing. The shearing force caused by the speed of the blade will do most of the work. You just want to make sure get the blade to a place where it moves quickly through the air and cuts the grass without shredding it up.

Store it Properly

Depending on where you live, you might have as much as six months or more every year in which mowing isn't necessary. You'll want to winterize your lawn mower before every long period off duty. Luckily, because lawnmowers are relatively simple, this is a fairly easy process. Start by draining out all the gasoline. Gasoline can begin to separate and break down over the winter, leaving a corrosive sludge at the bottom of your tank. You should also make sure your lawn mower is totally clean so that corrosion can't take hold. Finally, pick a location where you can store your mower where it won't be exposed to the elements.

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