lawn mower

After sitting all winter, lawn mowers may require maintenance before use. ATTRIBUTION: Phil Roeder (Flickr)

Regular lawn mower maintenance helps to lengthen the life of your lawn equipment and assists in trouble-free operation. Performing simple maintenance tasks at the beginning of the mowing season can also help prevent potentially costly problems later on. Not sure how to tackle lawn mower maintenance or repairs on your own? Don’t hesitate to call in a professional to get the job done right. For those do-it-yourselfers, the following maintenance tasks can help your mower continue working at maximum efficiency.

Replace Fluids and Filters

Lawn mowers should be drained of their gasoline at the end of each mowing season. In the spring, fill the mower up with fresh gas and oil. In addition to fresh fluids, your lawn mower will also require new fuel and oil filters. Keeping these filters clean will help prevent a buildup of gunk in your lawn equipment.

Sharpen the Mower Blade

Mower blades must endure a great deal of stress while in use, especially if your yard is prone to collecting branches, rocks, and other items hidden in the grass. When the blade becomes dull, it tends to rip the grass unevenly instead of giving it a clean cut. Blades can be sharpened at home using a metal file or by a professional at a local service shop.

Clean the Undercarriage

During the mowing season, dirt and grass can become caked onto the undercarriage of the mower. If left to build, the debris can cause a harmful clog. Use a wire brush to gently scrape any dirt or grass clippings from the lawn mower’s undercarriage. With the spark plug disconnected, use a hose to rinse away any remaining debris.

Inspect All Components

Lawn mowers have numerous components, each with their own special function. Take the time to carefully inspect these components to ensure the safety and functionality of your lawn equipment. Tighten any loose bolts, check the security of any safety shields, and ensure that all belts are in their proper places.

Change the Spark Plug

The spark plug is the device in your lawn mower that creates an electrical spark that ignites the fuel in the engine. If the spark plug is bad or worn out, the lawn mower may fail to start or may sputter when in use. Spark plugs are easy to change and inexpensive to purchase. When installing your new spark plug, be sure not to overtighten it.

Invest in a Tune-Up

At least once a year, hire a professional to tune up your lawn equipment. During a routine lawn mower tune-up, any old fluids will be drained and replaced with new. In addition, the spark plug and all filters will be replaced. Some mower repair shops will also run basic diagnostic tests to ensure that your mower is running properly.

While most preventative maintenance for your lawn mower can be accomplished at home, some repairs will need the experience of a professional. If your mower is having a hard time running or fails to start up at all, contact a local lawn mower repair shop for service. Remember that regular maintenance will help keep your mower running at peak performance the rest of the mowing season.