How to get your lawn mower ready for work

August 19, 2017
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Finally, the snow recedes and winter has ended. It good to see the sun shining in the first days of spring, but your lawn grass also notices. Grass grows quickly as spring sets in and your lawn could end up looking unkempt. After keeping your mower away for winter, it is now time to take it out and get the blades rotating. Some of these things should have been done in fall, like emptying the gas tank. However, you can still get to them in spring or when you finally take it from storage. Here is what you should do to get your mower ready for work;

  1. Basic tools and maintenance

Before you start working on the mower, have the user’s manual at hand and turn to the maintenance page. This will tell you which parts need to be changed or repaired and how often. Have the correct tools and equipment which are; ratchet set, hammer, grease gun, clamps, square tip screwdriver, torque wrench, leaf blower, side cutter, plastic gloves and oil filter wrench. Tools at the ready, here is what you’re supposed to do;

  1. Clean the mower top and bottom

If you have a water spray machine, it is good to use it. First, remove the belt guards and check for grass clippings and dirt. When left alone, this debris builds up and can damage the belts. Use a screwdriver or putty knife to scrape debris off and a water spray or leaf blower to blow it out. Clean the underside of the deck as well as crevices in the engine and on the wheels. Waxing the deck prevents grass and dirt from sticking.

  1. Change gas and oil

Oil changes should be more frequent and changing oil or filters is usually included in the user manual. Keep the recommended viscosity and use an oil filter wrench to change them. You also want to change the fuel filter while following manufacturer instructions. Clamp the fuel line to reduce spillage, replace the filter with the new filter’s arrow pointing towards the engine and then unclamp the fuel line. After this, drain the gas tank of old fuel and fill it with new gas. Starting the mower with 30-day old fuel or clogged filters can cause poor fuel economy and starting problems.

  1. Spark plugs

Spark plugs get worn over an extended period of use and can cause misfires and starting problems. The manufacturer’s manual has specific instructions to change spark plugs on that model. There are some general precautions for changing spark plugs. First, ensure nothing falls into the cylinder by cleaning around the spark plug before changing. Some old plugs can be hard to remove in which case you should use a spray to loosen them instead of forcing them which can cause damage to the engine. Set the gap before installing the new plug, tighten with your fingers and then a plug wrench can tighten it further.

  1. Sharpen the blades

Check under the deck to see the condition of the blade (or blades for twin blade mowers). When the blade gets blunt, the grass is torn instead of getting a clean cut making the grass take longer to grow. The grass also becomes less healthy due to this cut. Engine power is then stretched to the limit, and belts work overtime to drive the dull blade. You can replace the blade if you have a spare at home, and ideally, you should buy a spare blade with the mower. Also, hire a professional to sharpen the blade if you don’t want to replace it.

  1. Check the moving parts

Grease gun at hand, look for all the fittings and moving parts (hinges, axles, levers) and grease them. Greasing should be done at the same time when you change the engine oil. The manufacturer’s manual also explains where every fitting is and the type of grease you should use on the lawnmower. The tires also need to be checked for punctures and get replaced if that is the case.

After doing this, the lawn mower will be in top condition to deal with growth on the lawn. Of course cleaning it first will make the job easier. Also, make sure you use replacement parts recommended by the manufacturer such as wheels, oil filters, fuel filters and grease.

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