What Should I Know About Lawn Mower Maintenance?

Malcolm Tatum

As any owner of a push or riding lawn mower can attest, proper maintenance can help reduce the frequency of lawn mower repair and prolong the life of the mower. Mowers of all types can be maintained without requiring much in the way of time or effort. Here are a few simple things you should know about lawn mower maintenance if you want to get the most from your mower.

It's important to change the lawn mower oil periodically.
It's important to change the lawn mower oil periodically.

One of the first things to know about mower maintenance is that a lawn mower with a dull blade will not produce a smooth and well-manicured lawn. When the blades are not sharp, they do not cut the individual blades of grass on the first pass. A dull blade also creates additional drag as the mower progresses around the lawn, putting additional stress on the engine. Taking time to inspect and sharpen the blade regularly will reduce wear and tear on the mower and also ensure a closer and more uniform cut.

Law mower maintenance may involve cleaning and checking spark plugs.
Law mower maintenance may involve cleaning and checking spark plugs.

Checking and cleaning the spark plugs is also an important part of proper lawn mower maintenance. In order for the plugs to fire properly, they must be free of dirt and other debris. Spark plugs also wear out from time to time. This means that when a plug is no longer functioning properly, even after a thorough cleaning, it should be replaced immediately.

A gas can is useful to have so that extra gasoline is available when mowing.
A gas can is useful to have so that extra gasoline is available when mowing.

Not everyone understands how important a clean air filter is to lawn mower maintenance. A clogged filter prevents the motor from receiving a consistent flow of air, which in turn can cause the engine to overheat or at the very least generate unnecessary wear. Cleaning the filter every month or so, along with replacing the filter at least every two years, will help to extend the life of the engine considerably.

Lawn mower blades need to be kept sharp to cut grass.
Lawn mower blades need to be kept sharp to cut grass.

A final key task in proper lawn mower maintenance has to do with changing the oil on a regular basis. Far too many people give the engine oil no thought other than checking the level and adding a little more oil from time to time. Just as with an automobile engine, it is important to change the oil in a lawn mower periodically. Most manufacturers recommend changing the oil every few months. Check with your owner’s manual to determine the specific recommendations for your brand of lawn mower.

Fortunately, the basic steps involved in lawn mower maintenance require little in the way of mechanical skill. Just about anyone who can use a screwdriver and a pair of pliers is capable of maintaining a lawn mower. However, if you do not have the time or feel you do not have the skills to perform basic maintenance, many lawn and garden equipment stores do offer maintenance services on many types of lawn mowers. The maintenance services are usually available at modest fees that are easily offset by the prolonged life of your mower.

Some larger lawn mowers may need to be winterized.
Some larger lawn mowers may need to be winterized.

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