For do-it-yourself gardeners the lawn mower is an essential piece of equipment, worthy of meticulous maintenance. In fact, you may pamper your lawn mower just as much as you do your car!
Even if you winterized your lawn mower last fall, it’s a good idea to give it a good inspection and tuneup come spring. Here are 10 expert tips to help prevent expensive repairs and keep your mower running smoothly through the grass-growing season.
Review the maintenance section of your owner’s manual for the best maintenance schedule — what to do and when to do it.
Have these tools on hand:
Remove the belt guards on the mower deck and clean out any grass clippings, dirt and debris. This buildup can damage belts and pulleys as it gets sucked up into the mower. Use an air compressor or leaf blower and a screwdriver to blow out and scrape away debris. Do this after every third mowing.
Worn spark plugs can make it difficult to start the mower and can lead to misfires, poor fuel economy and engine damage. Replace spark plugs based on manufacturer recommendations.
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Make sure nothing falls into the spark plug cylinder by cleaning around the plug before you remove it. If the old plug is difficult to remove, use a spray to help loosen it (rather than brute force, which can damage the engine). Set the gap on the new plug before installation. Finger-tighten the new plug first, then use a plug wrench to gently tighten it down.
Worn fuel filters can cause poor fuel economy, hard starts or a carburetor rebuild. Replace old fuel filters per manufacturer instructions. Reduce gas spillage by clamping off the fuel line, releasing the clamps that hold the filter in place and plugging the filter inlet with the thumb of your gloved hand. Pull the filter out of the outlet hose and install the new filter, pointing the fuel flow direction arrows toward the engine. Put the fuel line clamps back into place and un-pinch the fuel line.