Your lawn mower will probably have been packed away for the winter months but as spring approaches it will need to be dusted off and prepared for use again. Regardless of whether you have a push lawn mower or a riding lawn mower, there are some essential elements of maintenance that will need to be carried out before you can use it.
Step 1 – Clean Under the Lawn Mower
Ideally, after each use, you should clean your lawn mower. This will prevent the mower from getting clogged up with garden debris. Make sure that the lawn mower is turned off and cannot restart whilst you are cleaning it. Remove all old grass and leaves that have collected around the blades. Do not use any sharp implements to clean the mower as this will scratch it and encourage rust to develop.
Step 2 – Change the Mower's Oil
Certain push lawn mowers and all riding mowers will need to have their oil changed and topped up to ensure that they can perform at their best. If you have never changed the oil on a lawn mower before, then simply place a container under the drain plug and remove the plug. When all of the old oil has been drained, dispose of it correctly then replace the plug and fill with new oil. Ideally, you should change the oil on your lawn mower about once a year.
Remember, many states and cities have laws about recycling motor oil. Improper disposal is a very serious environmental hazard. Simply store the used oil in a container like an old milk jug until you're able to drop it off at a designated location.
Step 3 – Spark Plugs
The spark plugs on your lawn mower should be changed if you notice rust or corrosion forming around them. If they are not changed, your lawn mower will not function correctly. Even if you are not replacing the spark plugs, they should be removed and cleaned on a regular basis. When you replace the spark plugs, make sure that all of them are refitted correctly otherwise the lawn mower won't cut your lawn correctly. Spark plugs will need to be maintained at least once a year especially if it is used regularly during the spring and summer months.
Step 4 – Sharpen the Blades
Remove the mower blades and sharpen their points using a metal file. If you do not feel that you can do this will take them to a hardware store and ask them to do it for you. If the lawn mower blades appear to be very chipped in places, you will need to purchase new blades.
Step 5 – Belts
Turn your lawn mower upright and check the condition of the belts. If they appear to be loose or show signs of dry rot or cracking, you will need to replace them with new ones.
Step 6 – Blade Height
Once you are satisfied that all of the essential maintenance work has been carried out and your lawn mower is properly cleaned, you should check the height of the blades. If the blades are too low then they will weaken and tear your grass. The optimum height for lawn mower blades is around 1 inch. This can vary depending on the type of grass in your lawn and personal preference for your home's landscaping.
A well maintained lawn mower can last over ten years. However, improper care can cut that lifespan in half. Remember to always clean your lawn mowers so there's no build up over the season, properly store it for winter, and check on all the components when you take it out of storage.