How to Get Your Mower in Shape
When your grass starts its spring growth surge, it will soon need mowing. Having your mower ready to go will help you stay ahead of the growth and keep your lawn looking neat. Here is a checklist of basic annual maintenance for power mowers. Any of these tasks that weren't done in the fall should be performed now.
Tune It Up
For safety reasons, the first step in doing any work on your mower is to remove the spark plug. Install a new one when you're done with the other maintenance. Clean the air filter if your mower has the foam type, or replace the filter if it's a paper one.
Change the Oil
Remove the oil drain plug at the bottom of the engine and let the dirty oil run out into a container. When it's completely drained, replace the plug and refill the crankcase with the type and quantity of oil recommended in your owner's manual.
Sharpen the Blade
A dull mower blade can shred the tips of your grass, causing your lawn to turn brown, so sharpen the blade at least once a year. Always remove it from the mower for sharpening. If the blade has large nicks in the cutting edge from hitting rocks or other debris, you should replace it. While the blade is off, it's a good time to clean the underside of the mower.
Clean It Top and Bottom
Use a strong spray of water and, if necessary, a putty knife to remove any grass caked on the underside of the mower deck. Clean the top of the mower as well, using a rag or brush to get grass clippings, leaves, and other debris off the deck and out of crevices around the engine and wheels. Once it's clean, you can wax the deck to keep grass and dirt from sticking to it.
Lubricate the Moving Parts
Your mower will work better and last longer if you keep it lubricated. Oil the wheel bearings and other moving parts, following the instructions in your owner's manual. Be sure to wipe off any runs of excess oil.
A Good Investment
With proper maintenance, your lawnmower can last for many years. Regular mower maintenance will also give you a better-looking lawn and assure that the machine is ready for duty when you need it. If you don't want to do the work yourself, these annual maintenance services are offered by mower repair shops as well as many garden centers and hardware stores. They're always very busy in the spring, so it's best to take it to the shop in the fall.