Regular Lawn Mower Maintenance You Should Be Doing
Every machine needs a little love and care to keep it running, and your lawn mower is no exception. We're dedicated to making sure you get all the use you can get out of your mower, which is why our lawn care experts are excited to share these important lawn mower maintenance tips.
Lawn Mower Maintenance Safety
Before tackling these lawn mower maintenance steps, it's important to take some safety precautions. Aside from the obvious safety mistakes that you're definitely too smart to make (i.e. smoking while you're working near a gas-powered engine), there are still a few things to take note of:
- Always disconnect the spark plug before putting your hands anywhere near your lawn mower blade. Having the spark plug disconnected will eliminate any risk of the mower accidentally starting while you're working on it.
- Only work in a clean, well-ventilated space.
- Always perform lawn mower maintenance on a level, hard surface such as a concrete walkway or driveway.
- Wear protective clothing and eyewear when necessary.
- Only work on your lawn mower when the engine is cool.
- Drain the gas tank before performing any maintenance tasks that require you to flip or tilt your lawn mower on its side.
- Hang onto your owner's manual and refer to it before working on your lawn mower. If you've lost your manual, you can probably find an online copy of it here.
Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips
From monthly check-ups and annual tune-ups to everyday mower care, these are the regular lawn mower maintenance steps you should be taking to get the most out of your machine:
Change the Oil
It's probably overkill to inspect the oil every time you mow, but it never hurts to check the oil level and top off the tank as needed. Be careful not to overfill the oil – too much oil can be just as damaging to your engine as too little. When you check the oil level, look at the color and consistency of the oil to see if it's time for a change. The oil will appear dark, and may contain noticeable grit when your mower needs an oil change. Generally, lawn mowers are due for an oil change every three months, or 25 hours of use.
Check the Tire Pressure
Periodically use a tire pressure gauge to check the air pressure in your lawn mower's tires. Just like any tires, they can get flat after a while. If the tires on one side of your lawn mower get low it can make your mower deck tilt slightly to one side, causing it to cut poorly or unevenly.
Use Fuel Stabilizer
Gas doesn't stay "fresh" forever, and old gas is a common culprit behind a lawn mower that refuses to start. Adding fuel stabilizer is a good option to keep your gas from degrading and make it last longer. Fuel stabilizer is recommended for storing your lawn mower over the winter, or any time you plan to keep gas in a container for more than 30 days.
Keep the Blade Sharp
When your lawn mower blade gets dull, it starts to tear the grass instead of actually cutting it, which leaves your lawn ragged and more vulnerable to disease, sun damage and insects. At least once a season – more often if you spend more time mowing than the average homeowner – it's a good idea to sharpen the blades on your lawn mower. Check the blade for dull edges, dings and dents, and use a file to hone the blade to butter knife sharpness.
Use a Clean Air Filter
A clean air filter maintains the correct gas-to-air ratio in your fuel system, and is essential for a healthy engine. A clogged air filter can quickly take its toll on a perfectly good engine. Luckily, air filters are easy to check, clean, and replace if necessary. It's generally a good idea to check your air filter as often as you check the oil – roughly every three months or 25 hours of use. If you use your mower in dusty conditions, it may be necessary to check it more often.
Replace the Spark Plug
It doesn't matter how much fuel is in the tank if you don't have a spark to ignite it. Spark plugs usually let you know when they need to be replaced, and if your lawn mower doesn't start as readily as it used to, a worn-out spark plug may be to blame. For most lawn mowers, it's a good idea to change the spark plug annually, but you may need to do it more often if you have a lot of lawn to mow, or if you mow more often than the average homeowner.
Keep It Clean
A clean lawn mower is a healthy lawn mower. After repeated use, lawnmowers need to be cleaned both above and below the deck. Spray down the visible portions of the lawn mower as needed to keep the top of the deck clean. At least a couple times per season, you should also get underneath and clean out the undercarriage. A lot of grass, dirt and other debris can build up under your mower, potentially impeding the spin of the blade, clogging up the discharge and making your mower vulnerable to corrosion. Use a wire brush to get rid of caked-on grass clippings and then spray the underside with water for a thorough cleaning.
Want to learn more about caring for your lawn mower? Contact us today to find a Hustler retailer near you, and talk to one of our lawn mower experts about how you can get the most out of your mower!