Maintaining your lawn mower before it starts giving you trouble may actually stop it from ever giving you trouble. If you conduct regular routine maintenance even when the mower is behaving almost perfectly, you can expect to extend the life of the mower for several more years over the time frame you can expect if you are careless with your maintenance.
First Use of Spring
The first warm days of spring means a mower tune-up after the long, cold winter. Remove any covering you may have placed over the mower. Change the oil, clean the deck and replace the old spark plugs.
Your maintenance checklist should always include a sharpening of the blades before you put the mower back into action after the winter layover. In addition to sharpening the blades, take this time to lubricate the controls. Tighten the blade as well as the engine mounting bolts.
Clean Air Filter
Check the air filter for visible signs of grime and dirt. Replace the filter if it needs replacement. If your lawn mower uses a foam filter, wash it with soap and water. Squeeze the filter until it’s dry, and add 2 tsp. of oil before placing the filter back in its spot.
Drain old crankcase oil, and replace it with fresh oil before starting up the engine for the first time after the winter season. Rotate the engine slowly by turning the crankshaft or pulling the starter rope, which will distribute the new oil you just put in.
Those with a self-propelled mower will want to grease the height-adjuster brackets. Clean away any dirt or debris that you didn’t get off when you gave the mower its last cleaning of the previous year.
After Every Use
Check the fuel and oil levels after each time you use the mower. Also see that the tires are properly inflated. Do a thorough inspection to try to locate any loose or worn parts before you start up the mower again.
You should inspect the condition of the blades throughout the mowing season. If you have to sharpen the blades, balance them before mowing again.
25 Hours Later
Clean or change the oil filter after every 25 hours of use during the cutting season. If your lawn includes dusty areas, you will want to clean or change the filter more often. You should also take this opportunity to lubricate the wheels and all moving joints. Inspect the belts and chain drives of riding mowers.
End of Season
At the end of the season, change the oil, drain the gas or add gas stabilizer. Lubricate the cylinder and give the mower a thorough cleaning. Disconnect the spark plug wire, and safely store the mower away for the winter.