If you have a garden, then you probably would want to be able to rest there after a long day at work while looking at beautiful plants and, depending on the season, drinking a hot or cold beverage. However, your rest could be spoiled if your lawn is overgrown – that’s why every once in a while, you need to get your lawn mower out of the shed or wherever it is that you keep it and cut the grass.
Unfortunately, even if you muster up all the necessary motivation to deal with it now instead of postponing it for later, you might find out that your lawn mower is not functioning properly. As such, you’d have to bear the sight of the unkempt lawn for quite some time yet. If you want to avoid having to face such troubles, you should remember about regular maintenance of your lawn mower. If you take care of it, you’ll significantly decrease the possibility of it malfunctioning, and because of that, you’ll actually save time (and money)!
If you don’t know that much about lawn mowers, and you wouldn’t call yourself a lawn-mower-expert, then there’s no need to worry, as in a moment we’ll provide you with the most important details about lawn mower maintenance.
Check the Owner’s Manual First
Even though reading an entire owner’s manual might not be the best way to spend Friday evening, you should familiarise yourself with it to make sure that you know what the dos and don’ts of your lawn mower are. Each model is built differently, and because of that, the routine maintenance of your current lawn mower might differ from the one that you owned before.
Sure, you might think that the construction of lawn mowers is relatively simple, but you’ll see that you (and your machine) will benefit from reading the advice of the manufacturer. This way, you’ll take care of your lawn mower according to the experts’ advice.
Remember to Drain the Gasoline From the Tank
If you leave the gasoline in your lawn mower’s tank, you are likely to witness an uptick in issues with your machine. The opinions of the professionals differ, and you might hear that you should drain the tank every time you finish mowing your lawn, though others say that if you do so every other time, it is going to be enough. Old gasoline is a pretty frequent cause of lawn mower problems, which is why it’s best to make a habit of draining the tank after you have cut the grass.
However, if you decide that you’ll do so every other time you mow the lawn, make sure to check the oil in the lawn mower before you start your machine. Why? The oil might get contaminated by debris, which could damage it, or at least make it stop working.
If you find some elements floating in the tank, you should drain the gasoline. How? It is most likely that your lawn mower has a drain plug and all that you’ll have to do is remove it, and the contaminated oil will drain. However, in the case of some models, there won’t be a drain plug, and you’ll only be able to accomplish this task by tilting the machine; however, be careful during the process as not to spill petrol on yourself.
Ensure Your Lawn Mower Has Enough Fuel (and It’s Fresh)
Before you start mowing your lawn, apart from making sure that your machine doesn’t have any debris floating in its tank, you should also check if it has enough fuel. And not only fuel but fresh fuel – if you haven’t used your lawn mower in several months, you should replace the petrol. It’s not that your lawn mower won’t work – most likely it will, but it wouldn’t be good for its longevity, and you probably don’t want to have to service or buy a new one once a year.
However, that’s not all about petrol that you need to know. Even if you remember to replace the oil after using the lawn mower, you might still encounter some issues if you store the fuel somewhere where it’s hot, and there’s plenty of light. It’s best to keep the petrol in plastic containers, as the metal ones might rust. Additionally, if you would like the fuel to be in great condition for a long time, you could consider getting a fuel conditioner.
Keep the Air Filter in Good Condition
You need fresh fuel for your lawn mower to work well, but a clean air filter is just as important. You don’t want the grass and sand getting inside the machine, as it would result in damage. Because of that, remember to clean the air filter after you are done cutting the grass. However, it’s not enough – once in a while, preferably at least once a year, you should buy a new air filter. The good news? They are pretty cheap, so you won’t have to spend much on a new one.
Replace the Spark Plug
If there are problems with the spark plug, you might have trouble starting your lawn mower, though it could also overheat or stall. You can easily avoid those issues if you remember about another essential part of the lawn mower maintenance – replacing the spark plug.
Similarly as in the case of the air filter, you should do it once a year. Unfortunately, replacing the old spark plug is a little bit more difficult than replacing the air filter. Use a socket wrench to remove the old spark plug; however, when installing the new one, make sure that it’s not too tight, or the lawn mower might not start.
Make Sure the Blade Is Sharp
When you mow the lawn with your machine, the blade will cut the grass, sure, but apart from that, it will also encounter dirt, rocks, or even branches. As a result, the blade will get dull, and after some time, instead of cutting the grass efficiently, your lawn mower will rip the grass, which will not look nice. The solution?
If you want to fix this problem on your own, then you’ll need a file with which you’ll be able to make the blade sharp again. However, when removing the blade from the lawn mower, remember to be careful, as even a blade that has trouble cutting the grass could injure you with no issues if not handled properly. Alternatively, if you don’t have a file or don’t want to risk injuring yourself, you could simply go to a service center where the professionals would do that for you.
Okay, and how often do you need to sharpen the blade of the lawn mower? It depends, but it is generally advised to do so at least every 30 hours of use.
Check the Wheels
The wheels of the lawn mower are another element that you’ll need to check every once in a while. How to do that? You’ll need a screwdriver to remove the wheel trims. Once you’ve done that, tighten all the wheels. Apart from that, also make sure that the wheels aren’t damaged. If you spot any issues – be sure to replace them. You don’t need to do that particularly often – we recommend checking the wheels once a year, preferably before you start using your machine in the spring.
Is It Okay to Use a Lawn Mower to Cut Wet Grass?
It largely depends on a model of a lawn mower, though in most cases, it will be possible; however, we recommend checking what the manufacturer has to say on this subject in the owner’s manual. Still, even though it might be possible, it doesn’t mean that it’s generally a good idea. Apart from the process being slower, you might also inadvertently damage the soil, which is why it’s better to cut the grass when it’s dry.
When the weather’s decent, you’ll probably want to rest next to your house while looking at the plants and trees on your property. Spending time surrounded by nature can be incredibly relaxing, though your lawn could spoil your experience if you don’t remember to cut the grass regularly.
We all know that sometimes it might be hard to motivate yourself to get the lawn mower from the shed and get to work. Unfortunately, even if you are full of energy and willing to spend some time mowing, you might discover that your machine is malfunctioning, and because of that, you’ll have to postpone the dreaded activity.
However, even though you could experience problems with a lawn mower because of a wide variety of issues, regular maintenance would extend its lifespan significantly while also saving your time as you wouldn’t have to waste it on repairs later on. In this article, we have included the things that aren’t particularly difficult to do on your own but which will save you many visits to the professional service shop. On the other hand, if you feel like your lawn mower is beyond saving, we encourage you to check out our Best Lawn Mowers page for our top recommendations.