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Lawn Mower Maintenance

Keep your lawn mower in good shape with these easy tips.

Fri, 11 Jan 2013|

Small lawnmowers can last many years with just a little maintenance. And you can do most of the routine care yourself for a lot less money than a repair shop will charge. Fresh engine oil is critical so it should be changed on a regular basis. Many small motors don't have an oil filter. So, changing the oil can be as simple as draining out the old oil and refilling with fresh oil up to the proper level. If you change oil only once a year, do it just before storing the motor away for winter. Almost all air filters are either paper or foam. Sponge filters should be removed, rinsed and redampened with motor oil. Paper filters should be replaced at the recommended interval. If they become clogged with excessive debris, give them a tap down then to clean up the dust. Spark plugs last years in a well-tuned mower. But sometimes, air or fuel problems cause them to foul. To inspect spark plugs, simply remove the plug with the plug wrench and take a look. If it shows a build-up of soot, a quick cleaning with do the trick. Excessively warm plugs may need to be replaced which is simple and inexpensive. Stale gas is one of the most common causes of engine problems. During long-term storage such as over winter, gas can turn bad causing damage. One solution is to let the motor run out of gas before storing. The other option is to use a fuel stabilizer which keeps fuel fresh for many months. Motor blades get dull over time and will do a much better job of cutting if kept sharp. A quick tune up with a file or grinding tool like this Grimmel does a respectable job. A professional sharpening will be better, however, and is recommended for blades with major nips or dents. Instead of taking the entire motor into the shop, disconnect the spark plug and remove the blade with the wrench. More complicated repairs are best left to the experts. But if you follow these steps, you'll barely need one. Every motor is different. So, always remember to read the owner's manual and follow the recommended maintenance steps.