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. Follow these tips and tricks to make your mower run like new this spring.
Fresh lawn mower oil is critical, so it should be changed on a regular basis. Many small motors don't have an oil filter, so changing the lawn mower oil can be as simple as draining out the old oil and refilling with fresh oil up to the indicated level. If you change oil only once a year, do it just before storing the motor away for winter.
A clean mower air filter makes a big difference. Almost all air filters are either foam or paper. Foam filters should be removed, rinsed and dampened with motor oil. Paper filters should be replaced at the recommended interval. If they become clogged with excessive debris, tap them on a hard surface to rid the filter of dust.
Spark plugs can last years in a well-tuned mower. But sometimes, air or fuel problems cause them to foul. To inspect spark plugs, simply use the plug wrench to remove the plug. If the plug 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 and cause 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.
Lawn mower blades get dull over time and will do a much better job of cutting if kept sharp. Sharpening mower blades with a file or grinding tool does a respectable job. A professional blade 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 lawn mower blades with the wrench. Every motor is different, so always read the owner's manual and follow the recommended maintenance steps.